Conference Finals Positional Breakdown: Suns vs. Lakers

By Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
Posted: May 11, 2010

SMALL FORWARD MATCHUP
GRANT HILL 6-8, 225 lbs.
Playoff Stats: 9.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3.1 apg
The seven-time All-Star and team co-captain is perhaps the team's best perimeter defender. Hill anchors an underrated defensive team that has held opponents to under 100 points nine times since the All-Star break. Hill was the team's leading rebounder in the first round and has scored 18 or more three times in the 2010 Playoffs. When the winner of the NBA's 2010 Sportsmanship Award scores in double figures, the Suns are 3-0 in the playoffs.
RON ARTEST 6-7, 260 lbs.
Playoff Stats: 9.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.1 apg
According to some of the Suns players, Artest is considered is the toughest defender in the league. The former St. John's star has been a little chilly from the floor in the playoffs, only connecting on 38 percent of his shots. However, in the Lakers' sweep of Utah, Artest scored 20 in Game 3 and 16 in Game 2. Expect Artest to guard J-Rich.
POWER FORWARD MATCHUP
AMAR'E STOUDEMIRE 6-10, 249 lbs.
Playoff Stats: 20.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.5 bpg
After getting double and triple-teamed in the first round against Portland, the five-time All-Star scored 23 or more points in three of the four games against the Spurs. Stoudemire also posted two double-doubles against the Spurs. In the regular season, STAT finished tenth in the league in scoring and seventh in field goal percentage. The Second Team All-NBA selection has scord 20 or more five of his last seven games.
PAU GASOL 7-0, 250 lbs.
Playoff Stats: 20.2 ppg, 13.1 rpg, 1.9 bpg
The 2008 and 2009 European Player of the Year was named Third Team All-NBA this season after ranking 11th in field goal percentage and eighth in blocks. In the postseason, Gasol has continued to thrive, shooting 56 percent from the floor and increasing his scoring by two points a game. He is also second in the playoffs in rebounding.
CENTER MATCHUP
CHANNING FRYE 6-11, 245 lbs.
Playoff Stats: 8.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, .90 spg
Although Jarron Collins gets the starts, Frye garners the majority of the minutes. The owner of the largest single-season increase in three-point field goals made in history and the NBA leader in three-point makes during the regular season is shooting 39 percent from three-point land in the postseason. With the Lakers' enormous front line, Frye's ability to lure Gasol and Bynum from the paint will be key in terms of creating space in the paint for Stoudemire to operate.
ANDREW BYNUM 7-0, 285 lbs.
Playoff Stats: 10.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.0 bpg
One of two seven-footers in the starting lineup for the Lakers, the 22 year-old center ranks fourth in the playoffs in field goal percentage (56 percent) and blocks (2.0 a night). His scoring is down nearly 5.0 a game in the playoffs, hitting double figures only once against the Jazz in the second round. One has to believe he's feeling the effects of the meniscus tear in his right knee.
SHOOTING GUARD MATCHUP
JASON RICHARDSON 6-6, 225 lbs.
Season Stats: 21.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.0 spg
Richardson is the Suns' X-Factor this season. The Suns were 26-4 during the regular season and 5-0 in the playoffs when J-Rich scored 20 or more points. The two-time NBA slam dunk champ is leading the club in scoring in the postseason, raising his scoring average by six points per game in the playoffs. In addition, Richardson is shooting 51 percent from the floor and 52 percent from downtown in the playoffs.
KOBE BRYANT 6-6, 205 lbs.
Playoff Stats:26.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 4.9 apg
The First Team All-NBA performer is the league's fourth-leading scorer in the playoffs. The youngest player ever to score 25,000 points, Bryant continues to heat up as the Lakers continue to advance. Bryant increased his scoring from 23.5 ppg in the first round to 32.0 ppg in the second round. Against Utah, he shot 52 percent from the floor.
POINT GUARD MATCHUP
STEVE NASH 6-3, 178 lbs.
Season Stats: 17.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 9.0 apg
Taking what the defense gave him, the two-time MVP raised his scoring from 16.5 during the regular season to 22 ppg against the Spurs. The oldest player in NBA history to lead the league in assists, Nash leads all point guards in the playoffs for assists per 48 minutes. Efficient as ever, Nash is shooting 51 percent from field, 46 percent from downtown and 89 percent from the line in the 2010 NBA Playoffs.
DEREK FISHER 6-1, 210 lbs.
Playoff Stats: 10.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.2 apg
A four-time NBA Champion, Fisher is shooting 42 percent from downtown in the playoffs. During the regular season, Fisher was 12th in the league in three-point field goal percentage. The 14-year veteran has scored 17 or more twice thus far in the playoffs and grabbed five steals in Game 1 of the Lakers' second-round series against Utah.

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