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Lakers point to inside game as main key against Phoenix Suns

It's a simple formula and one the Lakers know make them nearly unbeatable if they execute it correctly. That approach entails running their offense through the post, taking advantage of the height discrepancy they typically have with two seven-footers in center Andrew Bynum and forward Pau Gasol.

Though the Suns expect center Robin Lopez to return in time for their Western Conference finals matchup with the Lakers, beginning Monday, Phoenix's perimeter-oriented lineup means the Lakers have an easy mismatch on their hands, if they execute correctly.

"We have size, and it's been our strength," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "We want to exploit it, and we certainly will against the Phoenix Suns."

This isn't anything new. One of the key components to the Lakers' semifinals sweep against Utah entailed the Lakers tremendous size advantage. With Utah without Mehmet Okur (ruptured left Achilles) for the series and Andrei Kirilenko (ruptured left Achilles missing the first two games, the Jazz had little to counter the Lakers' talent in the post, featuring Bynum, Gasol and Lamar Odom. In fact, the three scored 163 of the team's 437 total points in four games. They also grabbed at least 10 rebounds apiece in the first two games, a feat that hasn't happened since the 1985 Portland team accomplished it in a playoff matchup against Dallas.

If the Lakers' history has anything to do with it, their size should prove advantageous against a team that lacks any seven-footer in the starting lineup. Bynum scored 26 points and Odom came close to a triple- double in the Lakers' 121-102 victory Nov. 12 against Phoenix, despite missing the services of Gasol (right hamstring). In the Lakers' 102-96 victory March 12 over Phoenix, Bynum (18 points) and Gasol (15 points) represented two of the five players who scored double figures for the Lakers.

Of course, there are some unknowns, with Bynum using this week to get extra treatment on the lateral meniscus on his right knee and coming off a zero-point performance in Game 3 against Utah and a six-point performance in Game 4. But given his history against Phoenix, Bynum remains confident he can replicate the numbers he posted against the Suns in the regular season.

"I think I just need to be more active," Bynum said. "It's tough for me to move, but I'll be able to get it done."

The presence Bynum and Gasol provide inside benefits the Lakers in other ways too. Their double teams in Game 3 against Utah led to strong shooting performances from Ron Artest and Derek Fisher, both of whom scored 20 points on seven-of-13 shooting. In addition to Kobe Bryant's improved health, the attention the bigs command inside has helped him score at least 30 points in the last five games.

Of course, the Lakers can't just pound the ball inside for the sake of doing so. You don't need to look further than in the Lakers' embarrassing Game 4 loss to Oklahoma City to see that forcing the ball inside doesn't always work if the opponent is fronting them in the post. But in an offense that preaches balance and movement, correctly using Gasol and Bynum inside can help create that synergy the Lakers constantly try to achieve.

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
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Repost:

Here is the way I look at it based on strength in comparing WCF contingents:

LAKERS/SUNS

Kobe/Nash - advantage Kobe
Amare/Pau - about the same
Richardson/Artest - ?
Hill/Odom - Odom
Bynum/Frye - about the same Bynum on the inside and Frye on the outside

Brown/Dragic - based on season it's Brown, based on playoffs it's Dragic
Walton/Dudley - Dudley
Farmar/Barbosa - Barbosa
Amundson/Powell - Powell
Lopez/Mbenga - Mbenga (if we're talking of martial arts lol!)

Not based on position but on the order of ranking of players.

~~I think this series will be decided by the role players. Bynum and Artest are the two Laker players who should be the great difference on this series. In Suns case, watch out for Frye, Richardson and Dragic. Lakers will be the inside plays while Suns on the perimeter shooting.

Our frustration as Lakers fans when we see our PG's, Kobe, Odom and Artest shooting threes at will and not connecting. During interviews, they always say the inside game, capitalize on height advantage and by the time we watched the game itself, we see premature long shooting without rebounds, slow in transitional defense while Bynum is flat footed in the post without any movement. We don't want to see those flaws. It should be team game and go for the open man. Open shots should be +2 not -2 in long rebound and a sure shot from the Suns. Shannon should be on fire attacking the ring and go for the assist like R. Rondo moves what I see is mere waste of time of lateral passing. Passing until the time expires and leave the ball to Kobe's hand on the 23rd second. FArmar and Shannon should make bold decision and create team plays that is what a PG does. Long shots should only executed when they are way open and time is expiring.

