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LCB Hoops Picks: Western Conference Finals

May 17, 2010



Tonight the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns kickoff the Western Conference Finals, a rematch of the 2005 and 2006 playoffs that is sure to be an exciting series. In order to get you ready for this battle of would-be rivals, Langston is back to give you his breakdown and prediction.


Throughout the playoffs I have shared with you my lack of understanding for the Lakers talent level. With the Suns entering the picture, it's getting worse. The thing that makes it difficult to determine their level of play is the teams they've both knocked out in the playoffs. The Lakers struggled against the eighth seeded Thunder, but that was a team that managed to win 50 games and has superstar Kevin Durant in their lineup. Then they swept a fifth seeded 53-win Jazz team, who were without Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko for much of the series. The Suns on the other hand struggled against a Blazers team that won 50 games, got the sixth seed, and were playing with their talented leader Brandon Roy hobbled by a bad knee. Then they got the seventh seeded Spurs, a veteran hall-of-famer filled lineup that won 50 games while giving Antonio Mcdyess and Matt Bonner huge minutes in the paint. They both looked great against the 50+ win teams they've played, but all of those teams were dealing with injuries and/or a lack of depth. So how good are these teams really? I have no idea, but that's the beauty of the playoffs, we actually get to find out.


(1) Los Angeles Lakers v. (3) Phoenix Suns:
If you read yesterday's preview of the Eastern Conference Finals, you'll know I believe the three key factors to winning a series are rebounding, turnover ratio, and bench play. On top of that, you'll understand that I believe there is a key match-up that can swing the balance of power in either direction. For the Suns and Lakers series, it's the play of Jason Richardson and Lamar Odom.

We can be guaranteed that the Phoenix Suns' stars, Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire, will do their thing on the offensive side night in-and-out. However, Jason Richardson is more of an enigma, he can go off for twenty or get lost in the action. Since the studs will get their's no matter what defensive scheme the Lakers throw at them, if Richardson can get over 20 points it will be an added bonus that will most assuredly bury the Lakers. If not, the Suns will be forced to look elsewhere for those dagger points and could be the sign of trouble. As for the Lakers, they have their own studs that can be counted on to do damage nightly but they have different concerns. With Andrew Bynum's knee getting worse by the minute, Lamar Odom will be looked at to contribute more on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. When LO plays big, the Lakers are almost unstoppable. When he doesn't the Lakers can still win, however it makes it much more unlikely considering he will be counted on as a part-time starter this series. In the end, I see Jason Richardson struggling with Kobe and Ron-Ron taking turns guarding him, Lamar reminding us why he's so vital to the team's success, and the Lakers taking the series in six games.

6 comments:

Langston said...

Awesome game last night, but I've noticed something with the TV coverage throughout the playoffs. On questionable and missed calls, TNT and ESPN have not been showing the replay. They're showing the plays that the refs take a second look at but that's it. I was just wondering if I was the only to notice this?

May 18, 2010 at 11:36 AM
Teach said...

I noticed it during the Spurs-Mavs series, but wrote it off as a way to either appease or rile Cuban

May 18, 2010 at 6:11 PM
Russ said...

This needed to be posted somewhere.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2606/4176133259_4529a5f635.jpg

May 18, 2010 at 8:46 PM
Iceman, AD said...

Someone needs photoshop a gun, a crackpipe, and a knee brace into that picture....good luck Wiz.

May 19, 2010 at 10:53 PM
Russ said...

Random thought: Anybody interested in watching Strasburg's first game? Looks like the second week in June probably during the week but he probably will have a weekend start later in the week as well. I am not even a Nats fan and I hyped about this.

May 20, 2010 at 8:44 PM
Teach said...

I might be. I can't say at the moment if I can make it. It really depends on what the exact day is.

May 20, 2010 at 10:54 PM

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