NBA Playoffs: LA Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns Game 3 Preview and Pick – Point Spread

L.A. Lakers (57-25 SU 34-46-2 ATS) vs. Phoenix Suns (54-28 SU 47-34-1 ATS) US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ 8:30 PM EST Sunday May 23, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green of

Point Spread: Lakers +3/Suns -3
Over/Under: 219

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The Lakers lead this best of 7 series 2-0.

On Sunday night in the Valley of the Desert the Phoenix Suns will be hosting the L.A. Lakers and will try to get back in the series after dropping the first couple of games in La La Land.

The Suns played better in Game 2 then they did in Game 1, well at least through 3 quarters. After 3 the game was tied, but the Lakers pulled away and ended up winning the game by 12. Pau Gasol scored 14 of his 29 points in the final period and the Lakers looked impressive in burying the Suns.

Phoenix was one of the best home teams this season, but they simply have to play much better than they did in the 2 games in L.A. where the Lakers combined to score 252 points and shoot 57% from the field.

The Suns have to keep the other Lakers besides Kobe Bryant from having big scoring games. In Game 2 Gasol had 29 points, Ron Artest had 18, and Lamar Odom had 17, not to mention 11 boards.

Phoenix did keep the Lakers backcourt of Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher in check in Game 2, but they still could not keep the Lakers’ big men from dominating. The Lakers scored 52 points in the paint and Gasol, Bynum, and Odom also shot well over 50% from the field. Also, even though Bryant and Fisher only combined to shoot 10/26 the Lakers shot 56.3% (9/16) from beyond the 3-point arc.

After a poor shooting Game 1 from deep the Suns did hit on 41.7% of their 3-point shots, but they still only had 16 points off the fast break and were out-rebounded in the game.

Steve Nash has to step it up, as in Game 2 he only had 11 points and even though he dished out 15 assists he did have 5 turnovers.

The Lakers played Suns like basketball in the first 2 games in L.A. and they either need to suck it up on defense or score a ton of points or they will be down 3-0 in this series, which is a deficit no team in the history of the NBA has ever come back from.

In Game 2 of this series in L.A. on Wednesday night the Lakers beat the Suns 124-112. The high scorer for the Lakers was Pau Gasol going for 29 points on 11/19 shooting and for the Suns it was Jason Richardson going for 27 points on 10/17 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot lights out for the 2nd straight game going 45/78 from the field for a FG% of 57.7% and the Suns were decent, yet again, in the loss shooting 41/83 for a FG% of 49.4%. The Lakers had 5 more rebounds in the game (39-34) and the Suns had more turnovers (17-14).

According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Lakers rank 2nd 96.36) and the Suns rank 4th (95.41).

This season the Jazz ranked 4th in the league in scoring (104.2 ppg) and the Lakers ranked 12th (101.7 ppg). On D the Lakers ranked 9th in opponents’ points allowed (97 ppg) and the Jazz ranked 12th (98 ppg). The Jazz were slightly better on the boards this season with a rebounding differential of +3.0 rpg and the Lakers were at +2.1 rpg.

L.A. is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games and have an Over record of 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.

Phoenix is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games, 3-0 ATS in their last 3 home games, and has an Over/Under record of 5-5 in their last 10 games.

Jason’s Pick: The Lakers have looked good vs. the Suns but now that the series moves to Phoenix, I fully expect the Suns to win and cover vs. the Lakers on their home court.