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Friday , Jun , 11 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Praise the bench: Glen Davis and Nate Robinson lead Celtics to game four win over Lakers

Backup Glen "Big Baby" Davis scored half of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Celtics bench as it pulled away from the Los Angeles Lakers to win 96-89 on Thursday night and even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

Game 5 is Sunday night in Boston. The Celtics' win guaranteed them a trip back to Los Angeles and averted a 3-1 deficit that has never been overcome in NBA history.

Kobe Bryant scored 33 points and Pau Gasol had 21 for the Lakers.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Down the stretch, the Boston Celtics needed a spark. And their bench answered the call, winning game four for the green-and-white.

With starters Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo struggling, coach Doc Rivers went with four reserves and first-stringer Ray Allen for most of the fourth quarter.

And this makeshift unit responded in the final frame: Glen Davis tallied 9 of his 18 points; Nate Robinson scored and set up others; Tony Allen forced Kobe Bryant left and made the game's best player work for every point; and Rasheed Wallace's length and physicality eventually wore on Pau Gasol.

Best of all, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Davis, Robinson, and Wallace brought an energy that Boston was missing for most of the game.

The news gets worse for the Los Angeles Lakers: Andrew Bynum sat out the entire second half and only played 12 minutes because of his injured knee.

Bynum's numbers have been mediocre due to his poor health; however, his height and length has given the Celtics problems. Also, with Bynum on-court, Gasol can shift to the four-spot, his natural position.

However, give the Celtics credit. They capitalized on Bynum's absence. And their bench came through in the clutch.

Got thoughts on game four?   

2010 NBA Finals Game 3 – Paul Pierce is going back to Los Angeles.
Thursday , Jun , 10 , 2010 J.N.

2010 NBA Finals Game 3 – Paul Pierce is going back to Los Angeles.

Paul Pierce should have never opened his mouth towards the end of game 2. The Celtics have to pull an LL Cool J by headin’ back to Cali stylin’ and profilin.’ The game was embarrassing for P-Squared. He was to be out done by Ray Allen. He was scorching hot in game 2. He played like a bumbling idiot in game 3. Ray Ray couldn’t hit any type of shot out there. 0-13? That’s bloody awful especially in the NBA Finals at home. I thought he was entering John Starks’ level. I was wrong. He went beyond that.  

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Tuesday , Jun , 08 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lamar gone MIA? How the Lakers find Odom

These have been forgettable games for Lamar Odom, a sixth man gone asunder in the most important series of the season.

The Lakers aren't playing Phoenix any longer, as Odom could definitely attest, the 14 points and 11.8 rebounds he averaged in the Western Conference finals apparently a thing of the past now that the Lakers are playing Boston in the NBA Finals.

Odom had a five-point, five-foul debacle in Game 1 that somehow got worse Sunday in Game 2, when he finished with three points and five fouls in the Lakers' 103-94 loss.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He is the Los Angeles Lakers’ barometer.

When Lamar Odom has his A-game, the Lakers are unbeatable. No other team can bring a versatile, play all five positions type off the bench?

But Odom is somewhat of an enigma. Most of the time, he's brilliant. Some of the time, he disappears.

For instance, former coach and ABC broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy often calls the four-man a top thirty player in the NBA.

At times, such praise is warranted. Last year, he was brilliant as a sixth man for the purple-and-gold. And years ago, he looked like the second coming of Magic Johnson when he led an upstart Miami Heat squad to the second round.

Odom's reputation for going MIA prompted Phoenix Suns star Amar’e Stoudemire to call his 19 point, 19 rebound performance in game one of the Western Conference Finals 'lucky'.

Unfortunately Odom has vanished through the first two games of the NBA Finals (he's averaging a sub par 4 points and 4 rebounds). This doesn’t bode well for the Lakers, so here’s how Coach Jackson fixes the situation:

1) Go to Odom early and often. The coaches must put him in the game no later than half way through the first quarter.

2) Get him involved. Derek Fisher or Kobe Bryant, the veteran leaders, should call a play or two for him in the half court set.

3) ‘Run, Lamar, Run’. Odom needs to use his length and athleticism to score easy points in transition.

4)  Get on the glass. Odom is at his best when grabbing rebounds. The other parts of his game follows suit. 

Got thoughts on how the Lakers get Odom going? 

