Suns Show Late Heart Again in Game 5
By Josh Greene, Suns.com
Posted: May 27, 2010
While it’s of little solace to a Suns’ squad who are now down three games to two in this best-of-seven Western Conference Finals following Thursday’s Game 5 loss, it was encouraging to see Phoenix battle back from yet another postseason double-digit deficit.
Whittling down a Lakers’ one-time 18-point lead, the Suns tied it up at 101-all on Jason Richardson’s big three-pointer with 3.5 seconds to go, before the heartbreaking climax with .8 ticks left.
“We’re a team that all year has battled back," said Jared Dudley, who scored 10 points off the bench. “There’s no big lead that is safe. We’re a team that can shoot the ball. We’re very aggressive. We hit shots. (Tonight was) a disappointment. We battled back. We were down big. That shows you how hard the team came back. We tied it up.”
Trailing for most of the game beginning at the end of the first quarter, a halftime pep talk from Head Coach Alvin Gentry geared the Suns up for their second-half comeback. Phoenix outscored the Lakers 56-50 to close out the game.
“We had an opportunity to win and didn't quite get it done,” Gentry said. “But we're not going to get discouraged. We're not happy. We're very disappointed, but we'll be okay.”
Scoring eight of his 19 points in the second half, Amar’e Stoudemire and Co. head back home for Saturday’s must-win Game 6 at US Airways Center to force a return to L.A. for a series-deciding Game 7.
“We were losing, and we played desperate,” the All-Star forward said after Game 5. “We played like we wanted to win. We need that the whole 48 minutes. So we got back into it, played well enough to tie it up but we didn’t quite get the win. We had a chance, but we didn’t quite pull it out. We’ve got to get back to Phoenix, try to get that win, and tie the series back up.”
With a game-high nine points in the fourth quarter, Steve Nash capped off a personally stellar performance en route to a team-leading 29 points and a Game 5-best 11 assists. It was his fourth double-double of the series.
“I was just determined to try to win,” the All-Star point guard said. “And I kept getting opportunities and was just concentrating and trying to do what I could to win the game. Some nights you have opportunities, some nights it's other guys, and some nights it's my opportunity. And I tried to do what I could for my team.”
It wouldn’t be a game at Staples Center without the usual contingent of Hollywood A-, B- and C-listers in the audience. Among the stars of stage, screen, TV and the sports world: Dustin Hoffman, David Beckham, Jack Nicholson, Jonah Hill, Andy Garcia and Morgan Freeman, to name a few.
“You know the stakes are high in a game when you have this many big names showing up in one place,” actor Mario Lopez said.