3/22/11: Lakers Defeat Suns In Triple OT

I’m going to scrap the traditional recap post today and use my time to discuss this game because the other two were each decided by over 30 points (CHI over ATL 114-81, POR over WAS 111-76).  I do feel the need to note that probable league MVP Derrick Rose had another excellent showing with 30 points and 10 assists on 11-20 in under 30 minutes of play.  Rose played so well that Hawks fans actually chanted “MVP!” as he rained threes on their hometown heroes.  Said Josh Smith: “This is starting to get embarrassing.”  Well Josh, embarrassment is just part of the job when you’re an Atlanta Hawk.

Alright… Vince Carter and the Suns got off to a hot start and had taken a 31-27 lead over LA by the end of the first quarter.  Steve Nash and Channing Frye executed some nice pick and roll action that got Derek Fisher stuck on the much larger Frye on multiple occasions, resulting in easy buckets.  Carter knocked down a pair of threes in the first five minutes… but he would go on to miss his next 11 from downtown.  His aforementioned rhythm didn’t last long, and he finished 7-23 from the field.  Still, the Suns continued to score effectively–55 points over the second and third quarters–but they couldn’t stop the Lakers; particularly Lamar Odom, who dropped 16 of his 29 during that stretch.  Lamar put up 16 boards to go along with those 29 points as he filled in for Andrew Bynum more than servicably.  Matt Barned helped to fill the void left in the bench with 13/5 on 6-9.  So while the Suns scored 55 points, the Lakers were busy lighting up the board with 68 of their own, putting them up 93-86 at the start of the fourth.  It certainly wasn’t a defensive struggle.  LA did cool off in the fourth, though, and while they missed four of their first five shots of the period Phoenix was busy going on a 12-4 run that put them within one point.  Back down six with under two minutes left, the Suns had LA seeing flashbacks to Tim Thomas as Channing Frye knocked down a big triple to cut the defecit to three.  Grant Hill would then proceed to do this… 


The Suns did an excellent job of spreading their three-point shooters across the floor, allowing Steve Nash to find an open Vince Carter, who made a great extra pass to an even more wide-open Grant Hill.  The Lakers kind of f@cked up getting two guys stuck trying to rotate to Nash, Carter, and Hill. 

Things got a little controversial in the final seconds of the first overtime.  Lamar Odom fouled Channing Frye to prevent him from launching a last-second three which would tie the game at 121, but Frye heaved the ball at the basket as Lamar made contact and the officials granted him three freebies.  Here’s the video…


I agreed with the call.  I think Channing had definitely begun to not only turn towards the basket, but also started the shooting motion when Odom hit him.  Frye knocked ‘em all down decisively, and it was on to the second OT.

The Lakers were the ones who trailed by two as the final buzzer of the second extra period approached.  It wasn’t looking good as Kobe Bryant drove baseline and was cut off with four seconds on the clock.  Somehow, though, while falling out of bounds, Kobe found Pau Gasol under the hoop with a bounce pass, and he was fouled (sorry, can’t find the video of this one.  See the game highlights).  Blame Marcin Gortat for losing track of Gasol, and credit Pau for coming up big and knocking them both down.

Third OT: enter Ron Artest…

He knocked down a midrange jumper on the following possession which put LA up five.  Channing Frye knocked down a three, but a driving bucket by Kobe Bryant put the lid on it.  Why the Suns chose not to foul before Kobe made his way into the paint and scored… I have no idea.  It almost appeared that they simply wanted to call it a night.  The Lakers finally won it by a score 139-137.  Kobe finished up with 42 points on 15-31.  Ron Artest not only came up big down the stretch, but had one of his best offensive showings of the season with 18 points on 7-14.  After it was all over he had this to say…

I’ll be interested to see this upcoming video.  Credit he and Lamar Odom for stepping their games up in the absence of Andrew Bynum, who has been playing some of the best ball of his career lately.  Credit Channing Frye for keeping the Suns in it on multiple occasions as he dropped 32.  The Lakers have still lost just one game since the All-Star break, and I must say that this game, while close, was nothing but another impressive performance.  The Suns shot nearly 50 percent, got great games from four players, knocked down 17 threes… and were beaten.  It takes a hell of an offensive showing to pull that off.

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