During the first two games of the Western Conference finals, Stoudemire played poorly according to critics and came under attack because of his poor rebounding as well as his comments about Lakers’ Lamar Odom “luck” in Game 1. But in this third game, Stoudemire said he wanted to dominate and indeed that’s what he did. And because he was, they defeated the Lakers.
The Suns saw a different Stoudemire during the practice, and the Lakers saw and experienced a different Stoudemire during the game and they weren’t ready for him. He was driving to the baskets, making jumpers, drawing fouls and the Lakers couldn’t stop him. Added to that was the fact that Robin Lopez also followed Stoudemire's lead and scored 20 points while Steve Nash scored 17 points and 15 assists. The Suns’ zone defense in the second quarter until the end dared the Lakers to beat them from the outside. Unfortunately, the Lakers were not up to the Suns game and so they lost. They were not sharp to the execution against the zone and bomb away outside instead of forcing their way to the middle. And according to the Lakers themselves, it was an accumulation of numerous miscues like foul trouble, missed shots, missed layups, some turnovers and more of those little mistakes that create a bigger one.
And so we still can’t say it’s going to be Lakers vs. Celtics for the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Game 4 is in the Suns’ turf and unless the Lakers come up with better execution they might just come back to Los Angeles tied at 2-2. For now, it’s not a good time to be wearing a teamwear of the Lakers of Celtics because we still don’t know the outcome of the next games.