The Phoenix Suns played like NBA Champions when they defeated the tenacious Lakers in OT, 126-118, in their 2nd straight elimination game. The series is now tied at 3-3. The deciding game is going to be played in Phoenix, and if the Suns continue their outstanding play and feed off the hometown crowd, the Lakers are goners.
Should LA fall, the rest of the surviving Western teams have cause for alarm. The Clipps? Hell no, they don’t have a chance against the Suns team I watched play earlier. The Spurs and Mavs…these teams can beat the Suns, especially the defending champs, but it’ll be a long series.
With Raja Bell suspended for one game, the Suns entered the match teetering on the brink of an early playoff exit. But Phoenix showed class, grit, composure, and of course their famed firepower to overcome Kobe Bryant’s tremendous 50-point performance. The heart-pounding game deserves to be included in the NBA’s Hardwood Classics for sheer basketball drama.
I wasn’t a Suns fan before this game. Now I am. Let’s see if LA can give Phoenix a dose of its own medicine in hostile territory. With Kobe putting up Jordan-esque performaces, they surely can — but they’ll need a reinvigorated Suns team to cooperate.
Postscript. The New Jersey Nets ran the Pacers out of their own turf, 96-90, thereby eliminating Indiana from the playoff picture. The Miami Heat did the same to the Chicago Bulls, 113-96; Shaq seemed to be his old dominant self, scoring 30 points and hauling down 20 caroms.