Monday, May 24, 2010

Lakers get 'Zoned' out
Give the Phoenix Suns credit, they found a way to beat the Lakers. Los Angeles got sun in its eyes last night, blinded by a Phoenix zone defense that froze the Lakers in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, 118-109.
It wasn't too long ago that a zone defense was illegal in the NBA, and most teams still employ the man-to-man coverage. But the Suns, down 2-0 in the series, were desperate for a win. As guard Steve Nash said before the game, "we have to find a way to compete with them" The zone defense was the answer and it stopped everybody in purple and gold except Kobe Bryant, who scored 36 points.
Phoenix switched to the zone in the second quarter, and it worked so well they kept using it for the rest of the game. It forced the Lakers to shoot from the perimeter and the long jumpers didn't fall. And to add to L.A.'s demise, center Andrew Bynum watched most of the game from the bench with a swollen knee. It's doubtful that he'll play in Game 4. The groundswell that had the Lakers and Celtics all wrapped up to play in the NBA Finals may have hit some Arizona desert quicksand.
Even though they trail in the series, don't count the Suns out. A little confidence can carry a club a long way and Phoenix got back some of the winning time feeling last night. This series could go seven games.


It was sad to watch the Floyd Landis-Lance Armstrong show last week during the Tour of California bicycle race, which closed out Sunday in Westlake Village.
Landis, who earlier admitted that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs at the Tour de France after denying it for years, accused Armstrong of doing the same thing, including soliciting a bribe to a race official. Landis has become the Jose Canseco of international cycling. He was stripped of his Tour de France title after failing a drug test, and now in what some are calling an act of desperation, is trying to take Armstrong down with him.
Is this a man who is at the end of his rope or is he telling the truth? Armstrong's response to Landis' charges was less that convincing. His answers sounded like non-denial denials.
Unlike baseball, football and auto racing, cycling hasn't gotten control of the sport's drug abuse or at least hasn't found the fortitude to lay these accusations to rest. This only puts a dark cloud over the sports' upcoming premier event on the roads of France.

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