The Phoenix Suns take on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game One of the Western Conference Finals, Monday, May 17th, 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT.
The defending champions Los Angeles Lakers are looking to win back-to-back NBA titles, but first they must get past Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns.
The Lakers have won 57 games this season, that is the best in the very tough Western conference.
Despite that there have been some worries about the Lakers, like Ron Artest has not been the same Ron Artest of old, and the rest of the Lakers' supporting cast has not looked like a supporting cast that helped win a title a season ago.
But the Lakers have still been able to win despite a banged up Kobe Bryant leading the way.
But now, the Lakers have two knees to worry about.
First, is Andrew Bynum's knee, who said that his knee is getting worse each day.
The second knee belongs to Kobe Bryant, which has been drained, and forced him to miss practice on Monday.
So their are two concerns for the Lakers, but Phoenix has their concerns as well.
Whether or not Robin Lopez will play tonight, and how will Nash play with after getting hit in the eye by Tim Duncan.
The Phoenix Suns have come along way.
At the beginning of last season, the Suns traded Raja Bell and Boris Diaw for Jason Richardson, which at the time made no sense and some Phoenix fans questioned Steve Kerr's knowledge as an NBA GM.
But so far, Kerr has looked like a genius.
The Suns are in the Western Conference Finals, and you can give a lot of credit to Jason Richardson.
The Suns have also played good (wait for it...wait for it...WAIT FOR IT) defense and that is surprising considering that the Suns haven't been a real good defensive team in the past (especially in playoffs).
Lakers Keys to the Game
Lakers Bench, it's time to "step your game up."
A year ago, the Lakers bench was one of the best benches in the NBA. But this season, the bench has been anything but, especially in the regular and postseason.
That can not happen if you want to beat the (new) Phoenix Suns.
So guys like, Luke Walton, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Lamar Odom are going to have to step it up a notch.
Play Unselfish Basketball
Back in the day, the Lakers were Showtime! They were arguably the most exciting team in NBA history.
One of the most exciting thing about those Lakers was NOT that they scored a lot of points, but HOW they scored a lot of points.
Magic Johnson was leading the way. He was racking up the assists, and the Lakers were just unstoppable.
But the Lakers today are not as unselfish as the Lakers of the past.
Now I know they are 15th in assists, but I think they need to be a little bit better. I have seen Derek Fisher (not Magic Johnson) way too many times just shoot without even looking for a pass.
That needs to change the Lakers need to pass the ball more effectively. Don't just dump it off to Kobe and move out the way.
But try to make sure everybody touches the ball.
Suns Keys to the Game
Jason Richardson is the key and he will have to shut down Kobe Bryant.
Kobe will take 20 to 25 shots, and J-Rich needs to make sure that he can't even make half of those shots.
Richardson will also need to go off like he did against the Blazers in the first round.
Kobe is banged up and will not be able to move as fast on the court like he usually does, which will make the Lakers vulnerable. Jason Richardson will need to be attack more now that Bryant knee is injured.
Prediction: Lakers 108, Suns 103
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