When playing the highest scoring team in the NBA in a playoff series and one that plays as well as the Suns do at home it is illogical to think a sweep is going to be easy. Although with the way the Lakers started off this series it was not an impossible task. The Phoenix Suns are not a team with a wide range of game plans, they are fast, pass great, and love to shoot the three ball. These are a few aspects of the Suns game the Lakers were so successful at either stopping or out preforming them in over the last two games. It was not these areas that caused the fall of the Lakers in game three though, it was all of the success in the paint.
Over all the Lakers shot better from the field out scoring the Suns in front of and behind the three point line, and even in the paint. The one MAJOR area of difference was the free throws that were attempted by each team, with 42 from the Suns and 20 from the Lakers. It is expected when at home to get “favorable” calls but to more than double the amount of calls for the home team is stretching it. In fact over the first two games in Los Angeles the Suns went to the line 58 times and the Lakers 56 making it much more even in regards to foul calls.
Due to the foul calls the Lakers had many players limited in time and effectiveness while on the floor. It is not fair to not give credit to a team for a win though, the Suns hit the shots we did not. Jason Richardson was 4 for 7 from behind the arch hitting most of his three pointers in clutch situations. The Suns did a great job of limiting turn overs giving the ball up 7 during the game while the Lakers turned the ball over 17 times. There is nothing to be upset over with the way the Lakers shot and played. With such a huge discrepancy in foul calls it would be tough for any team to win in that situation and that is not likely to happen again.
Expect the Lakers to come out Tuesday night looking for the kill. They do not want to go back to L.A. even at 2-2 especially with the Celtics in a position to sweep. The Celtics will have a lot of time off to practice and rest. These are the same things the Lakers will need, especially with the amount of injuries we have. When playing our style of basketball and making the extra passes the Lakers have nothing to worry about. We can finish this series with two great games.
6 more wins until another Laker Championship…