14 February 2007

Go Suns!

Have I given up on my beloved Lakers?

No, but they haven't won a game since my last post on them, so let's talk about how terrific those Phoenix Suns are.

(you know, the old trick about talking about a kicker's perfect PAT attempt streak just before an important kick, just so he'll miss)

The Suns are running away with the Pacific Division, the Lakers not only look incapable of catching the Suns, but capable of slipping out of the 6 seed, so they'd have to face either the Suns or the Mavericks in the first round of the NBA's 'real' season.

The Suns have piled up some impressive win streaks this season, and enjoy an insurmountable ten game lead in the Pacific Division.

Dallas is having an excellent year, as well, so it seems unlikely that they'll get the 1 seed throughout the playoffs, but being #2 isn't bad.

They have a sufficiently secure spot in the upper half of the playoff draw that they can limit the minutes of their top players over March and early April and not effect their positioning adversely.

Steve Nash needs to be 100% for Phoenix to succeed when it counts, and he will be. Another 2 versus 7 match up against the Lakers could be real interesting come playoff time, though.

As it turns out, all the teams likely to be in the bottom 3 spots of the Western Conference playoff draw present match-up problems.

If they get a healthy Lakers team in the first round again, watch out. That will be an epic 7 game series whichever team wins.

If they get Denver, AI and Melo ought to be able to have figured out how to play with each other by then, and having AI force Nash to play defense, will limit his effectiveness on offense.

If they get the Clippers, they've been inconsistent this year, but they have the talent, size, and strength to beat any other team in the league over a 7 game series, but only if they conquer the mental lapses and lack of fire that have plagued them all season.

So Phoenix's reward for an excellent regular season will likely be a very difficult first round match-up against a team with equally athletic and versatile but stronger players whose main disadvantage will be not playing alongside the greatest facilitator in the game today.

Will Nash be enough to get this team deep into the playoffs?

Will their opponent be able to exploit Phoenix's lack of defense?

Will Nash be 100%?

Will Nash be robbed of an MVP this year because of 2 less deserving awards previously?

Won't know until April.

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