We now have a series in the Western Conference Finals. The Suns took game three from the Lakers 118-109. The difference in this game was Amare Stoudemire tieing his playoff career high with 42 points. In my preview of game three I said in order for the Suns to win game three Amare needed to have a big night. He dominated the Lakers shooting 14 for 22. Another thing that I said needed to happen for the Suns to win was Steve Nash playing like a MVP. He didn’t have a lot of points (17) but had 15 assists and only 1 turnover. He was the floor general and was running the pick and roll with Stoudemire to perfection. In games one and two Lamar Odom and Ron Artest played great, but in game three it was a different story. Ron Artest struggled with his shooting (4 for 13) and Lamar Odom played with little energy and got in foul trouble early. He also shot poorly (4 for 14) and only grabbed 6 boards. Lamar and Ron’s performance in games one and two were really big for the Lakers, but in game three they didn’t show up and the Lakers suffered.
Kobe Bryant had a great first quarter shooting 7 for 9 but when the Suns switched to a zone in the second Kobe had trouble getting to his spot, and the Lakers found them selves shooting a lot of threes. That is what the zone is supposed to do, clog the lane but give up the open three. It slowed down the Lakers and they had many turnovers trying to get the ball inside. When the game was close in the fourth the Lakers came down the court and shot threes because they couldn’t get the ball inside. In the end the Lakers shot 32 threes and only connected on 9. That is what the Suns wanted and they did a great job on the defensive end after two horrible performances in games one and two. The Lakers need to figure out something a offense for the zone and make sure to not shoot so many threes if they want to win game 4.
Lakers and Suns Box score from NBA.com