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Phoenix Suns - Problem Solved?

Who knew all the Suns had to do was fire their coach and lose Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash to injuries in order to beat up on the Lakers? The Lakers, who seemed to solve their problems a couple weeks ago by losing their budding young big man, could have used him against Shaq, though. The Rockets are much better without a gimpy Tracy McGrady, and the Pistons just won at Boston and Orlando without Allen Iverson. Next time an NBA team is struggling, it should just bench its star and see what happens.

Seriously, though - when you're talking about players whose name value outweighs their current skill set (Nash, Iverson, McGrady), the gains made by those teams isn't entirely a fluke. The big factor with Phoenix - which would make them interesting if they can squeak into the playoffs - is that Shaq is now healthy. Said Shaq:

A lot of people thought I lost it. It's kind of funny to me, when I say 'I'm injured,' no one believes me. Last year I was injured and this year I'm feeling pretty good.

Even if Shaq isn't the same player of 10 years ago, the healthy current version is still far bigger and stronger than anyone else in the league - though the Suns will still need Nash to get healthy and play to his capacity.

Incidentally, the Cavs could have had Shaq in a salary dump - you wonder if they regret not making that deal after the last two games.

Comments

By: Dalton Del Don
On: 3/1/2009 8:12:00 PM
Shaq is a beast right now. Absolutely dominating. The Cavs have a very good shot at winning it all this year - in fact, I'd give them close to even odds to do so (4/1 in reality right now) - but adding Shaq would have made it a foregone conclusion.
 
By: Erickson
On: 3/1/2009 8:44:00 PM
Another bullet point in favor of Bill Simmons' Ewing Theory?
 
By: The Professor
On: 3/2/2009 9:22:00 PM
That game was another example of the difference between regular season and playoff basketball. Because Shaq is older now, a strategy that relies on him dominating the opposition isn't a sustainable one over 82 games. But in the playoffs, with a day off between each game, it might make the Suns a more formidable playoff team. That's what Kerr was aiming at...the problem is that he gave up too much regular season success in the meantime.

For the Lakers, this game showed why Bynum is a key part to their championship hopes even if he isn't vital to their regular season record. When facing the elite teams with dominant interior games (Spurs, Celtics, Cavs, Magic) the Lakers will need Bynum. They just don't need him to regularly beat everyone else.
 

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