Oh no not this inside outside talk again...

MM you're 0 for 2 today

Much better posting of the morning crew than the evening (filled with trolls)!

Oh no not this inside outside talk again...MM you're 0 for 2 today Posted by: yellofever | May 14, 2010 at 11:18 AM
Stop it Yellow Fever, Stop it now! Lol!

MAMBA24,

Don't be hatin' on me my friend, but here's my take:

Magic over Celts in 6, Lakers over Suns in 6 and Lakers over Magic in 7.

If Phil Jackson persists with his madness expect the Lakers to get off to a slow start and maybe even a loss against the Suns in game 1


Everytime the Lakers get into a jam you never hear the gameplan being..."get the ball into the post" or "we have a size advantage"........invariably you hear "Kobe has to be aggressive". Once Kobe bails everyone out they go right back to the same foolishness that got them in trouble in the first place.

Does anyone remember Phil's plan before game 4 against OKC? Let me remind you.........."We have a size advantage and we want to force it into the Post"............Does anyone remember the results? We were summarily blown out


If the gameplan is to go inside the primary weapon should be Kobe Bryant who happens to be our best post player. What this will do is marginalize Jason Richardson and take him out of the game mentally.............because the key to halting the Suns is not Nash...............it's Richardson!


Our gameplan should ALWAYS focus on getting the ball to Kobe and for Kobe to be aggressive and allow Kobe to use his complimentary players like Gasol and Bynum.....................any other plan will get us in deep do do


Ladies and Gentlemen (and trolls), the word of the day is...

Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude is the pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.

We are all reveling in LeBron's misfortune right now.

And we are all looking forward to Schadenfreude over Steve Nash's misery shortly, and more over Paul Pierce & Keven Garnett's misery after that.

Allnet,

Although I am disappointed in LBJ's immaturity, he's a pretty good player! I think a Drew (just too injured and too complacent) plus Sasha or Luke in a sign and trade for LBJ. I do think we need to package Drew, if we can, for LBJ or Bosh or really CP3 to improve our team for next year. I AM NOT a Drew hater, just tired of his complacency even more so than the constant injuries. I would like for him to be the DOMINANT force we see every 8 games or so, but it hasn't happened yet.

DJ,

IMO, the trolls in the evening are coming from Asia. We're familiar with their semantics and phraseology. In the morning here in US, they are in deep sleep. It is a challenge to LAT IT, how they can isolate ip address? My suggestion is how we treat taggers when they defaced our residential walls. Erase their graffiti immediately without waiting for additional graffiti s smudged our blog. It was said that EW, OJ, JW have been banned but their names kept on resurfacing.

Don't forget to show your Laker colors with those car flags today. Got to go now.

The Suns, yes. The Magic, no. How sweet would it be to for the Lakers, the fans, Kobe, to win a championship IN Boston. My lord, that would be epic. Too delcious to think about. Thinking about stuf like that gets you beat pretty quick. The Suns...


Wes

Lakers want the inside game b/c he know that his best player play inside. If the Lakers advance to the Finals, the inside game will be his first option, too, for te same reason.

"The inside game" and after, Kober and the rest.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, PAU GASOL.LLLL PAU GASOLLLLLLL

Although I am disappointed in LBJ's immaturity, he's a pretty good player! I think a Drew (just too injured and too complacent) plus Sasha or Luke in a sign and trade for LBJ. I do think we need to package Drew, if we can, for LBJ or Bosh or really CP3 to improve our team for next year. I AM NOT a Drew hater, just tired of his complacency even more so than the constant injuries. I would like for him to be the DOMINANT force we see every 8 games or so, but it hasn't happened yet.

Posted by: D(erek)J(eter) | May 14, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Not mention he misses easy shots 1-feet from the hoop (how he does that?).
Not a Drew hater either, but patience have a limit...

