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Smack / May 26, 2010 / 1:26 am

Suns steal momentum, win Game 4

Amar'e Stoudemire, Dime #14

We gotta admit, even we jumped the gun about a week ago, all but booking the Lakers’ ticket into the 2010 NBA Finals. But with the Suns taking care of business at home in last night’s Game 4, the Western Conference Finals is now tied up, Steve Nash and Co. have all the momentum, Kobe is frustrated, and the guys in purple and gold look like a college team unable to figure out a simple zone defense. Kobe might want to break out his Team USA phone book before Game 5, hit up Jim Boeheim and talk about how to attack the zone … The Suns were up one going into the fourth quarter, before their bench put the game away with an 18-3 run against the L.A. starters. While Leandro Barbosa (14 pts), Channing Frye (14 pts) and Jared Dudley (11 pts) were sticking threes, Lou Amundson (7 pts, 7 rebs) held down the middle and Goran Dragic (8 pts, 8 asts) ran the show. Meanwhile, the Lakers offense during that run was too much Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom and not enough Kobe and Pau Gasol. Dragic’s spinning, right-hand circus layup put L.A. on the ropes, then Nash, Amar’e (21 pts, 8 rebs) and Grant Hill checked back in to deliver the knockout punches … Kobe put up 38 points, 7 boards and 10 dimes, but didn’t get his first bucket of the fourth quarter until there was about 2:30 remaining and L.A. was already down by nine. From there he put together a run where scored seven of the team’s last 12 points, but his missed free throw that would have cut the lead to six with 1:30 to go was kind of the Lakers’ last good chance at stealing a win … Frye picked the perfect time to finally show up. Of all the “system players” who have come through Phoenix in the Nash era, Frye seems like the luckiest one. Everything about this system works for him; on offense he just has to stand outside the arc and take open shots, and the zone D allows him to almost look like a solid defender. Frye had a breakout year in Phoenix and theoretically has set himself up for a raise, but we’re thinking he’ll go ahead and take his $2 million player option for next season just to stay in this basketball heaven … Anybody else notice how much Alvin Gentry sounds like Mr. Mackey from South Park? Here’s a sample of his miked-up segments: “We’ve gotta keep playing hard, mmmkay? Don’t lose focus, mmmkay? They’re not gonna give it to us, we’ve gotta take it, mmmkay?” … Dime #57 is out. John Wall covers our second annual NBA Draft Preview issue, which also includes Evan Turner, DeMarcus Cousins, Xavier Henry and the rest of the relevant people and story lines leading up to June 24, including the breakdown of Sylven Landesberg‘s pre-draft workout regimen. As for the pros, Odom, Birdman and Rudy Gay are among those featured in the issue. Pick it up on newsstands this week … We’re out like L.A.’s Finals reservation …

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  • http://www.nba.com smoove chips

    Can’t believe what I just witnessed.we basically couldn’t crack a zone.

    Kobe was brilliant.way to waste 24’s effort.good win for the suns.see you in LA.

    Those threes are killing us.

    If we got them beyond the foul limit,why not drive in and get the shots..whats up with the gazillion 3 point shots.seriously WTF !!

  • http://www.cheehee.com jeffco

    The Mr. Mackey line was just too funny! haha

  • hahns

    lol yeah, mr. mackey is spot on. i also think he looks like the devil.

    anyway- the game was amazing tonight, the suns’ bench just couldn’t miss!

    btw, for the reaction shot of the century, check out robin lopez’s after dragic’s sick move on fisher:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQthzMLQdcw

  • gilford22

    The Suns playing zone defense in the last 2 mins nearly cost them the game. They should have played man to man that time.

  • Big Hook Nunez

    Let’s see if our bench players and home cooking at the charity stripe travels to LA on Thursday. All we need is to steal one in LA and then close it out at home. Suns in 6 with a 4 game back-end sweep!

  • Soopa

    54 bench points thats impressive!

    As always (well except the Shaw “era”) the Suns are so fun to watch and i REALLY hope they knock out Lakers, but i just dont see them taking one in LA.
    Kobe is due for a bad game tho and Nash still hasnt had a break out game (cant rack up stats against Fisher?!), so it could happen but stil…..

