Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Playoff Preview: Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies

Phoenix (62-19): #1 seed
Memphis (45-36): #8 seed
Head to Head Matchup: Series split (2-2)

Keys to the Series:

#1: Can Phoenix run? - This is where the huge question lies for this excellent Phoenix team. Can their style work in the playoffs? I lived in Phoenix this season, I saw them beat the Pistons live. I believe their style can, and will work in the playoffs.

#2: Can Memphis find a go-to guy? - Memphis has a lot of good players. Can they find a great player? Bonzi Wells, Stromile Swift, Pau Gasol, Mike Miller....

#3: Are Amare Stoudamire, Joe Johnson, and Quentin Richardson playoff-ready? - Listen, they have been excellent all season, and this is the same question I will ask of the Sonics, but there is the possibility that the pressure will limit these young stars on the Suns. It will be up to Nash to get them open, easy looks and get them flowing in the offense.

#4: How many offensive rebounds can Memphis get? - Phoenix was the WORST team in the league at allowing offensive rebounds. Memphis has plenty of guys that can grab the boards. Do the math. The series might be won, or lost, right here.

#5: Who will die with the 3-pointer? - It is a fact that the Suns will lose if they can't shoot the 3. However, it is also a fact that Mike Miller right now is as hot as anyone. If he and Jason Williams all of a sudden go cold, the Grizzlies offense will also be severely hampered.

Breakout player - I have to go with Shawn Marion. This guy is incredible, though he possesses the weirdest jump-shot known to man. He can shoot, he can board, and he can play defense. More importantly, he has been here before, and can help carry the younger players through the first couple of games before they find their rhythm.

Most important stat - 3-pointers made. Sure, some would say the rebounding battle, but the simple fact is that the Suns have been whupped in that regard continuously, all season, and have over 60 wins. In the games I have watched them play, they win what they are hot from outside, and really have to scrap when that shot isn't falling. It forces them to play more of a 1-on-1 game where they shoot some horrible jump shots.

Fearless Prediction: I have to go with Phoenix. Yes, Memphis has given them problems this season. However, one of those losses came without Steve Nash. Strike it from the list. Phoenix will play with something to prove, and Amare Stoudamire will rock Gasol and Swift inside. Phoenix in 5.

posted by colin_hesse @ 6:15 PM  0 comments


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