"So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak."
Since Sun Tzu is all the rage these days, I figured I'd throw that out there (and you thought you'd see that cheesy SNL cowbell skit). Actually, I had thought there was a quote out there about choosing your battlefield. For example, a narrow pass diminishes the capacity of a large army to fight and gives the smaller army a fighting chance to win (unless a disgruntled citizen is tricked into showing the other army the secret mountain pass, allowing the larger army to surround the smaller army).
I stick by what I said earlier. The Suns need to be able to run. Again, LB is more of an indicator than anything else. "Wait," you say, "the Lakers just scored 128 points." Aside from the total lack of defense -- which needs to be addressed or anything on the other end is meaningless -- the Lakers were able to grab 12 offensive boards because they had no fear of the Suns in transition. Additionally, the tempo can force bad offense from every player not named Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol.
It's nice to use Robin Lopez to exploit Bynum when he's out there (the Suns should run PNR with whoever is being guarded by Bynum), but the best line-up the Lakers have is Gasol at the 5 and Odom at the 4. If the Lakers were playing a bigger team like Boston or Orlando, they may need Bynum more. However, in this series, when Bynum comes out, the Lakers get better and their best lineup is with Gasol and Odom out there against a Suns team trying to play big -- aka, a Suns team playing away from its strength.
Have you ever been matched up against an inferior opponent and practiced your weak spots? I hope so. That's what I do. When I'm sure I'm going to win, I work on other parts of my game. However, next round when I meet someone equal to or superior than I, I need to be able to change modes. Although we love the gritty Suns, "gritty" should not equate to a futile attempt to "play big." You can be gritty and fast at the same time.
Odom can get out and cover Frye. It's easier for Frye to hit jumpers with 6'5" wings closing out on him. Odom can also grab rebounds. So, he can float between Frye and the paint and be doubly effective. On the other hand, can Odom close out on LB, Dudley or Richardson without getting left in the dust? (On a sidenote, Lou Amundson has to be the odd-man out; can his hustle compensate for his height deficiency? His skills certainly don't.).
Pau Gasol is doing his thing. He's very good at it. The best/only way to exploit him on defense is to make him become a help defender and open cutting lanes. Posting Amare allows Odom or Bynum to come over and help. Again, Odom -- if his head in the game (although the "Lucky Lamar" comment was going too far, the fact remains that Lamar does have a tendency to slip in and out of a series) -- can double-back out to a bigger shooter.
Back to my point -- it is dangerous to fight on the other side's field of battle. I've learned (painfully) that responding to the other side's arguments/initiatives is rarely a recipe for success. You need to be able to defend, but when you go to punch and/or counter-punch you need to do so on your terms. Yes, 7SOL is gone, but it has been replaced with "Under 12 seconds." Allowing the other side to get set up is a bad thing. This is especially true when they are physically more dominant.
Yes, it's not the ideal situation to be in. I'd love to be rooting for a team that didn't have to race down the court to find a mismatch -- but that is the boat we're in. The good thing is that this team has the depth to do it for 48 minutes.
I haven't mentioned defense. Look, if Amare Stoudemire plays so casually on defense again, there is simply nothing the Suns can do to win. I'm going to have to assume he takes it up a notch or all is lost. He'll also need Frye to get back to his flagrant-fouling self in this series and hope Lopez keeps improving.
Less Lou. More LB. And, give Frye a few shots but a slightly quicker hook than normal (if Lopez's conditioning is up to it).