Stoudemire's 42 Leads Suns to Game 3 Win Over Lakers
That all changed in Game 3.
Stoudemire was aggressive from the opening tip, drawing two quick fouls on Andrew Bynum in the game's first three minutes and finishing with an absolutely monster night offensively to lead the Suns to a Game 3 victory. Phoenix narrowed L.A.'s series lead to 2-1, thanks to 42 points and 11 rebounds from Stoudemire.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, and Pau Gasol had 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting. But they got little help from their supporting cast, and guys like Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown who were integral to the team's success in the first two games were largely non-existent in this one.
Hero Of The Day
Amar'e Stoudemire set the tone for his team by being aggressive from the start, and kept it going offensively all night long. Stoudemire shot 14 of 22 from the field and 14 of 18 from the free throw line. He really carried his team to the win in Game 3.
The Suns trailed by as many as seven in the first half, and might have been struggling to believe that they would be able to come back and beat this Lakers team. But with the game tied at 45 with just under three minutes left in the first half, Phil Jackson picked up a technical as the teams came out of a timeout, and Steve Nash hit the free throw to give Phoenix the lead. The Suns followed up with an 8-2 run to end the first half with a 54-47 lead.
Key Coaching Decision
Alvin Gentry went to the zone defense in the second quarter, and the Lakers, who had done such a great job of hitting their open shots in the first two games, went cold from outside, which allowed the Suns to get back into it and run away to the seven-point halftime lead.
Outside the Box
A lot was made about how Channing Frye would play better at home and give the Suns the outside shooting that he had provided all season long. Yeah, not so much. Frye remained cold, and went 0 for 7 from the field in Game 3. For the series, he is now 1 for 20 from the field, with his only make all the way back in the first quarter of Game 1.
You Had to Be There
The Lakers were hanging around in the fourth quarter, and trailed by just three at 95-92 with seven minutes remaining. But a pass that went through Kobe Bryant's hands forced him to try to save it from going out of bounds, which he did -- right into the hands of Robin Lopez. Lopez got it to Nash who advanced the ball, and hit Jason Richardson in the corner for a three-pointer which pushed the lead to six and forced a Lakers' timeout.
The crowd blew the roof off the building, the loudest they've been in Phoenix this entire postseason. And the "Beat L.A" chant that began immediately afterward lasted the entire duration of the timeout -- thanks to a little prodding from arena hype man (and one-time Los Angeles Laker) Cedric Ceballos.