Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Zoned Out and Going Back to Staples

I'm calm like a bomb although the people of the Sun are making rage against this college machine Phoenix is running.

The Lakers just looked awful against a college defense with an intense college-style crowd behind them. As a team, you should be insulted that the bench dominated Game 4 and ashamed that you can't show why the zone defense was illegal in the NBA until recently.

And yet, I'm calm. Calm because I know that the Lakers will win Game 5 on Thursday. Phoenix's shots won't fall as easily and the Lakers will hit a few more.

But it's time to know your enemy. Alvin Gentry has made the best coaching adjustment of the postseason and it's time for Phil Jackson to show his smarts by not sending his team back into battle with the same plan.

The 2-3 zone has exposed the Lakers' lack of a point guard who cant attack it (hence why you don't see teams running it) and when that happens, people rely on the jump shot. You don't beat a zone by passing around it and trying to shoot corner 3's, you attack it with screens and rotate to the openings.

The reason the NBA didn't allow it was because NBA players could easily pick it apart with great shooting, screen-and-rolls, exploiting the open spaces with mid-range jumpers or penetrating to draw a double team. Give a team a great point guard and it gets shredded like government cheese (see Kobe's back to back games with 10 assists).

Of course in today's NBA, the midrange J is a lost art but with all the great PG's we see now, there's no way a team should be getting beat by it.

It says something when Lamar Odom has a double/double, Andrew Bynum has a decent game, Kobe has 38 and 10 and the team still loses. Way too much outside shooting and an invisible bench - just the opposite of what Phoenix did.

I'll say this on record. I have NEVER seen a bench stay in a game that late in the fourth quarter except in a blowout. That was one of the best collective bench performances I've seen and Goran Dragic just might be the best backup PG in the game as far as how well he fills in for Nash with the same style.

The Suns can sleep now in the fire because when they wake up, they'll see why home cooking doesn't work on the road. This is on Phil Jackson to prepare his team better and find some way to adjust because even though it's not panic time, Phoenix doesn't have pressure on them.

And for the love of Purple and Gold, somebody please attack this zone and shred it. At least Boston will play like us men but the "girly defense" should have the Lakers just as pissed as Kobe looked in his press conference.

Revenge comes Thursday.

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