2010 NBA Finals Game 2 – Jesus Shuttlesworth sets a new record.
Tuesday , Jun , 08 , 2010 J.N.

2010 NBA Finals Game 2 – Jesus Shuttlesworth sets a new record.

Black Jesus was en fuego. How did the Lakers’ defense let this man get hot like that? After game 1, you had to know that the Boston Celtics were not going to play like that again. Ray Allen lit up the NBA world with eight three pointers – NBA Finals record. The certified top 4 point guard in the league, Rajon Rondo, posted up a triple double: 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce played like trash, but the Celtics escaped LA with a win.

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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe Bryant on LeBron James’ free agency: ‘I don’t give a bleep’


"You're asking me if LeBron is going to New York?" Bryant told The Post. "I'm trying to tell you in a polite way, I don't give a [bleep].

"As a fan, it's a big deal," Kobe added. "You're talking about LeBron and Dwyane Wade, it's two huge names changing cities. It alters things drastically in the NBA. But I really don't care about it."


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Kobe Bryant has often been accused of misreading public opinion. This time, however, his opinion is bang on.
The LeBron James free agency sweepstakes are out of control and in overkill mode, forcing fans, media, teams, and even the player in question to act in an irrational and bizarre manner. 
Hopefully, LeBron signs soon after the July 1st market opens and the basketball world can get back to basketball. More and more, the public is starting to feel like Bryant. 
Do you still give a bleep about LeBron's future? Why? Why not?
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Monday , Jun , 07 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Rondo and Ray-Ray knock-out Lakers, Celtics win game two

Ray Allen scored 27 of his 32 points in the first half with a record-setting 3-point shooting display, Rajon Rondo completed a triple-double down the stretch and the Boston Celtics evened the NBA finals with a 103-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 Sunday night.

Allen hit a finals-record eight 3-pointers in a dazzling effort for the Celtics. Rondo then took charge after Allen cooled down, racking up 19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his fifth playoff triple-double to hand Los Angeles its first home loss of the postseason.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They came. They saw. And they got their all important split on the road.

After winning one-of-two games in Staples Center, the Boston Celtics have momentum against the defending champion and heavily favoured Los Angeles Lakers.

There were three reasons Boston turned the table against L.A., and took game two:

1) Obviously, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen had terrific games. Rondo dropped a Jason Kidd like, triple-double, while Allen stretched the defense with an NBA Finals record eight-3 pointers.

2) Rondo, Allen, and the Celtics got points in transition. For instance, the Celtics ran quick pick-and-rolls and pushed the ball, which surprised the Lakers' defense.

3) Boston got back to blue-collar basketball. They ran down loose balls. They set the tempo. And they out-hustled LA. This intensity and effort, led by reserve Glen Davis, was a major reason Kobe Bryant was in foul trouble most of the night.

The next three games of the NBA Finals are in Boston. If the Celtics can keep momentum and hold at home, they may just secure their eighteenth championship banner.   

Got thoughts on game two? Get at us in the comment box.

The Michael Jordan Shadow is more epic than anyone’s existence.
Saturday , Jun , 05 , 2010 J.N.

The Michael Jordan Shadow is more epic than anyone’s existence.

Michael Jordan officially retired back in 1998. The Washington Wizards comeback does not count because there was a ghost in the shell controlling his aging body during the time. With the nth epic battle between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Finals and the mega 2010 Free Agent class signings shortly thereafter, one has to wonder how the MJ shadow became grand and legendary. It’s just frightening how massive this shadow has grown in the shape of a Jump Man.

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Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Will Dan Gilbert let LeBron replace Ferry as Cleveland’s de facto GM?

Danny Ferry is out as general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, choosing not to re-sign his contract that was set to expire in June. The decision comes as a surprise but was made days ago, and complicates the most important offseason in team history.

Ferry's departure Friday after five seasons occurred two weeks after the club fired coach Mike Brown following the team's second-round loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. It also comes as the team is making plans to try to re-sign two-time MVP LeBron James, who will be a free agent next month.


HoopsVibe's Quick Call: It's official. The inmate, LeBron James, is running the asylum -even if he has a foot out the free agent door.

Ferry's firing comes as a surprise because days ago reports indicated the retired forward and owner Dan Gilbert had essentially agreed on an extension.

Apparently, the stumbling block was authority. Ferry rightfully thought a GM needed control over basketball operations. He wasn't prepared to deal with Gilbert or James meddling in personnel decisions.

So he left.

Assistant GM Chris Grant will slide into the big chair in the executive suite. However, it remains to be seen how much authority Grant will have as the new GM.

