Game 5 Preview – Let’s Get This Series Started

MAY 27|THUR|WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS , GAME 5| (3) Suns vs. (1) Lakers – SERIES: 2-2

Follow: TwitterCast: @LakersNation |Watch On: TNT @ 6:00 PT/9:00p ET | Radio: 710AM ESPN, 1330AM ESPN Deportes

News before the tip….

– The Suns will return to Los Angeles with a renewed confidence. [LA Times]

– Kevin Ding of the OC Register raises a rather good question: How in the blue blazes did the Lakers get out-rebounded by the Suns in Game 4? [OC Register]

– Not to the surprise of anybody who regularly watches the Lakers, but the bench was an absolute no-show Tuesday night. [Lake Show Life]

– To win Game 5, the Lakers’ defense will have to be better. Kobe on Game 4’s defense: “It sucked.” [AOL NBA Fanhouse]

– The Suns pretty much admit, stopping Kobe Bryant “isn’t an option.” [Valley of the Suns]

– Will Game 5 bring forth a character from Lakers’ past–the ‘old’ Kobe Bryant? [Fanster.com]

Projected Starters

Lakers
(PG) Derek Fisher
(SG) Kobe Bryant
(SF) Ron Artest
(PF) Pau Gasol
(C) Andrew Bynum

Suns

(PG) Steve Nash
(SG) Jason Richardson
(SF) Grant Hill
(PF) Amar’e Staudemire
(C) Robin Lopez

Keys and Thoughts of the Game

… At the beginning of the fourth quarter during Game 4, I was rather relaxed. The Lakers were down one, and I had predicted that the Lakers would “break the Suns’ backs” and wrangle their way into the driver’s seat of the series. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, for reasons that are pretty obvious: The Suns bench apparently typing in cheat codes during the game, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest leaving no evidence that they actually played in Game 4, and something I can’t even believe I’m typing: the zone defense.

… I can’t believe that professional basketball players are resorting to the zone defense. I really can’t. Have you ever played a pick-up game where the other team went into a zone? No, you haven’t, because zone defenses are bush league and should be sequestered to the WNBA. The Suns should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. Sure, the Lakers should go about slicing this zone the way a butcher does to a piece of meat, but that’s neither here nor there. The fact is, the zone was banned for pretty much 50 years in the NBA, because it goes against the spirit of the game. PHOENIX SUNS, YOU GUYS SHOULD BE ASHAMED. IF YOU CAN’T MAN-TO-MAN PEOPLE, YOU’RE NOT WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP ANYWAY.

… I’m not a professional athlete. In fact, I’m not even much of an athlete to begin with. I played high school basketball (read: riding pine and drinking), but clearly, I don’t understand the inner intricacies of an NBA team. I realize everybody wants to panic and expects me to rip the Lakers–but the fact remains: this is what this team has done for the last three years. Hell, they’re in the same position they were a month ago when they were trading slugs with the Oklahoma City Thunder. They have always won Game 5. When the Lakers have been pushed into a corner, they have handled their business for the most part. So, I will grant them a reprieve (I think I just heard Kobe sigh in relief). I refuse to be worried about this series until the Lakers are trailing by 20 in the 4th quarter of an elimination game.

… I think the keys to the game are pretty obvious. To Lamar Odom and Ron Artest: Guys, they’re going to double off you. They are going to make you guys hit your shots. It’s your play that can take us from “pretty good” to “damn near unbeatable.” I know you guys have it in you. That’s what makes your struggles so frustrating. To the bench: The game is at 6 PM on Thursday at the Staples Center. It would be nice of you guys to at least RSVP. To the Lakers team: Outside of Derek Fisher (at times) and Kobe Bryant, you guys simply are not a good 3-point shooting team. Which is fine! You don’t need to shoot the three well to win the title! But please, take heed! TAKE THESE BUMS TO THE RACK! CRUSH THEIR SOULS INSIDE!!! AND FOR GOD’S SAKE, PLEASE GET BACK ON DEFENSE.

… The Suns played probably their best game of the year in Game 4. They shot roughly 93% from the field and only won by 9. That game should have been thirty. Once the zone defense is cracked (and really, we’re not playing that bad against it–it’s more of Pheonix just shooting the lights out), it will be Tombstone time for the Suns. I fully expect the Lakers to control and dominate the Suns for a Game 5 victory.

Enjoy the game, and as always, Go Lakers.

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