2006 NBA Playoffs: Suns-Lakers, Game 5
January 1, 2006
Confident they will be taking this opening round series back to the STAPLES Center for a Game 6, the Phoenix Suns were packed and ready to go before their big game on May 2 against Los Angeles.
Leandro Barbosa knows it's do or die in Game 5 as Phoenix will either force a sixth game or call it a season.
Even down 3-1 in the series, players like Eddie House have still managed to keep their cool.
The Matrix was also calm, cool and collected before the affair.
One of the hardest workers in the NBA, center Pat Burke gets himself ready physically for the Game 5 showdown.
Kurt Thomas continues his rehab and still hopes to return this season for the Suns.
Suns Equipment Manager Jay Gaspar spends some time with Suns players Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw.
James Jones talks basketball with East Valley Tribune reporter Craig Morgan.
The best part of waking up for Suns guard Raja Bell is getting the opportunity to turn this opening series around.
Fans came to the US Airways Center ready to cheer on their Phoenix Suns.
Suns fans greet Boris Diaw as he makes his way onto the court.
Overcoming a 3-1 deficit is possible as the Gorilla shows the crowd here.
The US Airways Center crowd is ready for Game 5.
Ready or not, here we come!
The Phoenix Suns engage in their pregame ritual looking to beat L.A. for the second time in the series.
Before the contest, Suns forward Boris Diaw was recognized as the NBA's 2006 Most Improved Player.
Diaw showed exactly why he was deserving of the Most Improved Player Award, nearly notching a triple-double against the Lakers with 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Forward Shawn Marion meanwhile was in All-Star form scoring 21 points while grabbing nine rebounds.
Things didn't come easy for point guard Steve Nash who looks to dish it off here with Lakers center Kwame Brown in his face.
Although it wasn't easy, the MVP still managed to put 22 points on the board while handing out four assists.
The Suns got off to a hot start thanks to inside plays like this one from 3D.
As he has all series long for the Suns, Raja Bell proved to be a headache for Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant.
Leandro Barbosa provided some offense off the bench, scoring two points here from inside the paint.
Diaw gets aggressive down low for Phoenix. His play a key reason for Phoenix's nine point lead heading into the half.
The halftime lead was definitely reason for Robert Sarver to cheer.
The halftime entertainment performs for the fans at the US Airways Center.
In the second half of play the Lakers threw every defender they could at Nash, including 6-10 forward Lamar Odom.
Tim Thomas makes his presence known inside the paint.
Defense looked like the key for Phoenix in the second half.
Bryant can only watch as Bell scores two of his 11 points.
Boris Diaw displays the meaning of playoff basketball diving to the hardwood.
The Gorilla acknowledges the best fans in the NBA.
Kobe Bryant could no longer stand to watch in the fourth and was ultimately ejected from the contest.
The ejection provided another reason for Suns fans to cheer in a game which was already well out of hand for Los Angeles.
Even in a blowout, Suns Head Coach Mike D'Antoni demands perfection at all times.
Overall, however, the Phoenix Suns could have no complaints about the final results of the Tuesday night matchup.
Suns fans young and old were pleased with the final results as well, a 114-97 Phoenix victory.
The victory means Phoenix will live to fight another day as they will now travel to Los Angeles for Game 6.
Shawn Marion celebrates with fans following the contest.
Following his terrific performance, Diaw took some time out after the game to talk with reporters.
Marion also spoke about Game 5 as well as what to expect in Los Angeles for Game 6.