Phoenix Suns vs. LA Lakers Game 5 Preview and Pick – NBA Playoffs

Phoenix Suns (54-28 SU, 48-32-2 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (57-25 SU, 34-46-2 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Thursday, May 27, 2010, Staples Center, Los Angeles, Cal. TV: TNT
by Ryno of

Point Spread:Suns +7.5/Lakers -7.5

The home teams have held their serve in the Western Conference Finals, as the series is tied at 2-2 going back to Los Angeles for Game 5. The Lakers won the first two games at home to take a 2-0 series lead and then the Suns won two games at home to tie the series. Now comes the pivotal Game 5 which almost always decides a series when its 2-2.

The Suns won Game 4, 115-106, on Tuesday. The Suns shot 49 percent from the field and 11-for-30 on 3-pointers, while the Lakers 50 percent from the field and 9-for-28 on 3-pointers. The Suns got to the free throw line 19 more times than the Lakers and they made 15 more free throws than the Lakers. The Suns dominated on the boards with a 51-36 rebounding advantage. The Lakers only had six turnovers in the game and the Suns turned it over just seven times.

The Suns had six players score in double figures, led by Amare Stoudemires 21 points. He also led the team in rebounds with eight. Steve Nash had 15 points and eight assists, Channing Frye and Leandro Barbosa each scored 14 points off the bench, and Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley each contributed 11 points. The Suns are at their best when their bench is contributing and knocking down 3-pointers. Frye and Dudley combined for seven 3-pointers. Goran Dragic also had a great game with eight points and eight assists. The Suns are tough to stop when so many weapons are playing well.

Like he has been all series long, Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 38 points. He shot 15-of-22 from the field and 6-for-9 from 3-point range. He also added 10 assists and seven rebounds. It was his best offensive game of the series and probably of the entire playoffs, but the Lakers still lost the game. Pau Gasol, who has been terrific in the playoffs, scored 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting and only grabbed five rebounds. Lamar Odom had a solid game with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Ron Artest scored 13 points. Andrew Bynum also stepped up with 12 points and eight rebounds. The problem wasnt on offense. The Lakers just couldnt stop the Suns offense. They allowed the Suns to grab 15 more rebounds than them, make 11 3-pointers, and get to the free throw line 32 times.

Stoudemire is averaging 26 points per game in the series, including a 42-point, 11-rebound effort in a Game 3 victory. He has scored at least 18 points in 13 of the 14 playoff games this year. Richardson has stepped his game up in the playoffs, scoring in double figures in every single game. He is shooting over 50 percent on 3-pointers in the playoffs and is making more than three 3-pointers per game. Nash has also scored in double figures in every single game in the playoffs and is averaging over 10 assists per game.

Kobe is averaging 33.7 points per game in this series. He has also had at least 10 assists in each of the last three games. He is really dominating and the Suns have no answer for him. But as good as he is playing, the series is still tied at 2-2. Gasol is averaging 22 points per game but less than seven rebounds per game in this series. He is doing a nice job scoring down low but he needs to grab more rebounds. He had grabbed at least 11 rebounds in all but one playoff game before this series but hasnt even had 10 boards in any game this series.

The home team has won SU and ATS in every game in this series. Phil Jackson is 47-0 lifetime in playoff series after winning Game 1. Every game in this series has gone over. The Suns are 0-5 ATS in their last five games against the Lakers in Los Angeles. The total has gone over in five of the Suns last six games against the Lakers in Los Angeles. The total has gone over in each of the Lakers last five home games.

Rynos Pick: The recent trends show that these two teams beat each other up on on their home courts. I believe tonight will be a bit different though with Phoenix being able to stay within the 7.5 spread. Take the Suns to cover.