Finally, a game that could be tough for the Suns. I'm glad the Suns are done with those Eastern Conference road trips. I'm excited to get some home games against Western Conference opponents. Sure, they'll be harder but that also means they'll be a lot more fun.
No word on whether Shawn Marion will play on Sunday but the last time I heard anything there was a good chance he would. I doubt that Diaw will play again. He said that he would not play until his back felt 100% better. Considering he plays basketball and bangs against huge guys every night, that could be never.
But even without Diaw, the Suns have a pretty good chance at winning if Shawn is back. In fact, they have a pretty good chance even if he isn't back! It just will make it a lot easier if he is.
Keys to the game:
- Either let Kobe try to win the game himself or keep him completely in check - That kind of sounds like I'm saying just let him do whatever he wants, but I'm not. I think the Suns need to have a game plan against him but there are two ways to beat the Lakers. Let Kobe take every shot and keep throwing different defenders at him OR don't let Kobe take any shots. The worst thing that can happen is let Kobe involve his teammates while he gets his shots in as well. If the Lakers are close at the end of the game, Kobe has gotten his shot going and he's kept his teammates in the game, the Lakers have an awesome chance of winning the game. So the best thing to do is either let Kobe take over the game or keep him completely quiet.
- Get Amare involved but not TOO involved - Again...you're probably saying, "Huh?" I'll explain. Amare will want to prove something on national television so it'll be fun to see what he can do. But it seems that if he is getting 25-30 shots and only making about half of them, the Suns have a hard time winning the game. Obviously, if he can keep at a 60-70% shooting percentage, it doesn't matter if he's taking those 30 shots. But just like the Lakers, if the Suns try to go to Amare too much and he's not making his shots, the rest of the team seems to get lazy and pretty soon they aren't running and being as aggressive as they need to be.
Keep playing the bench - I would love to see the Suns beat the Lakers while playing the likes of James Jones, Pat Burke and Eric Piatkowski again. Just imagine what the Suns can do if they can get the bench involved in the rest of the season and ready for the playoffs. I don't think the Suns can be beat in a 7 game series if they are able to play 9-10 players (lets see: Nash, Marion, Stoudemire, Bell, Thomas, Diaw, Jones, Piatkowski, and Burke - 9 players - did I miss anyone?) So if they can get the players to be confident for the playoffs, it's worth having a bit closer of a game now.
This game is on ABC at 3:30 EST. It'll be an awesome game. Let me know what keys to the game I missed. I'm anxious to hear your comments. Update: Lamar Odom has a torn left labrum and did not travel to Phoenix. I also forgot to mention that the Lakers will not have Luke Walton because of a sprained ankle.