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Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers, Game 3

Recap: LA Lakers vs. Phoenix

Sports Network | May 20, 2010


Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant scored 21 points, and deferred to his teammates to the tune of a career playoff-high 13 assists, as the Lakers rolled once again over Phoenix, 124-112, in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals at Staples Center.

Pau Gasol was the benefactor of Bryant's charity, scoring a game-high 29 points with nine rebounds and five assists. Ron Artest scored 18 points and Lamar Odom, after being called "lucky" by Suns forward Amare Stoudemire for his play in Game 1, notched a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

"We like to control the pace, but we feel comfortable at an accelerated pace," said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson after the Lakers again topped the 120- point barrier after pouring in 128 in a high-scoring Game 1. "We have to figure out how often to run."

The Lakers won their 10th straight home playoff game and eighth straight postseason contest overall. Game 3 shifts to the Valley of the Sun on Sunday.

"We need to take better shots (in Phoenix)." said Bryant. "They (the Suns) are much better at running at home."

Jason Richardson scored 27 points and Grant Hill added 23 for the Suns, who were outscored 34-22 in the final period. Stoudemire scored 18 points with six rebounds and Steve Nash added 11 points and 15 assists in defeat.

"What can you say? We can't slow them down. Every single time we made an adjustment they went someplace else," said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry.

Phoenix was stuck in a rut early, allowing the Lakers to have their way offensively in the opening 12 minutes. Bryant scored nine points with six assists, and the Lakers reeled off eight straight to break at 13-13 tie capped by Gasol's jumper. The edge grew to a dozen by quarter's end thanks to seven straight, finished by Odom's reverse layup and Artest's three-pointer.

The Suns looked like the Suns, high-flying and attacking the basket, in scoring 66 points over the second and third periods. The game was tied at 90 by the end of the third period. However, they reverted back to their first- period form in the final 12 minutes.

"We are still scoring enough points, we just have to find a way to slow them down," said Nash.

The Lakers scored 16 of the period's first 21 points, including the last nine cemented by Odom's steal and Bryant's mid-range bucket for a 106-95 margin. The edge never got under eight, before Los Angeles put the game away with six straight, punctuated by Odom's slam for a 120-106 advantage with 1:57 to play.

Phoenix cut the large first-quarter deficit to five at 47-42 on a Stoudemire free throw with just over five minutes left in the half. The Lakers followed the momentum shift with a quick five points and held an 11-point edge late in the period before heading into the locker room with a 65-56 lead.

Hill, who scored just three points in the first half, made 6-of-7 shots for 14 points in the third, many times finding empty holes vacated by a help defender off dribble penetration by Nash, who had six assists in the period. Hill scored eight straight points for the Suns late, including three mid-range jumpers - the last tying the game at 88 with 1:13 left in the quarter. Nash's running shot in the closing seconds sent the game tied to the fourth.

Phoenix shot 63.6 percent in the third quarter to get back into the game, but allowed the Lakers to make 57.7 percent of their shots on the game...Jordan Farmar added 11 points for the Lakers...Jared Dudley boosted the Suns off the bench with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting...Phoenix lost for the first time in these playoffs when scoring 30-or-more points in two periods...The game featured six ties and two lead changes...These two teams have met 11 times in postseason play dating date to the 1969-70 season...Channing Frye, a big part of the Phoenix offensive attack, didn't score, missing all five shots he attempted in just over 8 1/2 minutes of game action...Phoenix has lost its last seven Western Conference Final tilts versus the Lakers.