Lakers Vs. Suns:
A Brief History of Personal NBA Hatred & Violence
Let us get down to brass tacks here. There are few things I dislike more than Phil Jackson, the LA Lakers, and their snide Hollywood-type fans. It could be partially that the Lakers hold a head to head regular season lead of 125-88 over the Suns. Or it could be because they hold a head to head playoff lead of 38-24. It might also be because LA has better weather, an ocean, or Disneyland nearby.
Or it could be that I simply cannot stand some of the players that have donned the Laker Purple and Gold. Allow me to expand:
- Early To Late 80's (Showtime): From the early days of my life and Suns fandom I despised Magic and showtime. Sure Magic was great, but his smile bothered me. He had too many teeth it seemed. And he also had that long mustache. Of course how could anyone not in LA like Kareem? Again, he was great on the floor and in Airplane!, but frankly, he looked funny. He was skinny, balding, he wore those goggles, and he was always so slow. And on the subject of goggles, how about James Worthy's goggles? Two guys with goggles on the team? What the hell? And then you had Rambis' pseudo-Woody Allen stupid glasses. And let's not forget Michael Cooper's white knee socks. All in all a successful group worthy of jealousy, but not really a pretty team to look at.
Early '90's (Rebuilding?) : It was Vlade and his beard and phony acting that made me violently angry along with Nick Van Exel who defined punk-ass before the Chris Andersen's and Jason Williams' of the world hit the scene. But overall the team didn't inspire a ton of hatred other than the afore mentioned because they sucked. Randy Pfund took a shot at coaching along with Magic Johnson. That worked out well.
Late 90's-Early 2000's, (The Shaq and Kobe Years): When Shaq teamed with Kobe from '96-'04 I knew the Suns would never beat a squad with that much size and talent. And we had to wait it out until Shaq and Kobe divorced causing O'Neal to retreat to South Beach. In the meantime, not only was O'Neal easy to hate for being so huge and dominant, but that Rick Fox made me insane with his greasy hair, attempts at acting, and the awful way he treated the very lovely and talented, Miss Vanessa Williams.
Mid/Early 2000's: The D'Antoni years were wonderful as the Suns topped the Pacific and knocked the Lakers out of the postseason two straight years while Raja Bell knocked Kobe senseless with an ultra violent clothesline in Game 5 of the 2006 playoffs. And remember that one time, when Kobe totally quit on his team...Good times, man.
Beating Phil Jackson feels better than beating Greg Popovich (my other least favorite NBA coach). PJ, (as he's called if you're an LA hipster), gets that constipated look on his face when things aren't going well, while Pops either gets enraged, tossed, or simply laughs. Beating the Lakers in these brief years was fun, but the anger was missing. Watching Kobe try to win a game single handed was more comical than anything. Watching him purposely give up was even more funny.
Of course times have changed. The Lakers are looking to three-peat and the Suns are looking to find themselves. The good news is that I have reestablished my hatred for the Lakers. Now I can hate Phil Jackson for his stupid books that mix Zen and the NBA, the fact that he's shacked up with Buss' daughter, the fact that the Lakers have seemingly billions to spend and do spend that much, and how dumb Anthony Kiedis looks with a mustache. Eh, I could go on and on, but what's the point, I have a full evening to hate on the Lakers ahead of me.
Tonight opens another chapter of the heated Suns/Lakers rivalry. The Lakes have bolstered their bench with the additions of Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, and Theo Ratliff. Meanwhile the core of Kobe, Fisher, Artest, Odom, Bynum, and Gasol is still around. Bynum is out with his knee thing and Kobe is allegedly somewhat injured with his knee thing, but to quote one Mr. Clark over at Silver Screen and Roll, against the Rockets Kobe Bryant had a "relatively quiet 27-point night."
I suppose that can happen.
The Lakers are no doubt the favorite to win it all again (even though some dimwit on TNT predicted a Miami Heat 35 game winning streak on opening night), and will most likely have their way with the Phoenix Suns tonight who are playing their second night of back to backs. Still, one never knows. Nash, JRich, and Hill played 32, 28, and 28 minutes respectively last night. The tired Turk played 21, but the bench should be fresh with only Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick playing over 20 minutes.
Deep Thoughts Worthy of Discussion:
- What the crap is with Robin Lopez? I think there were a couple of phantom Utah homer calls against him last night, but he isn't playing near the caliber of basketball he was towards the end of last season. Is the back bothering him? Is it the new teammates? Is he pressing? Let's pull it together tonight, Robin, because odds are that Grant Hill probably can't pull 12 rebounds out of his hat tonight.
- Can Hakim Warrick play out of his mind two nights in a row? It was a great night for the WarMachine last night. The Suns will certainly need him to continue that style of play to have any chance tonight.
- Goran Dragic played a solid, efficient game last night with 11/6 and 2 TO's in 15 minutes. I forsee 20+ minutes tonight for him to spell Nash.
- J-Chill tied for the team lead with a +12 last night. And while the boxscore doesn't show you much more than that, he's one of those guys like an Amundson or Dudz that you have to watch closely to fully appreciate. I'm not gonna lie, I love Chill, but I'm very nervous about his fractured finger.
- Channing Frye is looking much better on defense. I'd like to see some more rebounds, and I think his totals will increase over the course of the season. He's playing a more physical style of ball, he's contesting and blocking more shots and not just sitting out at the top of the key waiting to drop a 3.
- What can Hedo bring tonight? His foul trouble enabled Warrick more court time and we saw how that turned out. The thing I've noticed about Turk is he seems to plod along. In the preseason the Suns mentioned him being tired from the World Championships. Tired? Talk to Grant Hill about being tired. Personally I think Turk's not in Suns shape. Maybe that's obvious. Still, he can contribute as evidenced by his 13 points and 3 from beyond the arc.
Since Seth already stole the Applicable Game Day Links, I only have one, but it should fire you up:
You remember these guys, don't you? The Phoenix Suns? They spent a couple weeks passing through our lives last spring, when they harbored the not-terribly-rational goal of beating the Lakers in the conference finals. Wasn't that cute of them? The Suns had a few moments of not sucking in that series, but come on now...