Suns-Lakers: Across the nation May 24

The Phoenix Suns squashed the Los Angeles Lakers’ hopes of a Western Conference Finals sweep with a crucial Game 3 win. Baffling the Lakers with zone defense, the Suns defended their home court and avoided a 3-0 hole. As the Suns try to even the series before heading back to L.A., here’s what they’re saying across the nation…

  • Bright Side of the Sun’s Seth Pollack reports from the media circus at US Airways Center that the Suns may not be the only team in the series with a weakness on one end of the floor: “The real untold story for this series so far is the Lakers defense or lack thereof.”
  • ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande on Suns coach Alvin Gentry’s use of zone defense Sunday night: “For a moment, as Alvin Gentry prepared to discuss the Suns’ 118-109 victory over the Lakers in Game 3, he made a motion as if he were going to sit at the separate podium normally used by Phil Jackson for his news conferences. Gentry thought better of it, but if ever there were a night for him to try resting on Jackson’s throne, it would be Sunday, when the coaching move of the game belonged to Gentry.”
  • Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times says it’s time for the Lakers to bench Andrew Bynum so he’s rested when the Lakers “possibly meet the Celtics” in the NBA Finals, and Plaschke clearly doesn’t like the Suns’ chances in this 2-1 series: “If the Lakers can’t beat the Suns without Bynum, then they don’t deserve to go to the NBA Finals anyway. This is not about the last week in May. This is about the first week in June. This is about a run at Kendrick Perkins and the Boston Celtics and history.”
  • Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold gives the Suns ample credit, but says it wasn’t just their efforts that shape Game 3: “As much as the Suns deserve credit, the Lakers deserve blame.  And loads of it.  Not every player that saw game action played poorly, but most did.  And while we saw Kobe, Fisher, and Gasol put up wonderful stat lines and display their fierce competitiveness, this team — as a unit — did not play smart basketball and it cost them the chance to win this game.”
  • The Arizona Republic‘s Paul Coro discusses the presence of Robin Lopez in Game 3 and the need for the Suns to stay big against the Lakers: “The most stunning part of Lopez’s 20-point game would be that it was just his third game back from a seven-week absence for a bulging disk … if it was not his third career playoff game too.”
  • On the Land O’ Lakers blog, Brian Kamenetzky examines the Andrew Bynum question.
  • Chris Tomasson of FanHouse describes the Suns’ reaction to Steve Nash’s broken nose and continued displays of toughness.
  • Basketball Prospectus‘ Kevin Pelton on the hottest Suns-Lakers topic of the day: the zone.
  • Ken Berger of CBS Sports praises Amare Stoudemire’s efforts, saying he delivered the way a superstar should.
  • Stefan Swiat of Suns.com caught up with Larry Fitzgerald and Kurt Warner at Sunday’s game to talk hoops.

Tags: Links Los Angeles Lakers Phoenix Suns Playoffs

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