The Zone!! Not the Zone Defense!!!
Seriously? That’s what people are talking about? That the Suns barely won two games at home, shot 40+ more Free Throws than LA in their two wins, got 54 points from the bench in Game 4, and we want to talk about the Suns Defense?
What games are people watching?
With the exception of Game Four’s 4th Quarter that saw the Suns go on a 18-3 run we have seen very little defense from the Phoenix Suns. Hell, the Lakers still scored 110 points a game in their losses.
There is one reason and one reason only that the Lakers lost the past two games. The Lakers didn’t need to win those games to win the Series.
Ok, before you call me crazy and ridiculous for even considering that the Lakers wouldn’t play as hard in games they don’t need to win need only look at the end of the Regular Season.
Over the last 10 games of the Regular season the Lakers went a putrid 3-7 with losses to the Clippers, New Orleans and Houston. LA all but had the Western Conference locked up at that point and they just cruised.
Remember all the talk before the Playoffs even started about the Lakers not being near as good as last year. That Kobe is old and beat up, that Bynum can’t contribute with his hurt knee. That Odom won’t show up every night. That the Lakers bench isn’t good enough to win another title.
Remember the Thunder Series? The Lakers won the first two games at home close and went on the road and lost two games. Everyone was talking about a potential historical upset with a 1 losing to an 8. What ultimately happened?
The Lakers won the next two games, including Game 6 in Oklahoma City to close it out.
Kobe Bryant won’t let this team be eliminated. Kobe Bryant won’t let this team lose.
Don’t forget, the Lakers haven’t lost a home game this Post Season. I think most people would agree with me that the star studded Lakers tend to play down to their competition, but when its crunch time and the Lakers have to win, Kobe and Gasol get it done.
Don’t believe me? Still think last years Lakers are better than this years version? Need another example? Ok I can do that. Remember last year in the Conference Semis against the Rockets, the Lakers lost game 1 in that series at home. To make matters worse Houston lost Yao and already were missing T-Mac and the Rockets pushed the Lakers to a game 7, which LA won.
My point is in a series that featured a team missing their two best players, two All Stars in Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady we saw the eventual NBA Champs pushed to a Game 7.
How many games have the Lakers played where they faced possible elimination the past 2 years?
One. Game 7 against Houston in 2009. Again, they won that game. The Lakers haven’t lost 3 games in any Playoff series the past two seasons. That’s pretty good.
In the 2009 Conference Finals against Denver the Lakers lost Game 2, a home game, and there was talk then LA wasn’t good enough. They won in 6 games.
So far in 2010 the Lakers have yet to lose a Home game. The Lakers win the games they need to win. LA has actually shown us on a consistent basis that they can win a Game 6 on the Road. If they win tonight, which I strongly think they will, then they will have an opportunity to close the Suns out back in Phoenix.
So far the Lakers have eliminated the Thunder and Jazz on the road, are the Suns next?
Yes, the answer is yes.
So all you Phoenix fans enjoy today while you can, because this will be the last day that you have any hope that your team can win this series. After tonight all doubt about the Lakers dominance will be erased. Remember Game’s 1 and 2 that saw the Lakers win by 20+, if not you are going to get a reminder tonight in the form of Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers.
LA has to win this game, and when they have to win a game, they do. There’s a reason Kobe’s the best closer in the league, and that title isn’t just talking about at the end of games, Kobe closes out teams in the Playoffs better than anyone in the NBA today.
About the Author
Written by Danny Shapiro
Danny Shapiro is 26 years old, married and a father to 2 boys, who he hopes one day to play MLB and support him and his wife in their old age. Danny's second love, mistress even, is sports and Danny is living his dream of being a sports writer right now, thanks to Prosportsblogging.com.