Los Angeles Lakers (57-25 SU, 34-46-2 ATS) vs. Phoenix Suns (54-28 SU, 48-32-2 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, May 25, 2010, US Airways Center, Phoenix, Ariz. TV: TNT
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Lakers -1.5/Suns +1.5
Bet Phoenis Suns playoff games at reduced odds (-105 instead of -110) at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
In a must-win spot, the Phoenix Suns came away with a Game 3 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers to make the Western Conference Finals a series. After the Lakers won each of the first two games of the series in Los Angeles, the Suns had to win at home to avoid going down 3-0. The Suns did that with a 118-109 victory. Now, in the all-important Game 4, the Suns have a chance to tie the series up at 2-2 or the Lakers can take a commanding 3-1 lead going back to Los Angeles.
The Lakers dominated in Game 1 with a 128-107 victory. Kobe Bryant took over the game for the Lakers with 40 points, and Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom dominated down low with a combined 40 points. Odom did a phenomenal job on the boards with 19 rebounds. The Lakers shot 58 percent from the field. The Suns shot well themselves at 49 percent, but it’s tough to lose shooting 58 percent.
The Lakers dominated offensively once again in Game 2 with a 124-112 victory. Gasol was unstoppable down low with 29 points and nine rebounds. Kobe had a nice all-around game with 21 points and 13 assists. Odom stood out again with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Ron Artest put in 18 points, including three 3-pointers. The Suns once again shot 49 percent from the field, but the Lakers also once again shot 58 percent.
In Game 3, the Suns shot 46 percent from the field and just 5-for-20 on 3-pointers but they held the Lakers to 48 percent shooting from the field and 9-for-32 on 3-pointers. The Suns got to the free throw line 42 times, as compared to just 20 for the Lakers, and they made 37 of their attempts. The Suns turned the ball over only seven times in the game while forcing 17 turnovers.
Amare Stoudemire had a monster game with 42 points and 11 rebounds. Steve Nash scored 17 points, dished out 15 assists, and committed only one turnover. Jason Richardson scored 19 points, including four 3-pointers, one of which was a clutch triple in the final minute to help seal the victory. And Robin Lopez stepped up out of nowhere with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. He had scored 14 points in Game 1 of the series and seven points in Game 2, but he was a large reason why the Suns were successful in Game 3.
Kobe once again had an incredible game with 36 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. Gasol stayed consistent with 23 points and nine rebounds. He shot 11-of-14 from the field. Artest and Odom both saw their numbers for the series go down slightly, as Artest had 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting and Odom had 10 points and six rebounds. Derek Fisher picked up the slack with 18 points, including three 3-pointers, but Andrew Bynum, who started at center, had just two points and two rebounds in eight minutes of action.
The Lakers need more of a balanced effort from their other big men besides Gasol to make it easier for him to score down low and to make it easier for the perimeter players. Still, the Lakers had an opportunity late in the game to win it but the Suns made the big plays down the stretch. The Suns got only 15 points total from their bench. They need to get more production from Jared Dudley, Channing Frye, Leandro Barbosa and Goran Dragic. The four of them combined to shoot 2-of-19 from the field and 0-for-11 on 3-pointers in Game 3.
The Lakers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a favorite. The Suns are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog. The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between these teams and the home team is 8-1 ATS in the last nine meetings between these teams. The over is 4-1 in the last five meetings. The Lakers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings with the Suns.
Ryno’s Pick: I like the Suns despite the line steaming the other way!