  • Soopa

    Ehm Shaw = Shaq ofcourse, doh!

  • http://facebook.com/togstadlives Jeremiah Togstad

    Yall need to relax with this zone business. The Lakers shot 50 percent and scored 106 points. The Lakers offense wasn’t the problem.

    The Lakers can blame their shitty defense for this loss. Allowing 116 points and getting destroyed on the boards is the result.

  • Soopa

    Dont underestimate the effect of the zone when it comes to dictating tempo and style of game. You know what happens when teams try and run n gun with the Suns – they lose!

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Artest hates the back of the rim

  • welcome back to reality

    the suns bench were the real heroes last night, you taking notes, d’antoni??

  • drew

    tim donaghy.. now 13-1 on his predictions. he was spot on again in game 4. suns got the benefit of the doubt in this one.

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Tim-Donaghy/190036783555?ref=ts

    no doubt lakers need to figure out the zone, but when the game was still in the balance early in the 4th the number of ticky tack touch fouls was fully evident in favor of the suns. and for those saying the lakers werent aggressive enough, i agree but the zebras certainly wanted to make sure we had a series.

  • mrparker

    Kobe goes for a near triple double and its his teammates fault they lost. A certain other player does similar things nightly and yet they lost because he couldn’t make his teammates better???? Anyone else going to call out Kobe-ites on their hypocritcal musings

  • Big Hook Nunez

    @drew as a Sun’s fan I think we got the benefit of the doubt with some calls in the 3rd when Kobe got hot. A few ticky tacks fouls were called to put the Lakers in the penalty and keep the game close in the 3rd. But the 4th was all about the bench outplaying the Lakers starters. Now game 3 was a little more obvious when the refs didn’t give the Lakers 3 or 4 continuation plays and made them take the ball out, instead of shooting FTs. And that’s what Stern calls home cookin’!

  • D.I. Dollar

    The Suns pushed the ball and had the Lakers on thier heels on defense and the Lakers walked the ball up the court and allowed the Suns to set up thier zone. The Lakers should have utilized the high post more and thier weakside rebounding was non-existant. The refs let the Suns push and pull and the Lakers got called for tickey tacs. You can’t let the Suns have a 41 point second quarter and expect to win.

  • jackass

    any true bandwagonriders rooting for magic suns finals yo???

  • http://arunsbasketblog.blogspot.com/ Arun

    LA’s offense (106) was fine, but they can’t give up 115 and expect to win.

    For Phil to say in his postgame comments (http://www.ucubd.com/mashups/Widget_2245.html)that his team struggled defensively against a pick-and-roll offense is disappointing. They’ve been bad at this for so many years, why haven’t they improved? I bet 90% of the Suns’ half-court offense involves pick-and-roll plays.

    They had this problem with Shaq and 10+ years later it’s still an issue? Phil’s one of the best coaches ever & yet his teams continue to struggle to defend a basic basketball strategy.

  • porkpiehat

    Complaints about the officiating are weightless. The Suns won because of their top notch execution and the Lakers lost because they shot too many threes and failed to give Gasol the ball.

    All four games so far have featured the home teams role players knocking down their open J’s.

    Expect the Lakers to be ready to respond better to the zone D in game 5.

    And expect the Suns to have worked out a few more pet plays the Lakers can’t stop, like the weakside curl to the hoop for J-Rich, or that little dribble penetration hand-off from Nash to Stoudemire. That’s just good basketball!!

    Still gotta think the Lakers’ll take the series, but who knows! (Not me)
    Still gotta

  • alf (from melmak)

    Got to give it to the Suns. I never imagined they could win two at home against the Lakers. It is not the zone defense. Rather, it is the bench scoring that has given Phoenix the two wins.

    Off topic here. Why has Floyd Mayweather been so silent these days after Manny Pacquaio announced that he is now willing to comply with the random blood testing? Is he looking for another reason not to fight the man, again?

    Top 100 reasons why Dime should hire me as one of its regular writers.

