Thursday , May , 03 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Amare Stoudemire & Phoenix Suns Advance By Frustrating Kobe Bryant & L.A. Lakers

This year wasn’t like last year. There was no battle between the Suns and the Lakers. Phoenix rolled L.A. 4-1 … Stoudemire was huge, posting a double-double … How does ‘STAT’ improve Phoenix’s chances of winning an NBA Title? … And who should the Lakers trade for in the off-season? … Click here for this and much, much, more …

What Happened: The were inconsistent in beating the 119-110, taking the series 4-1 on Wednesday night at US Airways Center.

Phoenix moves on to face San Antonio in the second round of the playoffs.

The Suns never trailed in this game and even led by as many as 16 points. But they also failed to put the feisty Lakers away, losing their concentration and taking too long to secure the victory.
and had strong games for Phoenix. Stoudemire had 27 points and 16 rebounds while Marion chipped in with 26 points to go with 10 boards.

scored 17 points and dished out 10 assists. He also had seven turnovers.

scored 34 points, but connected on just 13-of-33 field goal attempts. had 33 points and 10 rebounds in the loss for the Lakers.

Game one between the Suns and Spurs goes Sunday in Phoenix.

Reaction of Phoenix guard Steve Nash
on the easy win:
"It was I guess, a fairly comfortable situation. It never got real desperate. We didn’t obviously blow them out, but I thought we did a good job. We weren’t real sharp, but that’s a tough situation. They had nothing to lose. Everyone expects them to be out." (ESPN)

Reaction of Los Angeles guard Kobe Bryant on making changes this summer:
"Do it and do it now. Personally for me, it’s beyond frustration — three years and still being at ground zero. This summer’s a big summer. We have to see what direction we want to take as an organization and make those steps and make them now." (CNNSI)

My Take: This series lacked the excitement of last year’s Suns-Lakers series. Phoenix won because they’re loaded with talent.  Los Angeles lost because they have very little talent after Bryant and Odom.

Phoenix weren’t at their best in game five. Not even close. But they still won without working up much of a sweat. Stoudemire was impressive, getting to the free-throw line 21 times. He gives the Suns an inside presence, something they lacked last year.

Los Angeles must find better players to complement Bryant. Right now, Kobe Bean’s hitting his peak. But the Lakers are wasting #24’s all-world talent by surrounding him with underachieving, journeymen.

The purple-and-gold should take another run at Jason Kidd. But he’s probably off the trading block and staying in the swamps of Jersey. Jermaine O’Neal, the long-time Indiana Pacer, is also a possibility.

Nothing is guaranteed in Laker-nation. The only certainty is that changes will soon be forthcoming. They must do more for Bryant or they risk alienating their franchise star.

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