Art - FL Lakers and MM,

Regarding the previous thread, excuse me for chiming in, but you guys seem to be completely missing Ouch's point, which is this thread topic is an absolute waste of space and a waste of thought.
Just imagine if this thread topic was one of the following:

- "Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins need each other to validate their accomplishments"
- "Kareem and Ralph Sampson need each other to validate their accomplishments"
- "Magic and Bernard King need each other to validate their accomplishments"
- "Kobe and Lebron need each other to validate their accomplishments"

Nobody in their right mind would dare to make such silly statements about the validity of Jordan, Magic or Kareem's "accomplishments" unless the writer has a hatred for these all-time greats, or at the very least, was completely ignorant to basketball history. These comparisons would be highly offensive if they weren't so idiotic. In fact, my IQ just went down 10 points just discussing this silly topic.

IN THE VERY OWN WORDS OF DEAR DEPARTED CHICK HEARNS: “The mustard's off the Hot-dog”

If Lakers plan to win the title this year, then from my practice of Zen, Kobe needs to accept the role of a ZERO as oppose to HERO. If Kobe embraces and grasps this subtle yet simple concept, then the title is Lakers.

Otherwise, brace yourself for a roller coaster ride and watch Kobe put on the greatest individual display, the greatest contortionist artist NBA has ever witnessed. Maybe we might witness Kobe score over 100 points, but in a team sport with the NBA title at stake this HERO act is going to prove to be futile. In the words of Chick-isms hero act is simply just not going to cut the mustard.

MM

So is this really the end of dfish the poster?

I can't say i disagree MM... his personal attacks on jonk was non bball related and often uncalled for but what was the basis of ur decision? Any particular reason like was he really posting under multiple handles? Just curious..

Lakertruth

Good points... Need more minds like yours around.. Pls chime in more often

MM back to back airballs today.. Didn't draw iron


Machine like to say hello to all Laker fans. Maria tell Machine to say hello to all guy Laker fans out there.

Machine want to tell all Laker fans that Machine return against Suns. Laker fans no need for worry about fellow Slovenian Dragic because Machine make Dragic cry. Machine shut Dragic down. After Dragic cry, Machine go hug Kobe. Machine love hugging Kobe very much. Kobe hit SIX game winner this season, and Machine hug Kobe six times. Six for six! YES! Kobe yell at me every day, but Machine don't care, because at least Kobe talk to Machine.

So don't worry Laker fans too much about Suns. Kobe will hit 7th game winner against Suns and Sasha hug Kobe for 7th time. Machine cannot wait.

DO I SENSE FACTION IN UPRISING AGAINST MM... hahaha

MM back to back airballs today.. Didn't draw iron


Posted by: yellofever

We need to win this championship, it was never so easy. We have a good chance against both Celts os Magic, so we can finally see Kobe SMILE!!!

"Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins need each other to validate their accomplishments"
- "Kareem and Ralph Sampson need each other to validate their accomplishments"
- "Magic and Bernard King need each other to validate their accomplishments"
- "Kobe and Lebron need each other to validate their accomplishments"
Posted by: LAKER TRUTH | May 14, 2010 at 11:39 AM ,
===================

LT,

I see your point, but that or those weren't the topic of the thread.

The topic was:

Does Cleveland's elimination sour possible LeBron-Kobe Finals matchups in the future?

"Kobe and Lebron need each other to validate their accomplishments"

While that is a point Markazi made, which was met with great disagreement, it wasn't the thrust of MM's comments.

In the 3rd paragraph from the end MM states numerous times it is a "manufactured rivalry", media hype.

At this point it doesn't make any sense for me to try and defend it anymore especially because it wasn't my article, MM can defend it or let it go, that's up to him.

Anyway, my point was the thread did get a lot of controversy and commentary which I am guessing was part of MM's objective.

If y'all hated it that's your right to do.

I just thought some of the criticism was misdirected, but I am happy to move on to something new.

AND WRITE .... hahahaha


I can barely speak English!

