Preview and Game Thread: Suns vs Lakers

Do you recognize that sound? Can you hear it? That's the sound of the Phoenix Suns Bandwagon filling up to it's capacity. Yes, just like 2004. Hey, there's still room, feel free to jump in!

Suns Basketball is officially back. Steve Nash is the best PG in the NBA, they are leading the League in scoring, three point shots are raining over opposing teams, nobody can stop the Nash - Amar'e pick and roll and the bench is freaking awesome. But wait, did I say bench? But that was not a part of Suns basketball before...

Indeed. The starters on this Suns team are not the only ones who can run and score, They are not the only ones who can make big shots and make the opposing defense work. The days of the 7 man rotation are long over. The Phoenix Suns have players coming off the bench who provide energy on the defensive end and can score in a variety of ways. They are the reason the Suns are buzzing in the news while winning games. If the bench continues to play like this all season... The Suns will be among the top 3 seeds.

But before we even think about that, there's an important challenge tonight, some people might even call it a measuring stick. The Suns are going against the defending NBA Champions. The Los Angeles Lakers.

But make no mistake, this is only one game. If the Suns beat the Lakers tonight it will feel really good, I'll give you that, but it will not mean that we are better than them. Not yet. There's a lot of season to be played and a lot of things need to happen before we come up with that conclusion. Now that we got that out of the way, let's focus on how the Suns can Beat LA!

Oh, and before I forget: To all of you doubters out there, I'm not ashamed to say I'm drinking the Suns Kool Aid... at least I'm not writing this kind of stuff at the beginning of the season.

More after the jump!

Let's not forget this is the second game of a back to back and we suck at those. What's working for us is that most of our starters are rested since we blew out a depleted Hornets team last night. Nash should be fresh and the young guys shouldn't have a problem playing with intensity. There's still a risk of being tired though. The Lakers, on the other hand, are rested and playing at home and it's no secret that we bring the best out of Kobe Bryant. Which leads me to point #1 on how to beat them:

 

  • Make Kobe work hard for every shot: There's really no way to stop this guy so why even bother? At least we have to make him work hard. I expect Grant Hill to be all over him and hopefully we can slow him down. He's going to score on you but what makes him dangerous is when he starts to get his team mates involved. If I was Gentry I would not double team him unless we recover fast to cover the open man.

Phoenix is shooting a ridiculous 50% from three point land. The addition of Frye has spread the floor for them and it's paying dividends. Goran Dragic and Jared Dudley have also worked on their three point shot which helps the team continue to spread the floor even with the whole second unit playing. That's big, to say the least and this is point #2:

 

  • Keep raining threes: Don't get me wrong. I don't want them to fall in love with the three point shot but if it's working you have got to keep on shooting. Besides, most of the three point shots are wide open looks due to the great ball movement they have shown. If it's not working, I know our team is mature enough to get away from that and try something else.

Truth is, the Suns have improved their defense and everything starts with the attitude. They are rotating and talking to each other on the defensive end, they are pointing at players who are open and holding each other accountable. But most importantly, they seem to care about defending and seem to enjoy when they get a stop or a hard fought rebound. A perfect example: Barbosa fighting for position with David West last night. Although he got called for a foul, he certainly wasn't going to back down from a bigger and stronger player. Really cool. Which leads me to point #3

 

  • Defense Sparks: Grant Hill, Jared Dudley, Sweet Lou. These guys have to continue to bring it. We have to show LA we want it more than them. Defense and rebounds is all about who wants it more. Having the extra possession in this game is going to be huge.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Let's try to enjoy this game. If we lose, that's fine. Just like Stan said, it might be better for the team to realize they're not that good yet. If we win, it'll be a confidence boost and we will all feel great (which doesn't hurt either).

 

Forget about Stats, rankings etc. We know how to recognize a good team. There's one thing I know for sure and allow me to quote Kobe Bryant, which I seldom do...

 

"The Suns are as hot as a Pistol"

 

You are damn right about that.

 

 


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