This opening round series against the Lakers was a bit different than last year. The Suns came out the agressors and only lost one game against the Lakers. And even that game was one they could have won had they played correctly at the end of the game.
This game had some drama in it because the Spurs had won the game before and the Suns knew the Spurs were going to be waiting for them. If they didn't win tonight, the Spurs would have had more rest and would have been able to prepare for the Suns while the Suns would have had to prepare for a game 6 on the road against the Lakers.
Not only that but Raja Bell was doubtful for the game after his wife had a baby boy earlier in the day. Raja did end up playing and "held" Kobe to 34 points on 13 of 32 shooting.
The Suns didn't shoot exceptionally well from the field and were outrebounded by the Lakers but they played just well enough to win. With about 6 minutes to go, the Suns had a 9 point lead (I think) and I thought the game was over at that point. But Kobe just never stops shooting and you know eventually he's going to start hitting some shots. The Lakers got close but then the Suns clamped down on defense, made their free throws and won the game in the end.
No one knows exactly when the Suns and Spurs play but Doug Collins was predicting it would be on Sunday. This is the matchup that really worries me. If anyone is going to beat the Suns, it will be the Spurs. Amare is going to need a monster series to help the Suns win 4 times against the Spurs. But it can be done. The Spurs are getting old and while they have more experience than the Suns, they may get tired over a 7 game series with the Suns running them into the ground. That is, if the Suns can force their will on the Spurs and actually run.
Overall, this was a great series by the Suns and they closed it out when they had to. They could have let up knowing they had to win only 1 game in the next three and they just didn't do it. I'm happy with the series and I'm ready to move on to the next one.
What are your thoughts on the game?