Expect Gilbert to be very involved this summer. If James resigns, Gilbert and Grant will likely let the superstar pick the new coach and have a large say in all basketball related decisions.

This isn't the way to run a winning organization. For instance, Tim Duncan always defers to coach Gregg Popovich and executive R.C. Buford. The Los Angeles Lakers started winning when Kobe Bryant quit commenting to random fans outside of strip malls about swapping Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd and focused on basketball. And even the great Michael Jordan had little say in the happenings of the Chicago Bulls.

So Gilbert, who doesn't have James' name on a new deal, is taking a risk in re-structuring his entire organization to suit his free agent superstar.

Got thoughts on Ferry leaving the Cavaliers? Let us know in the comment box below.

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Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Why Kobe Bryant really ignored Chris Rock

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: He had nothing.

During a second half timeout in game one of the NBA Finals, comedian Chris Rock, who was lounging in courtside seats next to the Los Angeles Lakers' bench, tried talking smack to Kobe Bryant.

The shooting guard ignored him. It was like Rock - the loudmouth star of critically and commercially successful films like Death at a Funeral, Head of State, and Down to Earth - didn't even exist. 

ABC broadcaster Mark Jackson suggested Bryant was able to tune-out the former Saturday Night Live star because of his incredible focus. And Bryant was certainly in Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight mode. 

However, Bryant has a memory -a very long memory. And perhaps, he had seen Rock's notorious stand-up act (please use your discretion if clicking the link) and was keeping his emotions in check.

Get at us with thoughts in the comment box on Kobe vs. Chris? 

Phil Jackson never loses after winning game one. Vol. 47-0
Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 J.N.

Phil Jackson never loses after winning game one. Vol. 47-0

The Los Angeles Lakers crushed the Boston Celtics in the first game of the NBA Finals, 102-89. Kobe Bryant cleaned up with 30 points on 10-22 shooting (1-2 from three, 9-10 from the line) to go with 7 boards, 6 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and 4 turnovers. Pau Gasol produced 23 points on 8-14 shooting (7-10 from the line) to go with 14 boards (8 offensive), 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 blocks, and 3 turnovers. At one point, the Lakers were up by 20. The most alarming stat is Phil Jackson’s 47-0 perfect record when he leads his team to a game one victory. Wow.

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Friday , Jun , 04 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers bang, bully, and beat up Celtics, win game one

So the Celtics want to play rough again? Kobe Bryant and the Lakers look ready this time around, and they barged into an early lead in the NBA finals.

Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and defending champion Los Angeles got tough in a 102-89 victory over Boston in the NBA finals opener Thursday night.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: After getting banged, bullied, and beaten in the 2008 championship series, the Los Angeles Lakers turned the tables on the Boston Celtics in game one of the 2010 NBA Finals.

The Lakers went inside early and often, using the size of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to grab a half-time lead. Then Kobe Bryant took over with a strong third and fourth quarter to seal an easy win.

However, this game was decided in the middle. The Lakers' bigs showed up. Other than Glen Davis, the Celtics' bigs did not.

For instance, on one sequence in the final frame, Kevin Garnett missed two point blank attempts. The purple-and-gold corralled the rebound, found Gasol on the elbow, who then threw a bullet pass to the lanky Lamar Odom for an easy hoop. 

Boston better get physical on Sunday or they'll head home down 0-2. 

Get at us in the comment box with thoughts on game one of the NBA Finals.     

How can any Western Conference squad defeat Kobe’s Lakers?
Wednesday , Jun , 02 , 2010 J.N.

How can any Western Conference squad defeat Kobe’s Lakers?

This is an intriguing challenge because ever since the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol as a gift from long time former general manager Jerry West, the team is unbeatable. The squad can be beaten in one game because it’s just one game – mad random. In a seven game series, however, no team in the West can knock off the Purple and Gold. I just do not see this happening as long as Kobe Bryant is at his peak running the team. What does a team have to have to be able to defeat them?

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Wednesday , Jun , 02 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Video: Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Lamar Odom, and Phil Jackson talk NBA Finals

HoopsVibe's Quick Call: With several days lag time between the conference finals and championship series, it's understandable if fans are restless.

After all, you've watched numerous panel hits on TNT and NBATV; you've listened to analysts on satellite radio; you've read about match-ups on-line and in newspapers; and you've been tormented by the know-it-all at the office water cooler.

Well, the NBA Finals isn't quite here. However, HoopsVibe News has the next best thing: video of the Los Angeles Lakers talking about their upcoming series with the Boston Celtics.

