I can't stand Laker fans but Lakers are definitely the favorite.
It's gonna suck when we lose and have to hear the Laker fanboys going crazy and acting hard.
That being said, the Suns still have a good chance. I would just hate to lose to the Lakers.
I've got LA in 6 and it won't be nearly as easy as some might suggest. The Suns chemistry has been unreal since the A/S break. With that being said, I just like the Lakers due to size advantage plus no answer for Kobe.
lakers in 5, lakers are too long and tall inside, suns only have stoudamire thats a threat inside, frye can shoot threes, but he wont do anything inside, while tha lakers have 3 inside threats in gasol,bynum and odom. kobe wants to beat the suns bad anyway for what happen in 06 and 07, steve nash will do well, but it will be a challenge for richardson and hill
Hope the Lakes aren't thinking like you on him.
On paper, the only major matchup advantages I can see for the Suns are the obvious one in the pg position and also the fact I don't know who Bynum can guard on the Suns if they are not playing Collins or Lopez. When Frye is out there with Amare and 3 smalls, that means Gasol would have to guard Frye on the perimeter while Bynum guarded Amare. Gasol is a better defender than Bynum but you can't have Bynum chasing a guy around the 3 point line. Either he has to guard Amare or he has to sit on the bench. I don't believe he is going to be able to do a good job guarding Amare and when you double team him, he plays with 4 great shooters and it is very tough to recover defensively when he passes out of it.
The Blazers were a terrible matchup for the Suns because of their interior defense. When you have a guy like Camby you can put on Amare 1v1 for spells, this makes it hard to run your offense through him which is what the Suns do a lot of the time. This, combined with the tremendous heart of the Blazers team and some good coaching (attacking with Andre Miller against an inferior defender in game 1, starting Bayless in game 4 to exploit Nash) was enough to win them 2 games. While Duncan is a solid defender, he was not good enough to guard Amare 1v1 and I don't think anyone on L.A. is either which allows them to run their offense normally. Then there's the pick and roll. I hear L.A. fans talk about their great pick and roll defense but the fact is, the play is extremely difficult to defend against. You either have to switch defenders which is going to be impossible with the two guys you would have guarding Amare/Nash (and generally put the guy switching to Amare on his wrong side allowing him to explode toward the basket), run through the screen or rotate other defenders to compensate. The task of rotating is made even more difficult by the ability of the Suns to place 3 other dynamite scorers on the floor at the same time.
The great argument I hear from L.A. supporters is that they are too big for the Suns. I think perceptions are skewed at the moment because their size advantage over the Jazz was so massive and obvious. I don't think the same will apply in this series. I already have mentioned why I think Bynum may only be able to play limited minutes. In addition, the Suns outrebounded the Lakers in 2 of the season games and tied them once. I don't put too much stock into the games because both teams had various players not playing at different times, were in slumps/hot at different times, etc. However, this rebounding statistic does indicate to me that at least the Suns are not going to be dominated in the same way Utah was.
Defensively, I think the Suns will be alright. The Lakers have a couple of fairly soft spots offensively (Fisher, Artest) that allow some of the Suns weaker defenders (Nash, JRich) to "hide". Channing Frye's defense hasn't been talked about much but watching him guard Duncan, I was quite impressed by his effort. Amare's defense has also improved dramatically this year. Neither is going to be an all-nba defender any time soon but I feel they are both reasonably competant at this point and are not the defensive liabilities that people are imagining. Gasol, in particular, is likely to draw some double teams. Whether the other Lakers (Artest, Fisher) can hit their looks is going to be crucial in this series because I expect they will get quite a few.
Then there's Kobe Bryant. The thing about him is, you're not going to shut him down completely...no one is. As everyone should realize, the Suns will be guarding him primarily with Grant Hill and Jared Dudley. Hill's defense has been amazing so far this postseason (and regular season). He's not as quick as he used to be but he knows how to defend and gives a heck of an effort. Dudley is just a pure hussle guy who will give you quality minutes. I think the key thing here for the Suns is that Kobe will probably be playing 40+ minutes per game while they have 2 fresh guys to switch out and chase him around. As I said, Kobe will get his, he won't be shut down completely...but I think the Suns will defend him just as well as most other teams could.
The Suns are playing 0.800 basketball since January 28, playoffs included. They just swept the Spurs who, despite current allegations of being too old, beat the Heat(road), Thunder(road), Cavs, Celtics(road), Magic, Lakers(road) and Nuggets(road) in the last month of the season. Then they beat the second seed in the west. The Lakers beat the Thunder but lost 2 games, only delivered one blowout and very nearly lost game 6. They beat the Jazz team who they match up with ridiculously well without Okur (making them match up even better). A sweep is always impressive but 3 of these games were close. The Suns are playing a whole lot better than the Jazz and match up better.
Can't wait till this series starts, Lakers can't run with us so I think the game plan will be to push the ball and get their bigs in foul trouble. Steve Nash has been playing like the MVP that of old, no doubt dude is the best player in the series and has played like the best player in the playoffs thus far.
I read something interesting. The two worst defenders in the Suns starting 5 are JRich and Nash. And they just happen to match up with the Lakers two worst offensive players in Artest and Fish. This certainly isn't a big deal, but definitely helps the Suns a little bit. Instead of getting dominated at those positions when the Lakers are on offense, the Suns will be able to hide their two worst defenders a little. Expect Fisher and RonRon to put up a few extra points per game this series.