When a number two seeded team in the NBA starts its playoff run, it usually is facing a team with way less roster talent than it has. The number seven seeded team is more times than not facing an up hill battle with very little room for error in almost every aspect of the game.
This years playoffs two and seven seeded Western Conference match-up is one that will be unprecedented in NBA history, the 2 seeded Phoenix Suns vs the 7 seeded LA Lakers.
If you were living under a rock for the entire NBA season and you just woke up and were told these two teams were in a playoff series, your first thought would probably be that the number 2 seeded team would be the Lakers and seven the Suns.
The NBA Champions are the seven seed in the West, but they will be the most talented seven seed ever, and that of course has its circumstance as to how that transpired. The Lakers after wining the title last year were reluctant to start the season early, causing their strategy to take advantage of the load management resting its super star guys during the regular season.
Then injuries made it more difficult for the Lakers to keep its stars on the court at the same time for long periods of time.
In one case both were out at the same time coming down the stretch, but as the season got closer to its conclusion the Lakers were content not being a top seed.
That means they are confident that their talent when healthy will win out against any team no matter what their seeding would be, as long as they were in the dance.
I don’t think they thought they’d end up in the play-in tournament, but they still were talented enough to overcome the hot Golden State Warriors.
On the other hand the number 2 seeded Phoenix Suns are the surprise team at the top of the West, no one in their right mind ever thought the Suns after adding Chris Paul would be this good.
The Suns end the regular season the second best record in the NBA, and one of only two teams to reach the 50 win mark in a shortened season eclipsing 51.
Phoenix returns to the playoff dance after 11 long grueling seasons of pure bad management and bad luck with drafting prospects to put around Devin Booker.
Now it seems like that bad luck cloud continues over the head of this Suns organization, after a long playoff hiatus they draw the most talented seven seed ever in the Lakers.
How can the Suns break this curse coming into this match up with the Champs:
Suns need to trust that they are a very good team, and that teams do not land themselves in the number 2 seed by accident, holding down the west through a long season takes a strong minded team.
Rally the Valley has to have something to rally behind, and what better cause than straight out blatant disrespect.
The lakers in some form of arrogant way do not really fear the Suns coming into this series, even though they say all the right things in the media.
Clearly the Lakers tanked down the stretch leading up to the play-in tournament, having opportunity to over take the Portland TrailBlazers if they were really interested in taking over the six seed.
But deliberately held out its star players, and conceding the top six seeds to purposely land them against the team they just dominated without Lebron James and with a dominant performance by Anthony Davis.
I don’t believe that LA’s two superstars were fully healthy going into the play-in tournament, but experienced and talented enough to overcome the hot Golden State Warriors lead by former Champion and MVP star Stephan Curry.
Now as a seven seed the lakers got to be feeling good about getting the opponent they tanked for, knowing they will have time to use this match-up as a tuner to get them back to championship form going forward in the playoffs.
To beat a bully is to get him to respect you first, and you get his respect by punching him directly in the mouth showing him you are not afraid of him. Changing things to where he becomes afraid of you and will no longer push you around.
For Phoenix to earn that respect, they absolutely cannot lose game one in this series.
You can’t give away your advantage of home court in the first contest, because that just gives a championship team like the Lakers more confidence that you can’t beat them in a seven game series.
The same can be said allowing this series to go seven games, if you’re the Suns you have to win this series in six games because again, the former champions know how to close the deal in a winner take all series ending game.
Game one can give the Suns confidence to believe they can beat the Lakers when they are at full strength, lose that game just hands over mister momentum and its hard to get that back being a young and inexperienced playoff team.