Amare Stoudemire scored a career playoff high 42 points in a Game 3 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns power forward also pulled down 11 rebounds in a performance he had been waiting to deliver since Lamar Odom had a breakout performance in Game 1.
“You can never question my determination,” said Stoudemire. “My focus, my dedication. That’s one of the reasons I’ve persevered through injuries and continue to try to improve every summer. My dedication to the game is at an all-time high.”
Stoudemire was helped by a strong supporting cast including 20 points from Robin Lopez, 19 from Jason Richardson, and 17 from Steve Nash. Lopez’s seven-foot frame gave the Suns the presence they needed inside, shooting 8-10 from the field and playing the most minutes since coming off a back injury.
Richardson salvaged the Suns three-point attack scoring four out of the five Suns three pointers. He shot 4-7 overall, the most deadly with 26 seconds left to close the door on the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant tried to help his team with 36 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds. Pau Gasol had an impressive 23 point game, but the rest of the Lakers did not provide the support they did in the first two games. Andrew Bynum, believed by some to be the Laker’s key to winning the series, was absent scoring only two points in eight minutes.
Laker coach Phil Jackson was not happy with his team’s fourth quarter performance.
“We certainly didn’t come out to play the way I wanted,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “And we certainly didn’t play the way I wanted at the end.”
“They attacked the hoop today,” Jackson said. “And, you know, earned 42 foul shots. That’s really the game plan. We seemed to be staying home on the 3-point shooters, and Stoudemire and Lopez had a night for them.”
Odom, who scored 19 and grabbed 19 rebounds in Game 1, shot just 4-14 and added six rebounds. Both he and Bynum were in foul trouble early, and were not able to have much impact on the game. Jackson said Bynum could miss Game 4.
“I’ll talk to him and see how he feels about it,” Jackson said. “I think he was ineffective. There were some things that got by him.”
The Suns implemented a zone defense that seemed to slowed the Lakers offense down from their numbers in the first two games of the series. While the Lakers shot 58 percent in those games, they only shot 48 percent in Game 3.
Online Sportsbooks have set the LA Laker’s chances of winning the 2010 NBA Finals at 2/3. The Phoenix Suns have a lesser chance at 14/1.