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Category: Steve Nash

Caught in the Web: Previewing Game 5 of Lakers-Suns series

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Lakers links

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan highlights the Lakers' success in must-win playoff situations.

--The Times' Lisa Dillman explains what's gotten Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson so upset with the team's defense.

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande outlines why the Lakers feel they're in a good position.

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr offers various reasons why the Lakers played better at home this series.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding explains why the Lakers should savor the championship experience.

--ESPN.com's John Hollinger explains how the Lakers can win a "wild West shootout" (insider subscription required).

--Fox Sports' Randy Hill predicts Jackson will field plenty of offers from other teams this offseason.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky details the Lakers' confidence.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's David Lassen showcases the Lakers' recent successes in Game 5.

--Yahoo! Sports' Johnny Ludden credits Bryant for imploring his teammates to take the Suns seriously.

--Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix breaks down five things to watch in Game 5.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi argues the Lakers are playing soft against Phoenix.

--Even though he believes the Lakers will win Game 5, the Orange County Register's Jeff Miller argues that the Suns can still win the series.

--The Orange County Register's Marcia Smith highlights reader feedback regarding Jackson's stance on immigration.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford notices some trends in the Lakers' seven-game winning streak in Game 5s during the last three playoff runs.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius breaks down how the Lakers can sharpen up on defense.

--Silver Screen and Roll's Saurav A. Das assesses the Lakers' ability to produce in the clutch.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell outlines how Bryant's improved health has affected his play.

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Suns links

--The Times' Broderick Turner observes that Phoenix has renewed confidence after tying the series. Turner also credits Alvin Gentry's coaching in helping the Suns get back in the series.

--The Times' Mark Heisler praises Steve Nash's toughness.

--The Arizona Republic's Dan Bickley shows how the Suns' success has brought the state together.

--NBA.com's Fran Blinebury argues that the Suns' zone has added a new wrinkle to the West finals match-up

--The Arizona Republic's Paola Boivin features the appreciation the Suns' starters have for their bench.

--NBA.com's Art Garcia breaks down the Suns' zone defense with former NBA coach Don Casey.

--Fox Sports Arizona's Dave Lumia credits Gentry for helping the Suns sharpen their chemistry.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne explains why Suns don't pay attention to the outside skepticism.

--The Arizona Republic's Bob Young argues that the series has shifted. He also explains why Channing Frye has enjoyed the playoff run.

--Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg documents how the Suns found the right mix in a playoff-caliber team.

--Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen points to the Suns' bench and three-point shooting as the keys Phoenix must master to win Game 5.

--NBA Fanhouse's Chris Tomasson argues that the Suns' key to beating the Lakers doesn't necessarily involve just shutting down Bryant.

--Valley of the Suns' Michael Schwartz lists five things Phoenix must to do win the West finals.

Web Interview

I discussed the Lakers-Suns series in the video below with Don Best TV host Pat Williams.

Tweet of the Day: U know the Lakers are goin to come out focus tonight ... I remember game 5 vs the thunder ... they scored everything in the paint ... Gotta be ready" -- JaredDudley619 (Phoenix Suns reserve forward Jared Dudley)

Reader Comment of the Day: "I'm sure LA will hit more shots at home, but it remains to be seen whether LA can keep up their defense against a PHX team that has yet to shoot well in this series" -- BUTLER

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Upper photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom, right, battles with Phoenix forward Amare Stoudemire for a rebound during Game 4 on Tuesday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lower photo: Suns guard Jason Richardson leaps into the crowd after trying to keep the ball in play during Game 4 on Tuesday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Caught in the Web: Previewing Game 4 of Lakers-Suns series

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Lakers links

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan explains how the Lakers plan to attack the Suns' zone defense.

--The Times' Broderick Turner details the Lakers' second-quarter breakdown in Game 3.

--ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reports that the Chicago Bulls have reached out to Phil Jackson.

--Yahoo! Sports Johnny Ludden believes it's in the Lakers' best interests to rest Andrew Bynum in Game 4.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Matt Calkins discusses why the Lakers plan to play Bynum in Game 4.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding focuses on how the Lakers plan to sharpen their offensive execution.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky discuss the Lakers' Game 3 loss, Amare Stoudemire's improved play, Phoenix's improved defense and a look ahead to Game 3 in their latest podcast.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin credits the Lakers for taking an even-keel approach to the loss.

--The Orange County Register's Jeff Miller highlights Derek Fisher's physical play.

