2010 NBA Western Conference Finals Preview: Los Angeles Lakers Vs. Phoenix Suns

Meet thy enemy, Lakers fans. They’re way better than you had expected, but that doesn’t mean they are going to win.
Tonight the Phoenix Suns roll into the Staples Center for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. This is the third straight conference finals appearance for the Lakers, but the first for the Suns since their 2006 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns are the oldest franchise in the NBA without a championship, while the Lakers, of course, are the defending title holders. It’s only fitting that the two should meet.
And although the Lakers and Suns play in the same division, I have the feeling that not too many Lakers fans really know what the 2010 Suns are all about. Heck, I don’t think the Suns knew either until their first-round victory over the San Antonio Spurs. But that series victory, along with Steve Nash’s valiant one-eyed pirate impression in Game 4, was enough to peak the interest of the league and label them as contenders.
The Suns are for real. They are offensive opportunists. They have to be. Two of their starting five should be in the NBA’s old folks’ home at this point, sipping tea and playing Wii with Clyde Drexler. And while they’re not going to beat you with their athletic superiority or aerial acrobatics, they're of the highest basketball pedigree, and perhaps the smartest team in the league at exploiting their strengths. They have a legion of slightly better-than-average players that have meshed together on the court and in the locker room.  
And that is a scary proposition, especially to a team with so many prominent individual personalities as the Lakers.  
The Suns have camaraderie. They get into the seams, they move the ball, and they hit their threes. Plus, they enjoy being together and have bonded as dorks of the highest calibur—unabashed Internet geeks who film C-grade Avatar knock-offs while in transit between games (This shouldn&rsquo...

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