Frye, Suns Look to Bounce Back at Home in Games 3 and 4

After struggling on the road in Games 1 amd 2, Channing Frye looks to make amends at home Sunday.
(Josh Greene/Suns.com)
By Josh Greene, Suns.com
Posted: May 21, 2010

As any good geologist knows, it requires lots of pressure, heat and time to produce a valuable gemstone.

In the Conference Finals, pressure and heat are nothing new, but what takes nature millions of years to accomplish, the Suns will have to do in a matter of days in terms of producing their own pair of gems.

Down 0-2 in the best-of-seven series vs. the Lakers, Phoenix knows it will need some stellar performances at home for Games 3 and 4 to climb back into the West Finals. One player in particular who is looking for a bit of redemption after poor showings in the first two games of the series is Channing Frye. The center has relished playing at US Airways Center this postseason, where he has averaged 11.2 ppg vs. 4.9 ppg on the road.

“It’s no secret he’s shot the ball better at home than on the road,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “It’s just like a batter in baseball. You don’t go and change up everything with a batter when he’s struggling. If Channing’s in a little bit of a slump, you know at some stage he’ll come back and he’ll shoot the ball well.”

Held scoreless in his postseason-low nine minutes in Game 2 in Los Angeles, Frye told the media after Friday’s practice that his 0-for-5 performance Wednesday and three points in Monday's Game 1 are nothing more than distant memories heading into Sunday’s Game 3.

“There are no confidence problems,” Frye said. “It was just two bad games. It’s happened before. I’ve been out of rhythm, and the Lakers did a good job of taking advantage of that. They put a lot of pressure on me defensively and threw my rhythm off. It’s about getting out there and being relaxed and having fun. There are no specifics about it. My shot was good. I looked at the film, and I was barely off.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself. I feel like I’m a big part of this team. Instead of trying to win the game on every single shot, I just need to come out, play some D, get some boards and focus on that.”

Posting 120-plus-points in the first two games, the Lakers haven’t let the Suns off the hook in terms of turnovers, either. Phoenix has had 28 giveaways in the series.

“It’s not so much their length,” Frye explained. “It’s that they are taking advantage of our mistakes and our defensive breakdowns. We still haven’t played our game, where we can say we put our best out there.

“I was trying to be something I wasn’t – serious. 'I have to make this shot’ instead of just letting it fly like I usually do. All the ‘bright lights’ stuff is garbage. This is a basketball game, and we just need to come out and play ball like we’ve been practicing all year long. And hopefully for everybody, it’s as simple as getting back home.”

When playing in front of the Phoenix faithful in the postseason all-time, the Suns are 82-53 at home. That statistic, not to mention the hometown support, will be even more important come tip-off Sunday for Game 3, when Alvin Gentry and Co. look to put their mini-skid behind them and try and battle back in the series.

“We hadn’t lost two games in a row in a long time,” Grant Hill said. “In the playoffs, everything is so magnified. ‘A loss is the end of the world.’ We bounce back. We have character on this team. We’ve shown toughness and grit, and we’ll be ready Sunday.”