    87. I do not consider working at Dime as a job. It is a way to get out of bed everyday with a smile on my face and a bounce on my steps.

  • Rizwan

    I dont know about Lakers responding better to the zone D, I mean, werent they supposed to have done that last night?

    Derek Fisher, although a fierce competitor, is a bit of a bitch when it comes to those screen by the Phoenix bigs. He squares like he wants to fight each time they make mild contact with him.

    Isnt this the same guy who ran over Luis Scola two season ago?

    Bench was awesome last night. I’m just hoping they can continue the terrific play in Game 5.

  • 808

    Ha. Props for the Alvin Gentry/Mr. Mackey comment. I noticed it in Game 2 and then today again, on that exact clip you’re referring to. I was wondering if anyone was going to say something about Gentry’s voice. Good job, Dime.

    Next one, then…can you figure out what the hell is with Kobe’s jaw thing he does anytime he starts heating up? Is that his “menacing” look?

    Thanks.

  • bing

    More a lack of rebounding than problems on offense for the Lakers. Will be interesting in LA.

  • K Dizzle

    Great game by the Suns bench.
    I was sayin before the series started that the Suns needed Robin Lopez to even give em a chance. Dude does his dirt off the stat sheets. He plays great defense, boards hard and suddenly dude’s hittin the open 18 footer.
    Dude makes a difference point blank. Lakers starters owned the Suns starters. Heads rip on Fish but Nash was 3-11. Difference in the game was 4 times down, Lakers came down and had wide open 3s. Farmar, Odom, Artest and Fish all missed while the Suns answered with Frye, Barbosa, Dudley, all 3s. Game.
    All good tho, home teams holdin serve. Knew Phoenix was good and that’s why I’m glad we got the homecourt. Gasol needs to toughen up. He played soft as shit in the 2nd half and Bynum’s startin to favor that leg. My man needs to take a cortisone shot and go.
    I remember when the Thunder did us dirty in OKC. I expect the same results again.
    Lakers Alllllll Day, baby!

  • deeds

    Amazing game last night. The Phoenix bench is just so fun to watch, and the team overall just has amazing chemistry. Grant Hill has gone on record saying this team has the best chemistry of any in his entire career. I nearly jumped out of my seat on that Dragic play.

    Kobe had a nice game, but his whole “im gonna stick my lower jaw out and look like a badger” routine after he hits a tough shot has got to go. He just started doing it last year. It’s as if he went home, looked in the mirror and practiced it. It seems like Kobe tries so hard to be a cool cat like MJ but just doesn’t have it in him. Everything he does comes off as contrived

    I pray the Suns can win this series but would still be surprised if it happens

  • common sense

    lol @#13 808, kobes menacing looking is straight funny. he also doesn’t seem like he bitches as much these days. just holds his tongue and gets on with the job.

    and man, Goran Dragic. i see him becoming an elite pg sooner than some think. i know he had a 23 point quarter against the spurs but yesterday he distributed eloquently in which i thought was the best he’s ever played. he was blazing whoever was on him and was looking to pass more often than shoot. his confidence in his abilities is sky high and you can tell.

    @#12 drew, you got a point but the suns outrebounded the lakers by quite a margin. the ticky tack fouls were in the suns favour especially in the period you mentioned but they still played better. but donaghy does have a point. NBA is like a soap opera. fantasy at times but what can you do?

  • common sense

    oh yeah, i see Dragic becoming a similar player to Ginobli. similar style of play.

  • ianny b

    Didn’t see this happening.Lakers in 6 though

  • flegman

    “Alvin Gentry sounds like Mr. Mackey from South Park? Here’s a sample of his miked-up segments: “We’ve gotta keep playing hard, mmmkay? Don’t lose focus, mmmkay? ”

    Just thought exactly the same

  • http://www.designbydesmond.com My Favorite Superhero

    I’m shocked the Lakers still can’t execute out in that zone, They had Gasol at high post, but everyone else just flashed to the three point line…when the passes were made, everyone was so afraid to miss a shot, that they ended up over-dribbling and causing bad spacing for the other players…

    LA needs to run high screen and rolls with Kobe and Gasol and have another big flashing ready to get a quick pass or a rebound…

