The first round of the playoffs in the Western Conference was really exciting especially in the first round. One of the best matchups featured the Phoenix Suns
against the Los Angeles Lakers. In a battle of evenly matched teams, the Suns pulled out a win in Game 7 of the series. Here is why the Suns were able to beat Kobe and the Lakers.
This past year Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson who coached the Bulls and Lakers to NBA championships decided to sign up to coach the Lakers once again after he was offered around $10 million a year by owner Jerry Bus to coach the team. Phil had said that he would deliver his team to the playoffs and as always, he made good on his guarantee and got the Lakers the 7th spot in the playoffs. To top it all off, the Lakers almost and should have beaten the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs.
The series was really weird for Kobe Bryant who had a monster season and averaged more than 30 points per game and led the league in scoring. The supporting cast surrounding Bryant was not that strong but Lamar Odom played the role of a sidekick and did a great job of it in the playoffs and regular season. Odom is also a very underrated players and he had many games in which he averaged a double double in points and rebounds from his small forward position. Odom has great size, strength, quickness, shooting, passing and scoring ability. He is a complete player and often during the regular season Kobe would take too many shots instead of letting Odom shoot his share of shots.
In the playoffs coach Phil Jackson worked his magic and for the first two games of he series Kobe’s scoring numbers were down but he was getting his teamates involved in the action and they were being fery productive. The Lakers jumped out to a 3 to 1 series lead and looked poised to win the series. However the Suns led by MVP Steve Nash won three straight games including a tough Game 6 at Los Angeles and won the series. The series was very disappointing for the Lakers who looked like they would win the series. Afterall, Phil Jackson in his entire career had never lost a first round playoff series until this one.
The problems for the Lakers were that the Suns coach Mike D’Antonio made the adjustments to stop Kobe and his supporting cast. For the later games in the series, the supporting cast of Kobe decreased in their scoring and as a result Kobe shot the ball more and missed more and his teammates were not involved in the game.
The Suns have a very good team led by Nash and Sean Marion who is an excellent player who can shoot the deep 3 pointer, drive to the hoop and grab a lot of rebounds. The run-and-gun style of the Suns wore down the Lakers and the Suns, with their successful 3 point shooting from Marion and Raja Bell was able to win a decisive game 7 in the series.