Oh, the Poetry: Lakers vs. Suns in Western Conference Finals

Alex BudaContributor IMay 15, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10:  Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns laughs with Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at the Staples Center on December, 10 2008 in Los Angeles, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Two familiar foes batting at the top stage of the Western Conference.

With both teams having a history of long battles, bitter altercations, and messy comments towards one another, it appears as though it's only fair to end the Western Conference this season with the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns.

During the first round of the 2006 NBA Playoffs, the Suns eliminated the Lakers in seven games after fighting back from a 3-1 deficit in the series.

During that series, altercations broke out several times in Game One, Kobe Bryant dunked in Steve Nash's face in Game Two as the Lakers pulled a late-game lead, then the Lakers won again in Game Three back in Los Angeles.

Game Four needed a high-flying layup to send it into overtime and a game-winning shot by Bryant to squeeze out a 3-1 series lead.

The Suns blew the Lakers out in Game Five where Raja Bell famously clotheslined Bryant out of frustration from previous plays.

In Game Six, Tim Thomas hit a three to send the game into overtime where the Suns handed the Lakers another loss to send the series to Phoenix for a Game Seven.

In that game, the Lakers were blown out of the building by 31 points where the crowd shouted, "Kobe sucks."

Lets take it to the first round of the 2007 playoffs, where the Lakers were struggling after the All-Star break, breaking out into several losing streaks and finishing 42-40, the Suns eliminated the Lakers in five games.

But times have changed in such a small period of time as the Lakers are a completely different team. Since the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol, they are 7-2 against the Suns with the only two loses coming in Phoenix.

The Suns have always had a problem with guarding the paint against big players, and as Kwame Brown was able to be somewhat dominate in that 2006 series, it's safe to say that they don't have to be good players to give the Suns trouble.

So what happens when they do play against good big players?

They are in even bigger trouble.

What makes Gasol so problematic for the Suns is that not only can he play the paint and post-up their players, he is an extremely good playmaker and can pass the ball.

Then, to make matters worst, Andrew Bynum is the strong force for the Lakers that can simply put the Suns away.

Regardless, the Lakers will win this series, the margin of victory and number of games will be determined by Bynum's dominance.

Where the Suns give the Lakers the most trouble is the "pick and roll" and fast-break points.

As anyone who has been watching the Lakers play since the post-Shaq era can tell you, the Lakers can't guard the "pick and roll" even if the opposing point guard were to tell the Lakers what his moves will be.

This is why the Charlotte Bobcats have easily topped the Lakers in recent years, but that's another article we'll concern ourselves with later.

Stopping the Suns from getting out on the open floor will have to come from the Lakers getting back on defense.

This series will be similar to the Oklahoma City series except, instead an inexperienced Russell Westbrook running the show, we got Steve Nash.

Bryant has expressly mentioned how badly he wants to beat the Suns over past postseason woes, and with his new-found team, there is no stopping him.

There is no mercy.


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