    Also, I think it’s pretty evident…LA needs a capable PG, someone who is a PG not a guard…

  • karizmatic

    I’m not worried the Lakers will break the zone…Lakers in six, and actually I agree with Kobe in the post game interview it wasn’t the zone that caused them to lose it was the fact that they played no defense, although I could look at it and say well because of the zone Phoenix was able to get a lot more loooks in transition…so maybe it was the zone, no matter, the Lakers will break it next game.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Royal

    I honestly did not see the game (I was doing my own Kobe impersionation at the gym) But can someone tell me what was
    the real reason L .A lost (bad transition defense, no execution of the zone, or just a bad shooting night.)

  • http://facebook.com/togstadlives Jeremiah Togstad

    @ Royal, #31:

    According to Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol in their post-game press conferences, the reason LA lost was bad defense. More specific, Lakers struggled against the screen-and-rolls, left 3-point shooters wide open all game, and got killed on the boards (51 to 36, including 18 offensive re’s for Phoenix). In the end, LA just got out-hustled.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Royal

    oh ok thanks Jeremiah

  • control

    If Kobe wasn’t hitting shots that he shouldn’t have been jacking (3 point fadeaways early in the clock, etc) just because he’s Kobe and he was on…that second quarter would have been an absolute blow out. Like, 41-20. The Lakers were settling for long 2s, I think it was Steve Kerr who brought up the fact that the Lakers would have got like 8 extra points if their shooters didn’t have their foot on the 3pt line while shooting. Ron Artest is the biggest offender with that, the guy apparently can’t shoot unless his foot is clearly on the 3pt line.

    I think Lakers lost a lot of their intimidation factor that game…they just looked lost on defense and offense.

    I’m pulling for Suns in 6, but Suns in 7 will be acceptable ;)

  • sh!tfaced

    Shiiiiit. Long time no smack.

    LMFAO @ Mr Mackey… been trying to put my finger at it and DIME crew finally nailed it.

    Now it’s offical, Mr Mackey is a waaayyy better coach than Mr Pringles.

    And it’s not only Kobe’s jaw, when those nostrils flare up, you can almost see his brains through them nose holes if he looks up the scoreboard…

    (Borrowing a line from Alf) I bet my lunch money QQ will be back if, that’s a big IF, the Magic win game 5…???

  • LakeShow84

    Given the defense wasnt up to par..

    Its pretty hard to play tough, physical, PLAYOFF D when the 3 blind mice are callin a one sided affair.. i couldnt even count the bailout calls on 1 hand.. GTFOH

    That game still got my blood boiling :/

    Offense looked good.. Bench wasnt that bad.. Defense wasnt so great..

    Alvin Gentry the truth tho.. Extremely underrated coach..

  • LakeShow84

    THIS SERIES WILL BE CLOSED THE F#$K OUT IN PHOENIX

  • control

    LakeShow84

    I agree with you about it being closed out in Phoenix…of course it will be closed up BY the SUNS!!!

    The officiating DOES suck, but I didn’t see it really going against the Lakers THAT much. The Lakers just played meekly, it’s all on them…

  • LakeShow84

    @ Control

    Lol @ THAT MUCH..

    Come on now.. it aint like they shot over 40 but we outscored them in the paint so that shows we were trying to establish an inside presence and we still came out on the short end.. Gasol only shoots 5 FT’s and Bynum ZERO?? I guess Asmundson and Lopez are BEASTS like that right?

    And f#$k Robin Lopez..

    Given we had problems (28 3’s??) the ticky tack shit just got on my nerves..

    Too many times i saw Suns players flippin and floppin all over the place on OFFENSE and getting calls on that bullshit.. JRich fell a good 3 times on his own and got foul calls on that BULLSHIT.. GTFOH..

    And i expect you to say Phoenix in 6.. You tend to have hater tendencies :)

  • control

    LakeShow84

    You watch a team that has Derek Fisher falling to the ground every other play (offense and defense) and you are going to complain about JRich playing copycat? Come on, at least JRich isn’t throwing sneak elbows and semi-dirty plays all over the place like Fish does.

