Suns Find Their Three-Point Shot in Game 4 Win
Posted: May 25, 2010
The top three-point shooting team in the NBA during the regular season, you knew the Suns’ difficulty hitting the longball as of late couldn’t last all series.
Welcome to the breakout game.
Led by Channing Frye’s team-high four makes, Phoenix sank a series-best 11 three-pointers in the Game 4 win, which also featured three players hitting at least two shots from beyond the arc – a first for the now 2-2 Suns in these Conference Finals.
Entering the night, Suns players other than Jason Richardson were a combined 10-of-46 from long range in the first three games of the series. In Game 4, those same other players shot 7-of-14 from beyond the arc in the first half.
“Everyone's been saying after Game 3 and down 2-0, 'you haven't shot the ball well yet,'" Steve Nash said. "So it was nice to feel it kind of open up, and the threes start going in. Particularly for Channing, but the second unit went on a nice run there and made a bunch of threes. That was about as exciting a stretch as I've seen sitting on the sideline in my time here.
“So it was fun to see the shots go, but we’ve got to continue to do the little things to win… in L.A. especially. We've got to prove it either in Game 5 or 7 that we can win in L.A., so all we've done is earned ourselves a great opportunity to go and try to win there.”
NO. 1’S NO. 2
Amar’e Stoudemire’s 42-point, 11-rebound performance in Game 3 was a bit of a rarity as far as the Lakers are concerned. Since 2000, L.A. had only given up one 40-or-more-point, 10-or-more-board night in the postseason (Tim Duncan (2001), before STAT’s extraordinary effort 48 hours ago.
While STAT didn’t find the lanes to the basket as giving Tuesday, he still racked up a Suns-high 21 points and eight rebounds, while Kobe Bryant had a game-best 38 points.
“I was playing chess,” the Suns' All-Star forward said. “Had to match Kobe. Every time he made a move, I had to make one, because going into the third quarter, you know he's going to try to carry his team and start a run.
“So I wanted to make sure that we countered his run. Kobe had some tough shots out there, I'll tell you. But I definitely wanted to try to match his intensity in the third quarter.”
Tuesday's effort was Stoudemire's fifth-straight double-digit scoring effort, stretching back to the second-round clinching win in San Antonio.
Outrebounded as a team through the first three games of the series, the Suns did begin to turn the corner in Game 3 when they got the better of L.A. on the offensive boards. That aggressiveness carried over into Tuesday’s game, when Phoenix decidedly owned the glass at both ends of the floor, out-rebounding the Lakers, 51-36.
“We were doing great,” said Stoudemire, who had a team-high eight boards. “All five (on the floor) were rebounding. We're all trying to get a shot and rebound. We were boxing out, and we know if we got stops, we have a better chance of running and getting out on fast breaks. So that's the mentality… go get the boards, get some stops and it's off to the offense.”
While the positive synergy in the Suns locker room is an old story, it never hurts to see it in action on the court. Game 4 was no different, as starters like Robin Lopez and Jason Richardson willingly made the long walk back to the bench, rather than upset the flow and rhythm and sub out their hot-shooting counterparts Channing Frye and Leandro Barbosa.
“Robin turned and said, ‘I should come back,’ because (Channing) made a couple of shots,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “And that's the other thing about this team. They're so unselfish. They're so unselfish in what we do. If a guy is going well… J Rich sat over there, and LB made a couple of plays, and I started to put him in. He said, ‘he's going great, let's leave him in.’
“That's another reason why we've been successful as a team. It's really different than most NBA teams. We're really more like a college team, to be honest with you, the way guys are. But like I said, I think we got great chemistry and that really helps.”
A JMZ EXCLUSIVE
Jared Dudley is contemplating taking his personal video outlet, JMZ, big time. In other words, he’s thinking of hiring full-time help to follow him around and do the filming. While it would free up the forward (and the plethora of part-timers around the locker room he tends to hand off his camera phone to), not all his teammates were on-board with the notion.
“Don’t feed that monster,” Grant Hill laughed.