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Suns shoot the lights out. Series is tied at 2.

05/26/2010

The Phoenix Suns Channing Frye was on the verge of a streak of detrimental proportions. He missed his last 17 shots. Four more he would have broken the record for most consecutive shots missed in the playoffs.

That’s when Suns point guard Leandro Barbosa set Frye up for a three-point shot that he knocked down that would kick-start Phoenix in the second half.

Phoenix then launched – and made a barrage of three-point shots in the quarter and further distance themselves from the Lakers, eventually winning 115-106.

The Suns bench was the key. They outscored their counter parts from Los Angeles 54-20 and won the game themselves. No player from Phoenix played more than 35 minutes. Frye led them with 31. It was a total team effort and the starters spent most of their time on the bench. They have climbed back into this series when everyone had left them for dead.  Their fortunes have changed thanks to a zone defense that has the Lakers befuddled, however you wouldn’t be able to tell that if you asked coach Phil Jackson.

“We shot 49 percent from the field so we have shot well,” Jackson said. “We just have to defend better.”

Los Angeles has shot an uncharacteristic 30 three-point shots in two games. In both games on the Suns home court, they have gone away getting the ball into the post. They attempted to go basket for basket with the Suns in the second half and they didn’t keep up. The only Laker who had a good game was Kobe Bryant.

“Don’t ask about our offense, we need to play better defense,” said Bryant, who went into black mamba mode to the sum of 39 points and 10 assist for the game.

Simply put, the Lakers are a five deep team. Take away Bryant, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum – when he’s healthy, who on their team strikes fear in any way. Derek Fisher is a support player and the bench players are scorers, not shooters.

Jackson is held in high regard as the Zen Master of coaches in the National Basketball Association. He now has to prove now that he can beat a simple zone defense, of which he hasn’t had an answer for yet.

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