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | May 14, 2010 at 12:11 PM

MR. MM:

Do you have any intel on Bynum's health (knee)?

Cheers

Did we forget to mention that PHX outscored LA in the paint in their last meeting? Also that PHX held its own on the boards? Or that Frye was missing?

Eight down and eight to go... At the halfway point of this postseason NOTHING would please me more than to see wins #9, 10, 11 & 12 come at the expense of the Phoenix Suns towards some unfinished business in '06 and '07, and for wins #13, 14, 15 & 16 come at the expense of the Boston Celtics to settle this '08 business once and for all. The road to repeat and #16 continues!

This PHX vs LA game will be huge on Saturday.

That's when the defending champion MERCURY receive their rings, then face the LA team that they booted last postseason. I remember seeing Lisa Leslie in tears after being humbled by Diana Taurasi. Many said that LA's size inside would decide the series, when in fact it was the shooting prowess and team defense of the smaller PHX team that won it...history does have a way of repeating itself.

Coby and Magic were watching courtside in Staples, both heartbroken yet again by a PHX franchise that is quickly making Arizona the center of the most successful pro basketball teams in the world.

Just like the MERCURY, the SUNS can win it all by going thru SA, LA, and then the best eastern team.

I HOPE BYNUM HAS A GOOD SERIES AGAINST THE SUNS and why?

Because we have not seen a glowing and a magnanimous write up from lakerTom on his beloved Beast. I suspect he and his followers (staples #4, Nemeia F etc.) have started their own “BEAST” blog, under the guidance of their SWAMI LakerTom. I can picture, LakerTom with long white beard, sitting in a lotus position with a laptop on his lap and his followers all gathered around him in circle communicating via the blog.

Eight down and eight to go... At the halfway point of this postseason NOTHING would please me more than to see wins #9, 10, 11 & 12 come at the expense of the Phoenix Suns towards some unfinished business in '06 and '07, and for wins #13, 14, 15 & 16 come at the expense of the Boston Celtics to settle this '08 business once and for all. The road to repeat and #16 continues!

Posted by: jefe101 | May 14, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Myopic Laker Fan-

LOL ... "settle this '08 business once and for all" ... I thought that was already settled in '08. How Laker fan of you to think that somehow if you beat us this year it will mean you were better in '08 too!

Quote from:

"We have size, and it's been our strength," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "We want to exploit it, and we certainly will against the Phoenix Suns."

Response:

Duh, really? Yes, we all know that, please kindly relay this very important fact to Kobe so he knows it too.

>>>Did we forget to mention that PHX outscored LA in the paint in their last
>>>meeting? Also that PHX held its own on the boards? Or that Frye was
>>>missing?

Did it ever occur to you that there's a connection there?

You're not gonna get rebounds with Frye standing out beyond the 3 point line.

People also make a big deal that Phoenix shoots 40% on 3-pointers as a team.

Well you know what? The Lakers bigs shoot 60% inside vs Phoenix. And 60% inside gets you just as many points as 40% outside.

And that's even IF they can manage to hit that 40% vs the best 3-point defending team in the league.

Hey, just wondering what you all think about Shaq's playing for who possibility next year? Who would really want him? And at that, would seem like he would have to play for alot less than the $20 Mil he got this year.

Oh, I was wondering when was last last Championship by the Suns? Anybody know that? Seems like it's been a while.

I can barely speak English!


Posted by: Edwin Gueco | May 14, 2010 at 12:11 PM


Souldn't we start a "I can barely" thread? Cause, I can barely...


...stand it when people sitting at a red light wait for the car next to them to start moving before they move themselves! What? I see it all the time. What happens if the person next to them doesn't move? Does it become like that movie where everyone stopped having babies? I imagine so.


Wes

John Hollinger does a good job of pointing part of the finger of blame for LeBron's failure at their GM.

Last season, they didn't want to give up JJ Hickson in a deal to get Shaq at the trade deadline and then Dwight Howard was the source of their demise. Shaq was healthier last season, so he probably could have gotten them over the Orlado speed bump.

Then this season, they had a chance to trade for Amare Stoudemire at the trade deadline, but again they wanted to keep Hickson, so they went with Antawn Jamison instead. BIG mistake.

