Archive for May 24th, 2010
Much has been said about a Lakers – Celtics 2010 NBA Finals. But all that discussion needs to put on hold for now. After the Suns’ 118-109 win over the Lakers might just bring the Phoenix team back from the ashes. The The Suns are still alive and if they can repeat the same performance in game No. 4, chances are that they might move on to game 5 with a 2-2 series and enough motivation to pull off the upset in the Staples Center.
Now, a lot has been said too about the Suns Power Forward Amare Stoudemire during this NBA Western Conference Final series against the Lakers. First, his numbers had been very low. He had just 9 rebounds in the first two games. He knew he had not played well in Los Angeles. He knew that much more was expected from a player making over 16 million dollars a year. And it seemed as if he just came in wanting to prove wrong all those people who talked about his lack of commitment.
Stoudemire pulled an amazing night. To be more specific, he had an amazing, just game changing second half. He came in with 42 points and 11 rebounds that’s more then his two previous games summed together. He completed 10-12 shots in the second half, scoring 16 points in the third quarter and 13 in the fourth.
Steve Nash, the veteran point forward also had a good night, keeping the Suns momentum and finishing the night with 17 points and 15 assists. On the Lakers end, both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol started strong. The two players were dominating the game in the first half. Bryant closed in with 36 points and 9 boards while the Spaniard recorded 21 points.
What we have to take into consideration now is that the Suns won despite their very disappointed performance from outside the perimeter. Let’s not forget that this team had the 3rd highest 3 point average in the regular season. So at 5-20, the Suns advantage over the Lakers certainly had to come from some other place.
And this is where the spotlight hits the Suns’ big-man. Stoudemire had a great night. And the Lakers bench did not. Lamar Odom was fouled-out and was never a serious threat. If you take a look at the numbers, very little came from the supporting cast. The Lakers bench made just 7-24 shots and scored only 20 points. The Lakers were able to lead by 7, but then things went south in the 3rd quarter.
There is one more factor that helped out the Suns. Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry had to figure out a new way to defend their basket against the Lakers. The Lakers were averaging 126 points and had been shooting for a 58% in their first two games. The Suns had very little chance unless they came up with a better defensive strategy. And for what it’s worth, it seems that Gentry finally figured it out. They played a lot of zone defense. And it worked. Bryant and Co. shot for 48% in this one.
Now, one thing that Gentry and his men have to figure out is how to improve the bench’s numbers. The Suns supporting cast only brought in 15 points and completed 3 out of 21 shots. So there is much room for improvement. And it is quite simple, unless Stoudemire can keep up with those rocket high numbers, the Suns are going to need much more input from the bench to stay competitive.