As usual, watch the clip and get us with thoughts in the comment box below.  

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Monday , May , 31 , 2010 Elijah Abramson

Michael Jordan the hero; Kobe Bryant the anti-hero

Kobe Byrant may be better than Michael Jordan, but the public may not ever let him believe it. The unfortunate truth for Kobe is he can never be Michael because he isn't thought of as likable as Jordan, also the greatest commercial pitchman ever for an athlete. ... "Let's say he does get two more rings," Tim Legler, the former player and now an ESPN analyst, said recently in a telephone interview. "Even if he doesn't win any more MVP awards, he will probably approach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring record. You absolutely can make a valid argument for Kobe being the greatest ever when that happens. "But he will never be revered like Michael Jordan will be revered," Legler added. Link HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Michael Jordan was a hero. Kobe Bryant is the anti-hero. Jordan was one of a kind; an athlete who appealed to men and women, and transcended the NBA. He parlayed that appeal and likeability into a multi-million dollar fortune from sponsors. Bryant is also unique. Fair or not, he's the villian. He's the 'bad guy' at the end of the movie, a select few cheer for, but most cheer against. It's always been this way with Bryant. His fate was sealed at seventeen when he declared himself NBA ready at a press conference, where he donned Bono-esque shades on top of his dome. Months later, he made headlines by ditching his longtime girlfriend to take Moesha/Brandy to the prom. Of course, we've all made mistakes and exercised poor judgement. Problem is, Bryant being in the public eye made himself a target. And by developing into the game's greatest player, he's become its greatest villain, too. Is Bryant the NBA's anti-hero or villain? Get at us with thoughts in the comment box below.  
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Sunday , May , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Video: Why Kobe Bryant ‘will Kill’ Sasha Vujacic

HoopsVibe's Call: It was The Slovenian Elbow.

With the Los Angeles Lakers up 91-76 and on their way to a fourth and decisive victory in the Western Conference Finals, Sasha Vujacic got personal, throwing an elbow at countryman and mortal enemy Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic.

Vujacic and Dragic - both hailing from Slovenia, a tiny republic on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean - often resemble Hollywood socialites with their beef both on-and-off court.

Anyway, the refs caught Vujacic's elbow, assessed a flagrant foul and, suddenly, the Suns had enough energy for a fourth-quarter charge. In a post-game interview with Craig Sager, Kobe Bryant said he would 'kill' The Machine (Vujacic) for such a lapse in judgement.

Check out our grainy video and get at us with thoughts on Vujacic and Dragic's feud.

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Sunday , May , 30 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Kobe and Lakers oust Suns, face Celtics in NBA Finals

Get ready, Boston, for a rematch with Kobe Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant wrapped up a magnificent series with 37 points, Ron Artest added 25 and the Lakers held off the Phoenix Suns 111-103 on Saturday night to win the Western Conference finals.

The Lakers and Celtics, the NBA's premier teams for much of the league's history, will meet in the finals for the 12th time with Game 1 Thursday night in Los Angeles.

"We'll see how much we matured," Bryant said. "They challenged us extremely well in the finals a couple years ago. Now is a chance to see how much we've grown."


HoopsVibe's Quick Call: The Phoenix Suns' zone, fast tempo, and affinity for the three-point shot wasn't enough because the Los Angeles Lakers were simply better and deserved to advance to the NBA Finals.

For instance, the Suns' fourth quarter charge was put out by Kobe Bryant, who nailed two clutch jumpers, even though Grant Hill was playing air tight defense. After sinking the second jumper, Bryant even gave Suns coach Alvin Gentry a friendly tap and stretched his arms in celebration.   

The Lakers will now face the Boston Celtics in a classic finals match-up.

These two teams met in the 2008 NBA Finals, with the Celtics prevailing in six games because of their superior toughness down-low.

The 2010 championship will also be decided in the paint. Expect Boston to try and impose their will with bigs like Glen Davis, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, and Rasheed Wallace, while L.A. will be anxious to show they can mix it up in the middle.

Got thoughts on a Boston-Los Angeles NBA Finals? Come back to HoopsVibe for more Finals coverage.   

The Boston Celtics are still the Beast of the East. Vol. Laker Nation
Saturday , May , 29 , 2010 J.N.

