The Los Angeles Lakers head into Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference finals tonight feeling confident after taking care of business at home and jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series over the Phoenix Suns. Even their fans added a little boost to their confidence level by chanting “Bring on Boston” before Game 1 was even over.
It appears as the Laker faithful might have had incite as to how things would shape up in the East as Boston appears to be in full control of their series and have jumped out to a 3-0 lead. However, the Lakers will have to find a way to win on the road as they look to make their third straight appearance in the NBA finals.
“Hopefully we can carry the momentum over from the way we’ve been playing at home,” Laker forward Lamar Odom said Saturday. “I don’t see why not.”
If they play the way they have in the first two games, the series could be over soon. The Lakers have averaged 126 points in this series and are riding an eight-game playoff winning streak. Playing at home has probably assisted with their offensive play, but how they respond against a hostile Suns’ fan base will be crucial.
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“We understand how tough it’s going to be in Phoenix,” Pau Gasol said. “The pace and energy they’re going to bring is going to be hard to match, but we have to understand who we are and play to our capabilities.”
While containing Gasol and Kobe Bryant is a task in itself, the Lakers have gotten the same type of offensive lift from the rest of their supporting cast. Jordan Farmar has been a force off the bench and has connected on 8-of-11 shots, including nailing 5 of his 6 3-point attempts. Stopping the Lakers offensively has been a problem according to Suns head coach Alvin Gentry.
“It’s almost like being a dike, you stick a finger in one hole and water comes out of another one,” Gentry said. “We’ve just got to find a way to have a whole lot of fingers, I guess.”
Maybe a return home will add an offensive spark for Phoenix that will combat the performance by the Lakers. One would think that averaging 109 points in the first two games would be enough, as well as shooting just over 49 percent. Apparently it isn’t with the way Los Angeles is playing.
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Channing Frye has struggled in the first two games and hit just 1 of 9 from three point land, but he is hitting 50 percent on 3’s at home in the playoffs. Steve Nash will need to step up his game after getting only 12 points in the first two games and has only taken 18 shots. Having him take more shots will be key, but Nash insists that he is taking the open shots he is given.
Despite being down 2-0, Phoenix heads into Game 3 as the favorite according to NBA sportsbooks. The game has an over/under set at 219 points.