--Fox Sports' Charley Rosen wonders how the Lakers will respond to Phoenix's zone in Game 4.

--Sports Illustrated's Dan Shaughnessy is looking forward to a Lakers-Celtics Finals showdown.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford examines the Lakers' decision not to rest center Bynum in Game 4.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell has a complete practice report from Tuesday's practice.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius documents what mental adjustments the Lakers need to make in Game 4.

--Silver Screen and Roll's DexterFishmore previews Game 4.

Suns links

--The Times' Turner highlights Phoenix's willingness to play zone again in Game 4.

--The Times' Mark Heisler showcases how Stoudemire's inconsistency leaves his future with Phoenix in doubt.

--ESPN.com's J.A. Adande points to the Suns' loose and fun demeanor as a big reason they have stayed in contention with the Lakers.

--The Arizona Republic's Dan Bickley argues that Robin Lopez serves as Phoenix's missing link.

--The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore illustrates how Lopez's contributions caught the Lakers off guard.

--The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro details how the Sun's zone defense caught the Lakers off guard.

--NBA.com's Art Garcia credits the Suns for increasing their intensity in Game 3.

--The Arizona Republic's Doug Haller reports Channing Frye will remain in the Suns' rotation.

--The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Greg Patton argues that it doesn't matter if zone defenses are "manly," so long as they work.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne credits Suns General Manager Steve Kerr for assembling the team's current roster.

--The Daily News' Teaford observes that Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry became rather defensive about his team's zone defense.

--The Arizona Republic's Bob Young showcases Steve Nash's heavy tolerance for pain.

--Valley of the Suns' Mike Schmitz breaks down the Suns' zone defense.

Radio Interview

I discussed the Lakers' Game 3 loss to Phoenix with Sports Nutz's Mike Pilosof and Michael Gay on Z-92/K-101-FM (based in Woodward, Oklahoma).

Tweet of the Day: "If Phil was to return to Chicago who should coach the Lakers? Kobe player coach" -- Rickafox (Former Laker Rick Fox).

Reader Comment of the Day: "I'm glad Bynum is going to play. The high/low game of his and Pau's will be just the recipe that we need to kill the zone." -- Rocky

-- Mark Medina

twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Suns power forward Amare Stoudemire (background) grabs a rebound from Lakers forwards Lamar Odom (7) and Ron Artest (37) in the first half of Game 3 on Sunday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Suns still feel good about themselves

Stevenash_300 The Phoenix Suns lost the first two Western Conference finals playoff games to the Lakers in Los Angeles.

The Suns allowed an average of 126 points in those games.

They are in an 0-2 hole with Game 3 on Sunday night at US Airways Center.

The Suns have had three days off to prepare for the Lakers and to get their minds straight for the task ahead.

"We feel good," Suns guard Steve Nash said after practice Saturday. "We didn't feel so good coming home from L.A. But we've had a day or so to get our energy back. We feel positive and optimistic and we're just excited that we have the opportunity to play better to try and get a win."

-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Phoenix

Photo: Suns point guard Steve Nash talks to the media after practice Saturday. Credit: Matt York / Associated Press

Steve Nash: Traveling man?

Nash_300 Carry on wayward point guard.

Or something like that.

The back-and-forth between the Suns’ Steve Nash and Lakers Coach Phil Jackson has been one of the more amusing subplots in the seemingly endless lead-in to the Western Conference finals, which start, mercifully, on Monday at Staples Center.

(Of note, Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum did not practice on Sunday, but Bryant did do some shooting before the full-on scrimmage.)

Back to Jackson and Nash. A refresher: On Friday, Jackson was asked if it was difficult in practice to simulate playing against Nash.

“Yeah, because you can’t carry the ball like he does in practice,” Jackson said. “Can’t pick that ball up and run with it.”

The  Lakers’ Pau Gasol had an interesting response when asked if he agreed with Jackson.

“Well, a lot of players kind of carry the ball,” Gasol said on Sunday. “They just hold it a lot. If all the carries were called, if all the traveling were called … there would be more long boring ... more of a game.”

Idle thought: No, we do not need those TNT games to get any LONGER.

Gasol added of Nash: “I don’t think he carries the ball that excessively or as noticeable as other players do.”

Another idle thought: The Lakers’ practice HQ happens to be on Nash Street in El Segundo. Hmmm ... street already named after Steve Nash and they haven’t played a game yet.

--Lisa Dillman

Photo: Suns point guard Steve Nash protects the ball from Spurs guard George Hill during their series last week. Credit: Eric Gay / Associated Press

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