The Boston Celtics are still the Beast of the East. Vol. Laker Nation

The Orlando Magic has been eliminated at the hands of the Big Green Monster, The Boston Celtics. The one thing that is shown during this series is Superman is really Clark Kent. The Green Machine is definitely his Kryptonite. Many experts didn’t count out the Celtics against the Heat in the first round, but the majority counted them out against LeBron and The Cavs. I did not. I was in the minority. They trashed Cleveland and gave some false hope for Orlando before eviscerating them. Give them their due; there is room for old middle aged men.      

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Friday , May , 28 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Goat to hero: Ron Artest wins game five for L.A. Lakers

Ron Artest beat the buzzer with a wild bank shot after rebounding Kobe Bryant's miss, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns 103-101 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Bryant had 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers, but Artest was the improbable hero with just his second basket of the night.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Only in Los Angeles can Ron Artest go from goat to hero in mere moments.

With a minute left and the Lakers up three, Artest could have run time off the clock, but took and missed a deep jump shot.

Phoenix rebounded his miss and Jason Richardson tied the game with three seconds remaining on a desperation, bank shot three-pointer. The lockdown swing, however, redeemed himself by grabbing Bryant's miss, sinking a basket as time expired, and winning game five for the Lakers.

Artest's heroics position the purple-and-gold to advance to the NBA Finals, as they hold home court advantage.

Meanwhile, the Suns return to Phoenix knowing they missed a chance to steal a road game and close out the Western Conference Finals by winning game six at home. 

During a post game interview, Artest had TNT broadcaster Craig Sager shout out his home of Queensbridge.Goats can't get away with such antics, but heroes, like Artest, can.   

Got thoughts on Artest, the Lakers, and the Western Conference Finals? Come back to HoopsVibe News on Friday for more on L.A. and Phoenix.

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Thursday , May , 27 , 2010 Diego Garcia

L.A. Lakers must defend against Phoenix Suns

The Lakers' swagger is more of a stagger after consecutive losses in the Western Conference finals. After leaving town last week to chants of ``We want Boston,'' Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol realize they won't even get the chance to defend their NBA title unless Los Angeles starts defending the Phoenix Suns. Although Gasol says Game 5 on Thursday night is ``a must-win for us,'' the champions' California cool shows few signs of cracking, beyond Bryant's grumbling about missed defensive assignments. Link HoopsVibe's Call:  The Los Angeles Lakers have to get back to defending. Look for the world champions to focus on getting stops, especially since they've struggled with their shooting against the Phoenix Suns' zone. However, the Lakers hold the advantage. They're more talented. And two of the next three games will be played in the friendly confines of Staples Centre. Still, as the Washington Post's Michael Wilbon pointed out last night during TNT's halftime show, these Suns aren't afraid; they can score in the halfcourt and play defense, too (even if it's a zone). One thing is certain: expect a classic finish between L.A. and Phoenix. Got thoughts on game five, six, and possibly seven? Let us know in the comment box below.
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Wednesday , May , 26 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Why the Lakers can’t handle the Suns’ zone

The Los Angeles Lakers were outnumbered and outplayed in the desert.

The Phoenix Suns got a decisive performance from their hustling bench to overcome Kobe Bryant's 38-point, 10-assist performance and beat the Lakers 115-106 in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday night.

A series that looked like a Lakers' breeze a week ago is all even at two apiece heading to Game 5 on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

The Suns reserves, considered an advantage entering the series but largely ineffective through three games, outscored their Lakers counterparts 54-20.


HoopsVibe's Call: The Phoenix Suns are in 'The Zone'. Literally.

The surprising Suns have tied the Western Conference Finals by using a zone defense against the Los Angeles Lakers. There are several reasons the defending world champions have struggled against this unorthodox defense:

-Zone is rarely used in the NBA, especially come playoff time. In fact, for decades zone was banned because it was believed to limit the players' ability to showcase individual talent. The purple-and-gold is out of sync against a defense they've rarely seen.

-The Lakers lack a true point guard. A classic, pass-first table setter can direct the offense and find the holes against a zone. Too often, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Derek Fisher settled for outside shots and allowed teammates to become perimeter players.

-Bryant had a strong game, hitting 15-of-22 shots for 38 points and adding 10 assists and 7 rebounds. However, he couldn't get clean looks against the zone for most of the fourth quarter and Pau Gasol struggled.

-The zone forced the Lakers to play at the Suns' breakneck pace. No team - not even the great Lakers - beats Seven Seconds Or Less when the game becomes a track meet. 

The Suns' zone has made the Western Conference Finals a best-of-three affair. The Lakers must adjust to the zone or another team will be hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy in June.  

What do you think of Phoenix's zone? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.