PHOENIX, May 2 (Ticker) -- Boris Diaw was named Most Improved Player
in the NBA this week. On Tuesday, he helped the Phoenix Suns
improve their chances of getting to the next game.
Diaw had a playoff career-high 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine
assists and Steve Nash added 22 points as the Suns coasted to a
114-97 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five of their
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All-Star Shawn Marion scored 21 points and Tim Thomas
contributed 13 off the bench for Phoenix, which shot 48 percent
(42-of-86) from the floor and improved to 2-0 when it scores at
least 100 points.
"I did the same things I have done in previous games, tried to
create and maybe made too many passes before," Diaw said. "The
Lakers weren't helping as much, so that created opportunities. I
didn't know I was close to a triple-double that is the least of
my problems. We started doing what we used to do. We started
getting faster and faster."
Trailing the series, 3-2, the Suns will play Game Six in Los
Angeles on Thursday and hope to return to Phoenix for Game Seven
"You just can't go out at home like that," Thomas said. "For us,
it was a must win and we got it done. Now the focus is on just
trying to win in Los Angeles."
Leading, 58-51, one minute into the third period, Phoenix pulled
away as Marion and Raja Bell hit back-to-back 3-pointers during
a 17-5 surge.
"We finally got some points up on the board and we finally got a
decent quarter," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Our defense
stayed the same. We just now played better offensively."
The Suns built a 22-point edge, but Lakers superstar
Kobe Bryant, who scored 29 points, capped an 11-2 burst with a
3-pointer to make it 86-73 with 10:17 remaining in the fourth
Trailing by 14 points with 7 1/2 minutes left, the Lakers got a
little life when Bell received his second technical foul and was
ejected for clotheslining Bryant to the floor.
"It was a bad play on my part and I overreacted," said Bell, who
scored 11 points. "I had been hit in the face multiple times in
this series. It has been a pretty physical series and at that
point in time I caught another elbow in my jaw and I lost my
head. It was the heat of the moment and I lost my head."
"It's a physical game," said Bryant, who grabbed seven rebounds.
"I'm not trying to elbow somebody. That's not what I do. That's
not how I play. If you get elbowed, you still have to keep you
cool. I get elbowed all the time and I don't go out there and
lose my head. I don't get disturbed by it. It actually excites
Los Angeles pulled within 95-85 on a basket by Lamar Odom.
However Phoenix regrouped and built its edge back to 23 points
behind a 13-0 run which included back-to-back 3-pointers by
Leandro Barbosa and Marion.
"That is what happens when teams play with desperation and the
other team comes out and doesn't play at the same level," Lakers
coach Phil Jackson said. "We just got beat to the ball too many
times and they were active and aggressive. They beat us with
the nature of the play."
Odom scored 18 points and 15 rebounds and Brown added 14 points
for Los Angeles, which shot 51 percent (36-of-70) and committed
"We rushed (on) offense so there is no balance," said Odom, who
shot 7-of-14. "These guys are hard to guard. They play fast.
They play quick and they are going to get open layups and shots.
I think we know what we need to do."