April 2006 - Posts
Game 2 of the Suns/Lakers playoff series tips off tonight and there's little doubt that this game will look much different than Game 1 did in Phoenix. Kobe Bryant and coach Phil Jackson thought the Lakers had the best chance if Kobe helped get the other players involved in the offense. While it worked pretty good, it didn't get them the win and Kobe's not too happy about it. I expect to see Bryant take a larger role in the offense and resume his ball-hogging style that we've all become accustomed to. I like Kobe, so that's not really a stab at him... it's the truth. Other than Lamar Odom, the rest of the team kind of stinks.
The Suns will be trying to take a 2-0 lead in the series heading to Los Angeles for games 3 & 4. I look for Nash to be more involved in the offense (more than just the 1st quarter this time), and for Tim Thomas to struggle a lit bit more than he did in Game 1, when he scored 21 pts and rarely missed any shots.
In related news, information has leaked that Steve Nash will likely get his 2nd consecutive league MVP award in the next few days.
It was announced yesterday that Mavs rookie coach Avery Johnson won Coach of the Year, and deservedly so. Kudos to Mike Dunleavy in Los Angeles for getting the Clippers into the playoffs, but Johnson really changed a primarly offensive team into a defense-first team. My other 2005-2006 award picks are here... (didn't pick a coach - oops).
The Phoenix Suns begin the 2005-2006 NBA Playoffs on Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers or Sacramento Kings (it's in the Lakers hands tonight.). Despite missing Amare Stoudemire for all but 3 games this year, and without Kurt Thomas for a good part of the season, the Suns will go into the playoffs w/ the #2 seed as Pacific Division champs.
Either opponent that the Suns have to face is going to present problems and may lead to a long series. The Kings have played well against the Phoenix all year and are playing extremely well right now. Of course, LA has Kobe Bryant - enough said.
Award Winners (My choices)
MVP - Steve Nash
6th Man - Mike Miller
Defensive Player - Bruce Bowen
Most Improved - Boris Diaw
It sounds like Amare Stoudemire will not return to the court again this year. The latest news indicates that STAT will undergoe arthroscopic surgery on his right knee this week. This is not the same knee he had microfracture surgery on in October (was left knee). It would seem that all the added pressure he's added to the right knee in his attempt to come back has actually caused it to break down.
“In addition to the inflammation in his calves and thighs, MRIs showed Amaré Stoudemire had a fluid buildup, known as a Baker’s cyst, on the back of the right knee, which is another possible source of the pain he experienced Monday night before halting his comeback attempt.“ - Jerry Brown, Easy Valley Tribune
I guess it's better to know now that Amare will not return - this should allow the guys on the court to focus on winning instead of wondering if Stoudemire will be back. Click here for previous Amare Stoudemire injury reports.
The Suns still have a decent chance to make a run in the playoffs with their current lineup. They are faster & can put up more points than any other team in the league. If the defense can step up for them against the Mavs and Spurs in the later rounds of the playoffs, I think they could make it to the NBA Finals.
In game news, the Suns will try and clinch the Pacific Division title this week. They play the Los Angeles Clippers tonight, so they should be able to rap it up with a win.