Apr 13: After defeating the Utah Jazz 4-0 the Lakers arrived to the Western Conference for the third year in a row. They will face the Phoenix Suns who swept the San Antonio Spurs.
It will be the perfect opportunity for the Lakers to take revenge from recent previous eliminations since the Suns sent them home in 2006 and 2007. Of course it was before the arrival of Pau Gasol.
And talking about Pau Gasol, the Lakers biggest advantage is their size difference, as it has happened in the previous series. Amare Stoudemire is the Suns focal point in the paint but he's really a power forward and Gasol, Bynum (if he is available) and Lamar Odom present a matchup problem for any rival. The Suns best qualities are their speed and precision and their three point accuracy. And all starts and ends with Steve Nash, who is playing great and has led his team to where nobody though he was capable of this season.
But the Suns will also have to play against two excellent perimeter defenders in Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest, and Nash will have to work against a Derek Fisher who arrives with his confidence higher than ever. And as it happens in every game played by the Lakers, Kobe's performance will be determinant. If he's inspired, making the right decisions about when to be on attack mode and when to be a facilitator, things will be hard for Phoenix.