Tue May 25 07:00pm EDT
One of the things that tends to draw a chuckle, since the Suns grabbed Game 3 of this series with a zone-heavy defensive attack, was the supposed way the Lakers were going to be able to adjust to the zone "after a day of practice." Yes, this is the stuff that makes me chuckle. No, I don't go to many movies, why do you ask?
Practice? People, the Lakers knew what to do on Sunday. There's absolutely nothing that the Los Angeles coaching staff could have tossed their way yesterday or today that spurred them toward a greater realization of how to deal with the Phoenix 2-3. There's no doubt that the team went over quirks and options, ready for that floating D; but Phil Jackson and co. weren't telling this team anything they hadn't already heard. Anything they hadn't already executed.
This isn't a long way of telling you that the Lakers, flush with knowledge, are going to romp in Game 4. Even if they make all the right moves, the Suns are a formidable opponent. What worries me is NBA history, and how us chuckle-to-crying jag-types are going to handle it.
Because all the signs point to a heartbreak game. You know the type of series that I'm talking about.
Home team takes the first two, takes them strong, takes them in a dominant turn. The underdogs score a mini-triumph in Game 3, giving you all the signs in time to tell you that they can hang with the favorites. Then the favorites win, on the road, in Game 4. Breaking everyone's hearts. Someone like Derek Fisher(notes) hits a shot, late, and Doug Collins acts like you've never heard of this guy before. Did you know he has a propensity for hitting big shots? His third make in nine tries, sure, but did you hear that one? How he saves it for the final minute? Gonna miss ya, Doug.
Then we get the "one day at a time speech" from the losers, even though you know they're dead behind the eyes, they manage to hang tough in Game 5 on the road (giving you just enough to believe), and the favorite ends up finishing the game on a 22-5 run that gives them a 12-point victory and the series. It's out there. It's happened.
Hopefully it doesn't happen tonight. In a postseason full of nasty surprises, here's hoping for a pleasant one that makes my dour retellings look archaic and far too pessimistic. Comment away, have fun with it.