Danny Ferry is as much responsible for the Cavs last two seasons flops as LeBron. Maybe more. He also overspent to keep guys like Anderson Varejao and Daniel Gibson, when the money might have been better spent elsewhere.

Someone compared Varejao to Turiaf. Consider what Mitch did when Golden State offered him too much - he let him go. Ferry's been desperately trying to bring in anyone he can to improve the team, but all to often his acquisitions have hurt the team's bottom line without actually improving the team much.

THIS IS FOR ALL THE FANS WHO ARE ENJOYING LBJ BASHING:

more doggy bones and sit down: http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-lebroncalipari051410

lakerfan - The Lakers had the day off yesterday, but we'll get a medical update today. Bynum said at Wednesday's practice that with the week off he's going to get more treatment, but he maintains he's healthy enough to play.

yellofever- How am I 0 for 2 today. I was simply using the LeBron article as a springboard for your discussion and I've clearly stated Kobe's legacy is much more impressive than LeBron's. Also, what is wrong with highlighting the inside game? I'm just detailing what the Lakers believe is the key to the game.

MM

Two more "Mitch is better than Danny Ferry" examples -

Trevor Ariza - his agent tried to play Mitch for more money, and Mitch said, "smell ya later Trev".

Lamar Odom - he (or his agent) tried to negotiate with other teams to drive up his value to 10 million per or more, but Mitch held to the 8 millionish offer and eventually Lamar gave in.

If Danny Ferry could play hardball like Mitch Kupchak, then LeBron might be preparing for a series with the Magic right now.

OK 131-92, perhaps wrong choice of words - strike "settle" and replace with "payback"...

Yawn.

Wake me up when the real season starts - NBA Finals.

MM:

Thank you kindly for the intel on Bynum..

By the way what is this security confirmation that pops up prior to posting. Just curious..

Careful MM. I see 0-3 right around the corner, like that milk truck in the Dead Zone...


Wes

lakerfan - It was just a way to try to keep trolls out while also enabling the automatic comment feature.

Wes - I'm open for feedback. So I don't mean to get defensive. I just didn't understand what the problem was with the past two posts

MM

>>>I thought that was already settled in '08. How Laker fan of you to think that
>>>somehow if you beat us this year it will mean you were better in '08 too!

It must really make you proud to know that the Celtics were better than the Lakers exactly two years out of the last 20 or so (I'll give you 2005 as well, when the Lakers missed the playoffs and Boston lost in the first round).

When was your last title before `08?

Oh yeah, that would be 1986. 23 years ago.

Since then the Lakers have won FIVE titles to your 1. Maybe if your team didn't suck so hard that they couldn't MAKE IT to the finals some of those years, the Lakers would have kicked their green butts. But the reality is that they did suck. And suck and suck and suck.

If you want to talk about ancient history (the 60s), then yeah, you're a mighty team. But that's like cheering for the British Empire. Gosh how mighty a nation we are - look the sun never set on the British Empire!

But if you want to talk about the present and the real world, then we all know who's on top. The U.S. and the Lakers.

So chew on that with a big side of baked beans.

I correct myself. I underestimated the power of the Lakers.

The Lakers have won SIX CHAMPIONSHIPS compared to the measly one by the Celtics in the last 22 years.

pfunk36,
[Everytime the Lakers get into a jam you never hear the gameplan being..."get the ball into the post" or "we have a size advantage"........invariably you hear "Kobe has to be aggressive". Once Kobe bails everyone out they go right back to the same foolishness that got them in trouble in the first place.]