    You guys got like 13 offensive rebounds, which correlates pretty closely to the points in the paint…you guys only tossed it down to the low post 2-3 times a quarter, if that. Even with you guys shooting 28 3s (to the Suns’ 30), look at how many LONG 2s you guys shot. You guys didn’t drive to the lane very often, and didn’t post up…you guys are good but ya can’t be the Suns at their own game.

    You guys should be tearing up Amudson and Lopez (unless they really did swap for Brook…) but you gotta pass the ball down there to do any damage. Why is Artest jacking up 13 shots? 5 of them from 3, and the other 8 with his foot on the line (twice when he had NASH on him…fade away 3 point when you have STEVE NASH on you?).

    The refs in general are calling about 50% more fouls than they should be. On both sides, but they did favor the Suns the last two games because they were being A LOT more aggressive attacking and penetrating.

    I’m not being a hater, I just want to see Steve Nash win a ring…I almost want the Lakers to win, because if the Celts beat the Magic…I don’t think the Suns can beat the Celtics unless they really run those old fucks into the ground hardcore.

  • LAballer

    thing is..if you’re going to call it tight..call it tight BOTH WAYS…or even better..just let em play and stop calling WEAK SHIT…

    the problem is..the calls were not consistent..its definitely not ALL on the refs..the lakers lost that game..they played timid..hesitated a lot..didn’t attack the zone..played pheonix suns defense (none) and were just all around not on game..

    ive just always said one thing..keep the calls consistent..that they were not…

    still no reason to get all scurred and start shivering..keep in mind these are the defending champs and that they have a reputation especially this year for playing down to their opponents and only truly showing up when the pressure is on em..well..the pressure is back on em now..expect a big difference come game 5..

  • LakeShow84

    Im STILL heated!! lol

    @ Control

    Good shit.. at least you got a valid reason cuz i know you aint no Suns fan.. Just had to check to see if you were one of those “i just want the Lakers to lose” peeps..

    And thanks for pointing all that out, i really appreciate that lol.. Ill admit we were too much perimeter oriented..

    You could say we “Vinced it” that game..

    Sorry VC fans.. had to lol

  • LakeShow84

    I was really hoping for a sweep in this series thats probably why im mad..

    or at least a 5 game series.. im still heated from 06-07..

  • Claw

    I was at the game and I thought the Suns weren’t getting calls, the LA fans need to blame it on someone since your first team was getting it handed to them by the Sun’s bench.

    Suns went 7 minutes in the 4th with the second unit and extended the lead, hitting 3s and playing D, Kobe only getting 4 shots in the 4th?

    The Suns average 30 FTs a game at home and they got 32, yeah a conspiracy. Lakers aren’t going to get a call by shooting 3s all game.

    Going as I said, I hope for a victory in LA but I don’t think that will happen, Suns bench is not as good on the road and Odom and the rest of the Lakers play better at home.

  • http://Www.dimemag.com Smitty

    Delonte west is a savage

  • Fox

    amare been bustin ass…..he been tearin gasol up he like a damn tank or sumthin lol

  • mang

    I find it funny that just because you want the other team to win, it automatically makes you a hater.

  • Claw

    Is Delonte West banging Lebron’s Mom?

    I heard from a guy that does security at Quicken that before game 5 they had to break up a fight in the locker room and the room was trashed.

    Then color guy and former player Calvin Murphy said its true. If so, how whacked is Delonte? Lebron’s mom looks like the maid from the Jeffersons.

  • the cynic

    The refs were ok though I think a couple of fouls could have been called while rebounding, but it is deep in the playoffs. The ft disparity is misleading because of the 10 extra free throws at the end of the game. The biggest problem for the lakers offense is that the triangle is supposed to run through the low post, but post touches have been cut by 2/3 due to the zone

    This was the first time in long time I thought Kobe needed to shoot until his arm fell off. He is the only perimeter player with the ball handling, agility, and passing needed to carve up the zone. Plus he was on fire and only took 22 shots

  • dg

    i really love watching SUNS BENCH DRAGIC ma new fav.player