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NBA Playoffs 2007 First Round: Lakers vs. Suns, Game 3.

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NBA Playoffs 2007 First Round
Los Angeles Lakers 1 vs. Phoenix Suns 4

Series Index:
Game 1: Suns 95, Lakers 87 at Phoenix. - Game recap & pictures
Game 2
: Suns 126, Lakers 98 at Phoenix. - Game recap & pictures
Game 3: Lakers 95, Suns 89 at Los Angeles - Game recap & pictures
Game 4: Suns 113, Lakers 100 at LA Lakers - Game recap & pictures
Game 5: Suns 119, Lakers 110 at Phoenix - Game recap & pictures

Back to Playoffs 2007

GAME 3:  Lakers 95 - Suns 89

Lakers still have some pride left

Leaders: points rebounds assists
Lakers 45: Bryant 16: Odom 6: Bryant
Suns 24: Stoudemire 10: Stoudemire 13: Nash
  1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
LAL 17 31 26 21 95
Pho 31 20 19 19 89
click for Lakers Playoff pictures (LA Daily News), Kwame Brown, Game 3
click for pictures

4/26 - STAPLES CENTER - LOS ANGELES. 4/26: After an humiliating 28-point loss in the previous game, the Lakers showed they still got some pride left, did not demoralized with a 17-point first-quarter deficit, fought for every ball and finally won game 3 95-89.

The Lakers were carried by Kobe Bryant's excellent play, their inside effort, basically from Lamar Odom and Kwame Brown and by a never-give-up attitude. Kobe scored when necessary, delivered when it was needed and finished with 45 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.Odom had 18 points and Brown a playoff career-high 19, making real damage in the paint and limiting Amare Stoudamire who got in early foul trouble.

It started pretty bad for L.A. who was losing 11-0 just two minutes into the game and 31-14 with 1 minute to go in the first quarter. But Phil Jackson's team slowly reduced the margin to end the first half down 51-48 and went ahead for the first time 56-55 with 7:18 to go in the third. It was close after that until Barbosa tied it for the last time 89-89 with 2 minutes to go in the fourth but then the Lakers make all the right moves including a blocked shot by Brown, 2 points from Odom and 4 from Kobe that decided the score.

It was clear in game 1 that the Lakers had to change something because they couldn't survive just interchanging baskets with the best offensive team of the league and Odom showed the path with his rebounding, he was there to fight for every ball, ended up with 16 rebounds and the Lakers dominated the offensive boards 19-6. This was key because didn't allow the Suns to run the floor and score 3 seconds after grabbing a defensive rebound, wich is one of their killing weapons. The Lakers also changed the defensive assignment a lot in the pick and rolls wich mostly left them with no so good match ups but prevented in big part Phoenix excellent ball movement.

The big question now is: can the Lakers, who have been a completely unstable team during the season, keep this 48-minute attitude for 3 more games? That's their only chance to win the series.

The Quotes

Luke Walton (LAL):"We were out there having fun. Everyone was jumping up and down and excited for each other. That was what we've been missing the last few weeks. I just hope we can carry this newfound chemistry to Sunday. I hope we don't start hating each other."

Mike D'Antoni (Phoenix Coach): "You've got to give them credit. Things were so easy at the beginning. Human nature took over. Kobe down the stretch was too much to handle. They got 19 offensive rebounds -- that was the game."

Kobe Bryant (LAL): "When you're in this position, you're down 2-0, you put your tail between your legs and run or you fight. I made a statement earlier in the week that this game would be a good indicator to see how many fighters we have on this team. To a man, everybody stepped up and responded to the challenge."

Highlights

L.A. Lakers Phoenix Suns
Kobe Bryant: 45 pts, 6 reb, 6 ast
Kwame Brown: 19 pts, 6 reb, 2 bl
Lamar Odom: 18 pts, 16 reb, 2 bl
Luke Walton: 5 pts, 3 reb
Andrew Bynum: 3 pts, 3 reb
A. Stoudemire: 24 pts, 10 reb, 3 ast, 2 bl
Leandro Barbosa
: 20 pts, 5 reb
Steve Nash
: 10 pts, 4 reb, 13 ast
Shawn Marion: 10 pts, 4 reb, 2 bl
Raja Bell: 9 pts, 3 reb, 5 ast

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