We gotta admit, even we jumped the gun about a week ago, all but booking the Lakers’ ticket into the 2010 NBA Finals. But with the Suns taking care of business at home in last night’s Game 4, the Western Conference Finals is now tied up, Steve Nash and Co. have all the momentum, Kobe is frustrated, and the guys in purple and gold look like a college team unable to figure out a simple zone defense. Kobe might want to break out his Team USA phone book before Game 5, hit up Jim Boeheim and talk about how to attack the zone … The Suns were up one going into the fourth quarter, before their bench put the game away with an 18-3 run against the L.A. starters. While Leandro Barbosa (14 pts), Channing Frye (14 pts) and Jared Dudley (11 pts) were sticking threes, Lou Amundson (7 pts, 7 rebs) held down the middle and Goran Dragic (8 pts, 8 asts) ran the show. Meanwhile, the Lakers offense during that run was too much Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom and not enough Kobe and Pau Gasol. Dragic’s spinning, right-hand circus layup put L.A. on the ropes, then Nash, Amar’e (21 pts, 8 rebs) and Grant Hill checked back in to deliver the knockout punches … Kobe put up 38 points, 7 boards and 10 dimes, but didn’t get his first bucket of the fourth quarter until there was about 2:30 remaining and L.A. was already down by nine. From there he put together a run where scored seven of the team’s last 12 points, but his missed free throw that would have cut the lead to six with 1:30 to go was kind of the Lakers’ last good chance at stealing a win … Frye picked the perfect time to finally show up. Of all the “system players” who have come through Phoenix in the Nash era, Frye seems like the luckiest one. Everything about this system works for him; on offense he just has to stand outside the arc and take open shots, and the zone D allows him to almost look like a solid defender. Frye had a breakout year in Phoenix and theoretically has set himself up for a raise, but we’re thinking he’ll go ahead and take his $2 million player option for next season just to stay in this basketball heaven … Anybody else notice how much Alvin Gentry sounds like Mr. Mackey from South Park? Here’s a sample of his miked-up segments: “We’ve gotta keep playing hard, mmmkay? Don’t lose focus, mmmkay? They’re not gonna give it to us, we’ve gotta take it, mmmkay?” … Dime #57 is out. John Wall covers our second annual NBA Draft Preview issue, which also includes Evan Turner, DeMarcus Cousins, Xavier Henry and the rest of the relevant people and story lines leading up to June 24, including the breakdown of Sylven Landesberg‘s pre-draft workout regimen. As for the pros, Odom, Birdman and Rudy Gay are among those featured in the issue. Pick it up on newsstands this week … We’re out like L.A.’s Finals reservation …
Smack / May 26, 2010 / 1:26 am
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