They say a series doesn’t start until one team wins a game on the road. I say that’s nonsense, if the Lakers took game 3 in Arizona this series would have been over right then and there. But as it stands, Phoenix held court, and we now have a best out of three series.
I want to say that it’s the first time the Lakers have actually looked beatable during the playoffs, but it’s not, the Oklahoma City Thunder took two games from the Lakers in their barn as well. But there’s something different about the way Phoenix got it done. The Suns managed to exploit the one weak spot where everyone thought the Lakers might be vulnerable, and that’s their bench. Aside from Lamar Odom, the Lakers don’t have much coming off the bench. With Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar combined you might have one complete player, Powell isn’t even on the scouting report, the Sharapova dating “Machine” is too busy watching the French Open and Walton, well, we all know he’s still in the league only because of his old man, and that’s about it for the Laker bench. Up until now, it never mattered who the Lakers had coming off the bench, their first six guys are so filthy, so veteran and so long teams couldn’t handle them. But the tables seem to be turning. You can cancel that missing persons police report, looks like the Suns found Channing Frye! Frye had been a complete no show in the series unable to hit a shot, but he’s come out of his shooting slump at the right time, but can he sustain it on the road? It’s harder to shoot in Hollywood, you have to be able block out all the Stars!
Phoenix has found a way to neutralize the Lakers. They have basically given up on trying to defend them straight up, and have resorted to a zone. It looks more like a college game the way Phoenix is sticking to this zone. The Lakers don’t have a traditional point guard that can penetrate and create for others and they are unable to run the triangle offense against a zone defense. The result is Kobe Bryant getting his, and everyone else having a lackluster performance. The Suns have also baited the Lakers into taking an uncharacteristic amount three point field goals. 32 three point field goal attempts in game 3 is obscene for the Lakers. Let’s keep in mind this Laker team wasn’t exactly a three point shooting powerhouse during the regular season or the playoffs. Their strength is inside and in the fact they have the best player in the world, Kobe Bryant. Kobe was his normal spectacular self, and even though he’s trying to get everyone else involved while carrying the scoring load, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol aren’t giving him much inside. Bynum looks hurt, and Gasol, well he just looks like he has absolutely no answers for Amare Stoudemire.
I’m not going to blow my load all over the Suns just yet though, while their bench has performed well at home where the crowd can elevate the level of role players, winning in LA against Kobe Bryant and a Laker team in that can smell a chance to play for another ring is next to impossible.
In fact, for those planning on betting on the Suns, keep in mind it is impossible as far as the statistics go. Phil Jackson has never lost a series after winning game 1. Steve Nash better turn into Ethan Hunt real quick because to beat the Lakers in two out of the next three games is going to mission impossible. Having said that, the other side of the coin according Kevin Garnett ” Anything is possible”!