Monday, May 22, 2006


Why the Clippers will beat the Suns in tonight's Game 7

HITS senior editor/columnist and NBA maven Roy Trakin (see 'Shakin' & Trakin,' May 19) thinks the Clippers will knock off the Suns in tonight's Game 7 Western semi-finals and advance to the Western finals against either the Spurs or the Mavs (who also face-off in a Game 7 tonight). Here's his expert analysis:

This has been a knockdown, drag-out battle - the Clips' superior front line against the Suns' overall quickness and three-point game. Three days ago, with both Steve Nash and Shawn Marion dragging, I thought the L.A. Crystals (for major fan Billy) had a great shot, but the time off may well have regenerated the dynamic duo. Of course, the same could be true for the Clips' underrated big man Chris "Don't Come Around Here No More" Kaman. That said, if the Clips can stay with the Suns - and not get blown out by the first-period momentum that the home team traditionally receives - they have a great shot at pulling off the upset. The keys, of course, are Elton Brand's Mr. Inside and wily old Sam "ET" Cassell's Mr. Outside down the stretch. If those two can rise to the occasion, it could just break the stranglehold which threatens to give the NBA the same Final Four (Spurs-Suns, Pistons-Heat) as last year, despite all the excitement from upstarts like Dallas and Cleveland, who lost Game 7 in Detroit yesterday. At any rate, the Clips have to play a deliberate, pound-the-ball-to-the-basket game and try to dictate the tempo, easier said than done against the pesky Suns, but they have the personnel to do it. I mean, c'mon - stinky ex-Knick Tim Thomas, after being paid to sit out virtually the whole season, is playing an important role for Phoenix. That has to tell you something.

Roy's prediction: Clips 105, Suns 98


8 pm EST - Dallas @ San Antonio - TNT
10:30 pm EST - Los Angeles @ Phoenix - TNT

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