In Game 2 the Suns offense looks to the eye a little more fluid — the pick and roll is working better (but not great), they got some pretty baskets in transition, they are hitting 50 percent of their threes. They scored a respectable 56 first half points.
But they still cannot stop the Lakers offense — that was the story of the first half just as it was the story of Game 1. At the half of Game 2, the Lakers are ahead 65-56 and have been in control of this the entire way.
In a lot of ways this felt like a repeat of Game 1: The semi-quiet crowd, the Lakers getting a lead then holding it in the 8 to 12 range for much of the half, the Suns never really able to cut seriously into it. They tried a number of things — including a zone defense for a while — but the Lakers continue to just carve them up. The score is even close to the halftime score of Game 1 (that was 62-55 Lakers).
The Suns were 6 of 12 from three for the half, but the Lakers are 7 of 11. Suns are not even winning the battles they expected to. In the paint, the Lakers still getting what they want — 18 points on 9 of 13 shooting in the first quarter alone.
Ron Artest leads the Lakers in scoring — 15 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Suns Coach Alvin Gentry said before the game they could live with a huge Kobe Bryant night, they had to keep the supporting cast quiet. They are not. Amar’e Stoudemire leads the Suns with 11, the only Sun in double digits.
If the Suns do not figure out how to defend the Lakers fast, they will go home in a massive 2-0 hole.
Phil Jackson may or may not come back as the Lakers coach — but if he does it will not be at the $12 million salary he made this season.
“Yes, it has been indicated there will be a pay cut,” Jackson said before Game 2 of the Lakers/Suns Western Conference Finals.
ESPN’s Michael Wilbon went on his PTI buddy Tony Kornheiser’s radio show today and said that he was told the cut will be all the way down to $5 million next season. Jackson dodged all talk of specific numbers.
“It’s still a ridiculous salary whatever it is,” Jackson said almost under his breath.
Jackson has hinted before that he expected a pay cut to be needed, but questioned whether he would take it, at one point asking a reporter, “would you?” But it is less about money — he has more than enough — and ultimately about whether or not he is enjoying himself. Whether he can physically put up with the rigors of a long season of travel again, and whether he wants to.
Jackson indicates he has not decided if he will return next year, saying Monday he is not leaning either way at this time. As was discussed earlier today, he is comfortable in Los Angeles and he is almost certain to stay here or retire. Most people close to Jackson think he will return.
But predicting Jackson is a foolish enterprise. All we know for sure is he will not be making $12 million next year.
From the department of messed up stories involving the parents of NBA veterans in the NBA Conference Finals:
Celtics’ reserve Marquis Daniels’ stepfather Willie L. Buie was involved in a disturbance last night during the Celtics’ win over the Magic. The responding officers attempted to remove Buie, which he then fought, yelling profanities and swinging his arms free. This resulted in the officers using a taser on the 55 year old man for five seconds in the process of arresting him.
(Side note: I understand the practicality of noting how long the gun was used on him, but it just sticks out. I mean, is ten seconds dramatically worse than five seconds? Did they time it? Did they yell “one-Mississippi-two-Mississipi”?)
So after Amar’e Stoudemire’s mom apparently put him in a mouthing off mood with her continued shenanigans, now we have a Celtics’ reserve’s father getting tasered on the road. Maybe leave your folks at home, NBA players. There’s a pattern forming here.
Daniels hasn’t been on the floor in this series, having slipped out of the rotation with Tony Allen excelling. And now this. Not the best week. The fact that this happened with Orlando security is likely to cause some questions about what exactly it was that Buie did to elicit an ejection.
The good news is he was tasered for less time than this series will take.
He’s tall, he’s rich, he has an accent and he owns the Nets (at least that’s what we’re calling them for now. He spoke to the media this morning in New York.