In this piece we will look at the Western Conference Finals between the LA. Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. We will look at historical situations as well as more recent angles to help us break the series down and gain a better understanding of what to expect, when these 2 explosive teams meet to decide the Western Conference Champion.
The Lakers finished exactly three Games ahead of Phoenix. From 1947 through the 2010 NBA Quarterfinals, when NBA teams led their best-of-7 playoff series opponents by three regular-season Games, they have posted a 13-14 record in all best-of-7 series against those opponents. Not what one would have expected, a team with a better season record with an under.500 record in playoff series action .Looking at each teams historical playoff results we see that Phoenix has a 15-19 series record, a 2-6 Semifinals-round series record, and a 16-18 Game 1 record, while the Los Angeles Lakers have a 64-28 series record having won their last 6. They also have a 24-5 Semifinals-round record again having won their last 6 such series. In all Game ones the Lakers have an impressive 61-31 record, This will be the tenth time these 2 have met in the Playoffs, with the Lakers having won 6 of the 9 series. Then there is the Phil Jackson angle where any team he has coached that has won Game 1 has won 47 straight times.
The Lakers have a huge size advantage in this Game with Gasol, Odom and Bynum. Phoenix has A. Stoudamire, but he may have trouble staying out of foul trouble when the Lakers throw the ball down into their bigs. Bynum has a partial meniscus tear that will limit him. However he has been practicing and is willing to play through the pain. Phoenix may also have a hard time playing half cOurt with the Lakers, Los Angeles plays much better defense that Phoenix does. The Suns have tried to be more defensive minded this season with coach Gentry. However to beat the Lakers they may need to play their old run and gun style to keep the Lakers off balance. Coach Jackson is better equipped to make adjustments as the series goes along that his counter part Coach Gentry. On the perimeter K. Bryant should have an easier time scoring that in the 2 prior series. Phoenix as usual will be led by S.Nash who has not needed to play major minutes now that the Suns bench has improved. In fact the bench is where Phoenix will have their best advantage in this series as they have more depth than that of the Lakers. Phoenix will need their bench to play well especially on the road.
Looking at some potential scoring angles in this series we see that Phoenix is a lousy 1-11 both straight up and ats on the road when they Score90 or less the past few years. This happened to them once this season in a road loss to the Lakers where they could only manage 88 points. On the plus side the Suns are 37-5 straight up and against the spread when shooting 50% or higher and 27-1 at home with 23 spread covers if they Score110 or more, winning by an average 118-101 score. The Lakers are 11-1 at home when they Score110 or more and have played over the total all 12 times. Look for some of these potentially profitable scenarios as the series moves forward. In the season series the Lakers won 3 of the 4 Games. In both home Games they won by more than 19 points. In Phoenix the teams split out. Phoenix had a solid 15 point win and the Lakers won the last Game between the two team here by 6 points. In the end I look for the Lakers to win in six, as they have too much fire power for the Suns and a better coach. Take the Lakers to make it to the NBA Finals for the second straight year, and good LUck with all your post season wagers.