Los Angeles Lakers: Louis Amundson
Oh, for the carefree feeling of five days gone by, when the Lakers were storming through Phoenix and headed for the Finals like Godzilla tearing through the streets of Tokyo. Life for fans was easy. It was good. It was free of stomach acid and ulcers.
Now, not so much. After consecutive losses to the Suns in the desert, the Western Conference finals are tied at two with Game 5 coming tonight at Staples. By now, many of your more prominent storylines are well known -- Amare Stoudemire's resurgence, L.A.'s issues with the zone (and the 60 threes they shot against it in Games 3 and 4), and the breakdowns for the Lakers defensively.
But there are still more questions to be asked as we all gear up for tonight's game. Here are four:
1. The Lakers won twice in convincing fashion, but then were skunked in Phoenix. Is this just another example of a team lacking killer instinct?
Not really. Most pundits looked at this series and figured it would be long and hard fought, myself included (I predicted the Lakers in a tight six). Some picked the Suns to win. So it seems we -- and by that I mean a healthy majority of media and fans alike -- changed our collective minds and decided after Games 1 and 2 the Suns were cooked.
We tend to overreact to the natural ebbs and flows of the postseason, I said to Phil Jackson Wednesday afternoon.
"Yes," he smiled, "you do."