The Suns have to play better tonight. Genius, huh?
There's a lot that can be speculated about the Suns being overwhelmed by the moment, the Lakers stepping up their game as they get closer to the Finals, or the rust coming off too much rest. Who knows and frankly at this point, who cares?
Nash has preached all year that you can't get too high or too low with the results of each game. Fine, I've bought into that and am totally willing to give the Suns a mulligan for Game 1. No excuses needed.
But tonight, we have to see more. We have to see the Suns swagger and aggressiveness on the defensive end. We have to see if this Suns team is the one that swept the Spurs or the one that has given up a ridiculous 119 points in three games at the Staples Center this season.
A win tonight, and all is well with the Planet Orange. Another Laker blowout tonight, and it is time to wave the white flag. A close loss and at least the Suns salvage some pride and can try and extend the series, but let's be realistic here: the Suns are not coming back from an 0-2 deficit to this Lakers team unless Kobe's or Andrew's knees implode or Sheriff Joe detains Pau Gasol on immigration charges and Ron Artest for possession of Crazy Pills when they land at Sky Harbor.
Amare's comments are just that. Talk. Perhaps he misspoke or maybe he's trying to generate some motivation for himself to step up his game and bring the Bully Ball. The Suns can't afford for him to have another night like Game 1. Even Steve Kerr said this morning that he had no impact on the game. That's not Max Contract kind of talk. Amare needs to beast it up. His team needs it and he needs it for his career.
So yeah, this is a must win game for the Suns if they want to stay in control of their destiny and get to the NBA Finals. All hope won't be lost with a loss, but the Smoke Monster will certainly be making an appearance.
Shoot Around Notes
- Not going to double Kobe, "Why? He's still going to get 30...To totally break down your defense to try and stop him is not realistic."
- 21 times they dribble-penetrated the lane, which is about as many as they have in a three game stretch. Have to fix that.
- We'll play hard and give it our best shot. We feel confident that if we play hard, we'll have a chance to win.
- Let's hope we have a lot of lucky guys today. 19 points and 19 rebounds is not a lucky night.
- "We're not a team to talk. We want to be a team that's seen and not heard."
- "They didn't go 82 and 0, so obviously there's a way to beat them."
- We had good looks, but we didn't shoot the ball well. I think you'll see us shoot the ball better from three tonight.
- "I think we lost focus. I think sometimes we were worried about what they were trying to do instead of staying in front of our man."
- We are excited. It would be a lot of fun to win here. I think we are ready to go.
- Adjustments are both Xs and Os and just playing better. Not so much adjustments as things to clean up. Making adjustments and playing better are in many ways blurred. Some of our adjustments will just be doing things better and some of our doing things better will be from adjustments.
- Lamar had a solid game. We are looking forward to keeping him off the boards. He had a great game and we have to focus in on him.
- I think the most important thing for us is to bring that supreme focus. Defend on the perimeter and keep Gasol and Bynum off the boards.
- Asked if he regrets the Odom-was-lucky comment, Amare said, "Nah, I'm going to always be myself. That's just my character."
- Asked if that gives them extra motivation, Amare said, "I'm pretty sure they want to play well regardless. It's the Western Conference Finals. If you're not willing to play well now then it's not going to happen, so I'm pretty sure he's going to be motivated regardless if I make a comment or not. We've just got to make sure we're motivated as well."
- "It was just what I was feeling. It is what it is."
- Kobe's going to get his numbers. Got to do a better job on the other guys.
- My thing last game was to keep Bynum and Gasol off the boards. If you need me to grab more boards I'll just go and take them. We'll see after tonight.
They are understandably confident over at Silver Screen and Roll. Can't blame them either ...
Memo to the Phoenix Suns: The Lakers are your new demons - Silver Screen and Roll
Just as the Suns got over the hump against the Spurs, the Lakers look ready to step in and become Phoenix's new foil.
Lakers-Suns Game Two Preview: Taste the Adjustments! - Silver Screen and Roll
the Laker offense is in firm control of this matchup right now. Phoenix simply isn't stocked with skilled individual defenders. They don't have the speed to stay in front of guys. They don't have the strength to push opponents out of their comfort spots. They don't have the length to bother shooters. And frankly, they don't play with the orneriness that could make up for some of these physical shortcomings. If the Lakers stick to their gameplan and play to their strengths, Phoenix won't be able to lay a glove on them.
Some Other Links...
- Audio: Kerr KTAR 051910
azcentral.com blogs - Coro's Suns dish - PaulCoro - Amar'e 'lucky' line out of line
Coro's Suns dish: Phoenix Suns update: For months, Amar'e Stoudemire has carefully guarded his words and image. Stoudemire always has talked with a lot of bravado in his career but had toned it down since the winter trade rumors, going politically correct often with...
- Kobe Bryant-Pau Gasol-Lamar Odom lineup roasts Phoenix Suns in Game 1 | Valley of the Suns
Phoenix Suns will fight to restore defense's new reputation
Inquiries about zone defense or doubling Kobe Bryant, an expectation Jackson offered, did not pique Gentry's interest. Gentry figures 10 of the 13 field goals Bryant made were tough shots, the type only a $23 million player makes even if there is a second defender. "We could run (Gen. Norman) Schwarzkopf at him," Gentry said. "It does not matter. He made those shots, and he'll make them against anybody. It doesn't matter if you're running a guy at him if he's already in shot mode."
Lamar Odom-Amar'e Stoudemire tango bears watching
The old Stoudemire used to be prone to the occasional bout of bravado, but he has been much more careful of late, remaining upbeat during difficult contract questions and taking on more of a leadership role with the team. Sometimes the past has a way of creeping back in, however, and one can't help but wonder if Stoudemire is distracted by his mother's arrest Saturday for driving without a breath alcohol ignition-interlock device.
Phoenix Suns bench on the hot seat
So now the tables have turned. Will the Suns bench take it personally? "We're still going to play our way," said forward Jared Dudley. "Goran (Dragic) and L.B. (Leandro Barbosa ) played OK. They did their thing. Channing (Frye) and I missed a lot of shots.
Phoenix Suns' offensive rhythm tops list of Game 2 priorities
"We shot the ball well but that was deceiving," Suns forward Grant Hill said. "Offensively, we weren't in a great rhythm."
Forum Blue And Gold " In Praise Of The Bench
I know what everyone is thinking (I know, because I can read minds) – "this group doesn’t deserve recognition after one good game". And that sentiment is correct. So, I decided to look into the stats for these guys and compare those numbers with how I recall them playing for the past several games and the conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s been more than just one game. The bench has actually been playing decent to very good ball for a little while now.
- SUNS: Practice Notes: Suns Analyze Effects of Week Off
KTAR.com - Gibberman: Stoudemire's Step Back
NBA.com: Lakers' inside presence an unsolveable puzzle for Suns
Shannon Brown had just finished taxiing down the lane when he lifted off in an attempt to finish the fast break with a rainmaker dunk, practically resting his knees on the shoulder of prop Suns defender Jason Richardson in the process. At that point, it was official. The Lakers owned the paint Monday night and so, too, would they own the skies around the basket. Anything close to the rim, it was theirs. Anything close to the lane, it was theirs. Also theirs: the Suns.