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Lakers' top-ranked three-point defense to be key against Phoenix's perimeter shooting

With the Phoenix Suns finishing as the NBA's best three-point shooting team and the Lakers boasting the league's best three-point defensive team, the Lakers view this match-up as a test of how they impose their philosophy.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant chalks up the outcome to whether the team controls the pace and plays in a half-court set. Lakers guard Derek Fisher points to communication. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson argues the key entails the team's ability to deny Phoenix the lane. And Lakers forward Ron Artest believes it all just comes down to helping out on team defense.

The statistics show that both teams are playing at their best in these areas. Phoenix, which shot 41.2% from three-point average, shot 41.7% from the perimeter in the first two rounds and has gone 34 of 69 in the last three games. The Lakers, which held teams to 32.8% shooting from downtown this season, limited opponents this postseason to 32.3% shooting from the three-point range.

In the Lakers' three wins in four games against Phoenix, they held the Suns to only 33.3% shooting from downtown. But in the team's lone 118-103 loss to Phoenix this season on Dec. 28, the Lakers surrendered 12 three-pointers to the Suns.

But the Lakers' effort in limiting the three goes beyond defending the perimeter. It entails how Fisher matches up with Steve Nash, whether Gasol limits Amare Stoudemire inside and how focused Artest remains on D. Nonetheless, the importance isn't lost on the Lakers. Phoenix finished 28-4 when they shoot at least 45% from three-point range, while the Lakers went 12-0 when they limited opponents to under 40% shooting.

--Mark Medina

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Comments () | Archives (13)

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They're no Oklahoma City Thunder.

If you're a Phoenix fan, that's a bad thing - you're about to have your hopes crushed.

steve nash the Zen Buster?

always too quick for Fisher

now also to quick for PJ

I agree with Tim-4-Show, our team faced a more superior fast break team similar to the Suns in OKC. That team scared a living daylight out of PJ.

Amare is just as good as Durant but Nash doesn't have the same explosiveness or quickness as Westbrook. DFish should be able to handle him.

Go Lakers!

BUTLER: "What does PHX play for?"

ANSWER: FISHIN' HOLES!!!!!

I want that payback for Raja's aggressive play.....all he got was 1 game....hey that's what Stern gives Kobe for making unnatural shooting movement against Ginobili in 07'. The offensive players have rights too!!!! These body space fouls are getting worse than charge/block fouls were.

They're no Oklahoma City Thunder.

If you're a Phoenix fan, that's a bad thing - you're about to have your hopes crushed.

Posted by: Tim-4-Show | May 15, 2010 at 02:00 PM
---
Right on, Tim. That is supported by the fact PHX lost its season series to OKC 2-1.

I enjoyed the Thriller video and, Mark, good question.

I was enhearted by the coherency of Ron's response, too.

He looks like he's gaining confidence, always a good thing, but his salient key point is that if we are able to stop inside penetration without requiring the double-team, then we eliminate the open three-pointer, by not having to give up a perimeter defender to "stop the bleeding" from repeated inside penetration.

Makes sense.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!!

MM...someone's hacking the site.....I believe.

"if we are able to stop inside penetration without requiring the double-team, then we eliminate the open three-pointer, by not having to give up a perimeter defender to "stop the bleeding" from repeated inside penetration."
Posted by: Jon K. | May 15, 2010 at 04:03 PM

That's the thing that's always baffled me, with the size that the Lakers have, penetration by a quick ball handler should not be a problem. But, it still is, our bigs aren't alert enough and are slow to rotate and cover.

yeah Im from PHX!!! Kobe and his BUTTT BUDDIES are going DOOWWWNNN!!!!

humanomaly - why do you think the site is getting hacked?
Jon K - Thanks for the love man. Glad you enjoyed the post

MM

No matter what the sportswriters make this series to be interesting, the truth of the matter is, it cannot compare the game the Lakers had with OKC. That team really made the Lakers worked so hard to win the series. The Suns can run but they do not have a true center that can defend the paint. As we all know we can dominate that area anytime, Amare will have difficulty covering that area. Besides no one in the Suns can make Kobe sweat in this series, yes Nash can do all his tricks but that is not enough to oust the Lakers, also in order for the Suns to win games they should have a high shooting % w/c I think the Lakers will prevent from happening. Amare cannot beat Pau,Lamar and Bynum in the paint. I am not surprised if the Lakers will also sweep this series. The lakers does not need a physical type of game to prepare for either the Celts or the Magic coz they can when it is needed. 2 more days..the NBA is only prolonging the Suns agony....

The only way the Suns will win is if they play out of their minds shooting 3's and the Lakers play really sloppy and unfocused. I don't see how, if the Lakers are focused and determined, as they have been since game 5 of the OKC series, they can lose. No one on the Suns can even attempt to bother Kobe and I look for him to dominate this series as he has his game face on and wants revenge badly. I still haven't forgotten either and as a Laker fan, it still stings to this day. Even back in the early '90's we had a 2-0 lead against the Suns and blew it. So we need to redeem ourselves and get this Phoenix monkey off our backs! But the biggest win will be the game over the Celtics in the finals to rid the demons once and for all......


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