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NBA Playoffs, Lakers Suns Game 6: In this Wild West saloon game the cards are on the table, it's about the faster draw

May 29, 2010, 2:41 PM EDT

Suns_Lakers.jpgThink of the Suns/Lakers series as a poker game in an old Wild West saloon somewhere outside Phoenix.

By Game 6, the cards are on the table. Both teams have gone all-in and flipped their two cards over. All that’s left to do is flip over the turn and river cards. Meaning the strategy is out there for everyone to see — there are no major Xs and Os changes to make any more.

But the fight is not done, the Suns are looking loose and talking Game 7.  The Lakers want their rest, like the Celtics.

In the Wild West the winner was the guy who was quicker on the draw. In this series, the quicker draw is the team that better executes better.

The key end of the floor this series is when the Lakers have the ball (the other end of the court is the more entertaining). Simply, the Lakers want to slow the Suns down by making them take the ball out of the basket, to make them come up and face a set defense. The Lakers do that when the get the ball inside — either by getting the ball in the post to Pau Gasol or via dribble penetration (which is what they used a lot more in Game 5).

The Suns want to block shots and contest inside, give the Lakers jump shots and hope they miss a lot. Which they often do. In the Lakers two losses in Phoenix they took 60 three-point shots, and the long rebounds fueled the Suns break.

On the fun end of the court, the Suns are going to run the pick-and-roll and the Lakers are going to try to take away the roll man. Which means Amare Stoudemire. The Lakers want Steve Nash to be the shooter. The problem with that, as Nash showed in Game 5, he hits a lot of shots.

Controlling the boards will matter. How hot Kobe is will matter. The Suns bench will matter. Which Lamar Odom — aggressive or spectator — shows up will matter. Ron Artest will find a way to matter.

But everybody knows that. Everyone knows their roles now. It’s just a matter of who is quicker on the draw.

  1. sunsfan - May 29, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    nice article, been waiting to read something like this

  2. Joseph - May 29, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    The eastern press led by the Boston Globe have all but given the title to the Celtics. However, there is an old military axiom that fits a Laker Celtic set to…”NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE ENEMY” Phil Jackson is hoping the eastern hype does just that to the Celtic players mind set. While we won’t know which of the two (Lakers / Suns), will be the western conference champion to face the Celtics, in my opinion, either one be it the LAkers or the Suns can and will put away the Celtics.
    Since I only have two dollars to bet on this match up and, because the Laker’s have the home court advantage against the Suns or the Celtics, it will be the Lakers who take home the trophy.
    If it is the Suns, look for the Suns to run the Celtics ragged. If it is the Lakers, look for the lakers to cause the Celtic big men get into early foul trouble in the paint. The Black Mamba will hold sway and the Laker bench will finally strike it rich./

  3. Brian - May 29, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Joseph- No one here in New England has given the Celtics anything. We are the biggest critics of our teams..trust me.
    The Celtics are a veteran team and will not allow “any hype” to effect them in anyway. If Rondo is rested and healthy after his Game 6 injury and Kobe not 100% I think Celtics could beat LA. However, I think the Suns would give the Celtics mathup problems- and that would be a tough series for them. Either way CELTICS WIN!
    Brian, Connecticut

  4. Anonymous - May 29, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Little does anyone know but the Celtics have offered Dwight Howard a 10 day contract – with possible extensions. He does NOT have to score, he does NOT have to rebound, he does NOT have to block shots! All he has to do is bring his heavily armored elbows and flail around for 5 minutes each quarter or until Bynum, Bosh and anyone else with 7 feet of him are down or out or both.

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