Suns Leave the Stove on, Take off in 3rd Quarter to Shut it off
Ok, so the Phoenix Suns didn't really leave the game after the 3rd quarter of game 3 against the LA Lakers, but it sure seemed like it. After ending the game with a 31-17 lead, the Suns virtually disappeared and let the Lakers have their way with them. The Lakers used a “trapping defense“ w/ guards Smush Parker and Shammond Williams to surprise the Suns and take game 3.
The final Suns score was 95-89 in favor of the Lakers, who still trail 2-1 in the best of 7 series.Watch highlights of the Suns/Lakers game on 4/26/07
The defense was horrible in the 2nd half, as evidenced by Kwame Brown's 3 consecutive dunks at one point. Yes, I said Kwame Brown, the same one who Michael Jordan drafted w/ the 1st pick out of high school for the Washington Wizards. The guy who's been invisible for the Lakers so far this postseason, stepped up and scored in double-figures to help offset Amare Stoudemire's great game.
After scoring only 15 points and playing “team ball“ in game 2, Kobe Bryant went off on the Suns, scoring 45 points in the victory. He credits the increased output to “being aggressive“, a concept which the entire Lakers team appeared to have grasped - at least for 1 game.
The glaring issues for the Suns included too many turnovers in the 4th quarter and in critical situations, poor defense, and the complete dissappearance of Shawn Marion in game 3. I'm not sure if he got paid off or what, but he sure didn't seem to be in the game. The team also looked lost on offense for most of the game, which didn't resemble game 2's “perfection” route at all.
Fortunately for the Suns, whoever they end up playing in round 2 (yes, they will get there) will be just as tired as they are. All Western Conference teams have lost at least 1 game, meaning every series will go at least 5 games.