And this is why I will never leave this blog ... cuz no matter how crazy other basketball fans and no matter how cruel the media might appear to be ... on this blog I am sure to find mamba faithfuls

And oh to the folks talking about Lebron-Kobe finals being dead ... if Lebron can make it back to the top (for those who choose to see 1 nba finals in 7 years as the top - same set of folks that anointed him king), his spanking at the hand of the mamba will be waiting ... paint kobe old all u want ... call his knees done ... but it won't diminish his hardwork, it won't diminish his drive and it won't diminish his genius on the court

Also shout out to Lebron fans who are mad he's being accused of quiting on his team ... welcome to our world

And umm lastly ... to all phoenix fans, when we're done flogging y'all this series ... pls urge Nash to return his mvp awards to its rightful owner ... #8

forgot to put a timeline on Lebrons climb back to the top ... he makes it back before Kobe turns 37, he's getting spanked lol

Guys we got a new post up with links

MM

Guys gloating about the 60s are equivalent to a grandpa bragging about how great he was at football when he was in high school.

No one cares.

Generous to give them 2005. I'm not so sure about that, after all, they did play in the Leastern conference.

Now, regarding players needing another player to feel special or whatever: what a bunch of hogwash.

If anything, LeBron needs Kobe.

That's right.

He needs Kobe to win a gold medal.
He needs Kobe to teach him how to be a leader.
He needs Kobe to tap his full potential.
And he needs Kobe to win an NBA title.

Now, why did Kobe NEED LeBronze again?

Yeah, more MSM B.S.

LTILF-

"Oh yeah, that would be 1986. 23 years ago."

I take it Math wasnt your best subject!

LongTimeLakerFan,

[And that's even IF they can manage to hit that 40% vs the best 3-point defending team in the league.]

Really? We're that good against the 3 ball ... umm guess a magic showdown won't be so nerve wracking after all ... though for what it's worth the sheriff is rooting for a celtic showdown as well ... first we slap phoenix silly for being arrogant back in the day, then we go trade punches with the celtics till they fall like a heavy weight champ past his prime

I think the posts are fine MM. Nothing wrong there. If anything, these were some of your better posts. You know, I don't want my Laker world view to be just the DVD version, i need the novel too. The one written by Tolstoy or Dostoevsky that shows the peole as they are, and isn't afraid to look into the abyss. I think the Kobe/LeBron comparisons make sense from a lot of angles, so why be afraid to explore some of these?


We're just getting ready for the battles with the Suns fans, so, there you have it. The troops are restless...


Wes

MM-

You've doing an exemplary job on the blog since you've taken over. One slight issue: you've posted twice about AK47's injury (incorrectly) -- not a ruptured achilles -- and my guess is you were simply cutting and pasting, w/o proofing. (as busy as you must be--a definite no-no).

And (to continue the complaining tone) Edwin G.: I live in Asia (and I'm still up). I'm not a troll and my semantics are fine... I've been a Laker fan for my entire forty-five years of sports consciousness -- can I still play on your board?

t_sensie,

Kudos to your grasp of English.
It's better than many who were born and raised in the good ole' US of A.

I jumped into the Hot Tub Time Machine, Fast Forwarded to the End of the Western Conference Finals and Uploaded Steve Nash's Press Conference:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vy3rWasClqs

Enjoy...

WesJoe, lakerfan

AND WRITE .... hahahaha

I can barely speak English!

Posted by: Edwin Gueco | May 14, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Posted by: lakerfan | May 14, 2010 at 12:14 PM

~~For your information, I did not post this. That's how dangerous we are today in this blog. We don't have any control on our handle somebody always act as an impostor. Mark Medina has totally lost control on the posters, perhaps they can ban some but still out to destroy this blog.

Another thing, one of these days you will have no more Edwin G. to read or kick around for we have been in this blog for too long. It is your time lakerfan to contribute more....

t sensei,

Sorry to drag you when I referred to Asian posters. I am referring to the trolls last night mentioned by DJ. If you are not a troll then my post does not refer to you.

The GM was problem #1, the coach was problem #1A for why cleveland lost.

Varajeo should've played way way more than he did, playing shaq was just plain dumb. Ofcourse GETTING shaq was dumb. Jamison is a defensive liability and perennial loser as well, but they gave nothing up for him so you can't knock that trade.

The Lakers should where "Los Lakers" uniforms when they play in Phoenix to show solidarity with the people in Arizona. PLUS it would give them an edge with the fans on the road.

You mean to show solidarity with the 70%+ in Arizona in favor of upholding the law, right?


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