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Old 01-17-2008, 06:09 AM   #1
3stat2
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Default Some random thoughts on the Suns (and the Lakers)

So as most of you have noticed lately, the Lakers have been playing really well. In fact, they've improved up to the point where they have a legit case for challenging for the Pacific Division title. They're above us in the standings. For the first time in recent years, our two clubs are basically looking eye to eye. As a result, I've noticed the rivalry between the Suns and Lakers has gotten stronger than ever. From Phil's timeout with little time remaining in a Lakers blowout, to D'Antoni's angry comments about meeting the Lakers later in the season, to a Laker fan's comments about wanting to take a crowbar to Nash's knees after Bynum went out - it's quite evident things are getting heated up.

Here's some random thoughts I have about this. I guess I'm trying to figure out why I feel a little concerned for the Suns.
- Many Laker fans have been acting as though we're irrelevant, that they'll have no problem whatsoever with us in the playoffs. Bynum is being made to look better than Amare. Some Laker fans are taking shots at our team in threads which have nothing to do with the Suns. I have to say it gets out of hand at times. But even though I completely disagree with their point of view, they do somewhat have a case - at this particular point in time, the Lakers are playing better than us.

Here's the thing though - they were playing about as well as a team could at this point in the season, with that lineup. (before Bynum was out) I may be mistaken, but I believe I've seen enough Laker games now to make that comment. They're playing really cohesively as a team, everyone is putting in top effort and hustle, and many of their lesser players are stepping up - is there really much room for improvement, outside of Kwame Brown getting hand transplants and Odom growing a brain? This seems almost as good as it can get for the Lakers - and yes, it's better than our Suns right now. (Well, before Bynum was injured anyway.)

So what about our Suns? At the moment, we're playing worse than them. It doesn't look like the team is putting in maximum effort. Often you'll see players just standing around, as if they don't care about the game. Teams are outhustling us quite regularly. Marion noted this, Nash has said it many times, and Amare has commented about it - our effort is just not there right now. And that could be a good thing. We're not playing near our potential. The team showed some flashes of what they're capable of in that Denver game - but some stupid plays were still made, and we needed Marion and Banks to catch fire from downtown.

I think - from observing previous seasons and how the team has developed over them - that we still have a long way to go; the Suns are capable of more than they're doing now. I hope that as the playoffs approach, the team improves as it has in previous years and our issues are worked out. However what worries me is that before this time last year, we had already rattled off a pretty damn big winning streak - but we haven't quite seen that yet this season. We're taking longer to develop.

So I am just hoping that the team works things out in the next couple of months, as it has in the past. Grant Hill is out, D'Antoni is still experimenting with Banks in the lineup, and minutes are being thrown at Diaw just to see what he can do. It's still January - so now is probably the time to be facing issues and dealing with them. It may take one big game, or it may take many games, but I sincerely hope that they'll come together as the dominant Suns we've come to know.

Right now, at this point in time though - I guess we'll just have to deal with the Lakers playing better than us and the gloating of (some of) their fans :)

What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 01-18-2008, 03:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Some random thoughts on the Suns (and the Lakers)

So after seeing tonights game thread, I think things have really gotten out of hand. Sure there's still reasonable Laker fans. Hotsizzle is a great example.

But their one win at the start of the season against us - where Amare was hobbled and shouldn't even have been playing - plus their other close win over us, in their home court - these two regular season wins have clearly made some of them delusional. And the fact that today's game was not an extreme blowout, even though it was still in their home court, has just made them crazier.

You don't see Cavs fans saying the Cavs dominate the Spurs. You don't see Bobcats fans telling everyone they're better than the Celtics. You don't see Knicks fans telling people they're better than the Pistons.

I think many of them have convinced themselves that we lose nothing by not having Grant Hill. And it's clear that a lot of them actually have convinced themselves that the Lakers would dominate us in a playoff series.

I think it's best we don't bother arguing with them. When someone is that irrational, the only response you can expect is a flaming of our team.
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Old 01-18-2008, 10:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Some random thoughts on the Suns (and the Lakers)

hey what's up? i agree, no need to argue with the Laker 'faithful' i seen some pretty one sided remarks and a complete lack of respect for other teams/players alike. Laker fans are like non i never seen, i guess that is what makes them either so cool, or so lame depending on how you look at it. personally i enjoy all fans of the game, even crazy and or disillusion ones. Laker fans are fine by me, i post a few things in their forum and they seem very passionate about their team, i like that, makes for good conversation.

now beyond that, i am not sure the Lakers are 'better' then the Suns. the Suns always have major issues with teams who got size and or a quality big man. like i said before 8 of their losses came to teams with a quality big man, even multiple losses have occurred due to this same situation. the Lakers look really good against the Suns when Bynum plays for the simple fact the Suns cannot defend to post, they always get killed down low. and we all seen what happened to the Lakers w/o Bynum the Suns merely imposed their will on them and made the game a shoot out and that is not the Lakers game or style.

i still think for the Suns to be a 'title' team they need size. the regular season vs the playoffs is a far different game. teams with a big man thrive in the playoffs, were as the Suns (bad breaks or not) keep being put out in various rounds. the Suns lack of size come playoff time always hurts them and proves to much to have to compensate for. honestly i feels in my heart of hearts last season was the Suns best chance of the last several years to reach and be successful in the NBA Finals, yet in came David Stern, i'll leave it at that.
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Some random thoughts on the Suns (and the Lakers)

That is a good point. Basketball is a game of matchups, and the Lakers with Bynum do match up nicely with us. I was really frustrated at some of the comments being thrown around when I wrote this stuff.

As for the playoffs - I too felt like we had a great shot last playoffs. Nash's nose cut was a big factor in that first game, then we routed San Antonio by 20 the next game. Then the Spurs got their win in their home court by a decent margin, though not a rout - and then we beat them fair and square on their turf. Suspensions hit, we had a good shot at winning game 5 shorthanded but choked massively in the 2nd half, and game 6 was a very deserved victory for the Spurs. Just by looking at that, I think we had a legitimate chance at winning the series, but no one can say for sure.

Anyway at one point I was really looking forward to this season: last year's team plus hopefully signing Hill and getting Atlanta's high draft pick. But then Sarver got cheap
Imagine that, if we had all the players from last year - how good do you think we could've been?
PG Nash
SG Bell
SF Marion
PF Amare
C Kurt Thomas
Bench Barbosa
Bench Hill
Bench Diaw
Bench James Jones
Bench random high draft pick from Atlanta

KT provides D, rebounds, hustle and a midrange game. Amare at PF is no longer facing a matchup nightmare on D most nights. Hill, Barbosa, Diaw and Jones could form into a really good bench. Plus we'd still have Pat Burke the hilarious angry Irishman.
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Some random thoughts on the Suns (and the Lakers)

good post... honestly i think STARVER being cheap around this "lux tax" is making us take a few steps back. losing KURT was a lot bigger then i think anyone actually seen coming. that dude can ball, defend, rebound, hit open jumpers, and he bust his butt to d up on DUNCAN, why didn’t the Suns offer to restructure his deal? why didn’t they just bite the bullet and keep him? i am however encouraged by the play of SKINNER, i knew he had game but i didn’t know he was as good as he has shown.
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