Phoenix Rising

By: 05.24.10  •  53 Comments

Say what you want about Amar’e Stoudemire — can’t play D, won’t rebound, doesn’t lead under pressure — but you can’t downplay the fact that he stepped up last night and carried the Phoenix Suns when their backs were against a wall. In a must-win Game 3, Amar’e dumped 42 points (14-22 FG, 14-18 FT) and 11 boards on the Lakers as the Suns attacked L.A.’s defense throughout the night (take notes, Orlando), finally won the frontcourt battle, and simply executed better down the stretch … You want to know why Amar’e is gonna make max or damn-near max money this summer? Check the play in the fourth quarter where he had Pau Gasol 1-on-1, gave him a shoulder fake and blew past him on the baseline, then dropped in an up-and-under reverse layup. Not many 6-10 dudes in the League can pull off that kind of move, and then the next time down the court dunk on your whole team … With the Suns playing zone, L.A. was baited into shooting a lot more threes than usual (9-for-32). Their ability to dominate the paint was also hampered by Andrew Bynum getting into foul trouble — four fouls in just seven minutes on the court — and being bothered by his sore knee. Lamar Odom also wasn’t nearly as effective (10 pts, 6 rebs). We heard L.O. got a bad batch of Skittles before the game … Kobe dropped 36 points, 9 boards, 11 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in the loss. Dime is giving away one of these “Only Kings Have Rings” Kobe tees from The Forest Lab to the reader who guessed the stat line closest to Kobe’s actual Game 3 output. If you put in your bid, double-check and see if you came close … Things almost got Knicks/Heat style ugly in the third quarter when Robin Lopez (20 pts) was running back on D after a Phoenix bucket and brushed into Derek Fisher (18 pts). Apparently D-Fish didn’t like that and chased after Lopez — although it didn’t seem like he really wanted to catch him — before teammates stepped in to calm the situation down. Fisher is pretty jacked, and Robin might look like the world’s biggest World of Warcraft geek (Brook is in the Top-5), but we’d still have to go with Lopez in that fight … With 19 seconds left in the game, and the Suns having already locked it up, Fisher tried to jump Steve Nash (17 pts, 15 asts) on an inbound play and cracked him in the face, possibly breaking Nash’s nose in the process. We can’t remember Nash taking so much punishment when he played for the Mavs; it’s like ever since the MVP’s he’s been a magnet for elbows and shoulders and scorer’s tables … Shannon Brown finally upstaged his missed-dunk “highlight,” even getting the road crowd amped when he flew into the paint for a two-hand tip dunk on a Bynum missed free throw. Shannon was hovering around behind Bynum before the shot, and when nobody on the Suns paid him any attention, he took off into the lane as if he knew exactly where Bynum would be off the mark … Despite the win, Channing Frye is still having a terrible series. He went 0-for-7 yesterday (0-5 from three) and through three games is 1-for-20 from the field. Shaq would be more of a long-range threat for the Suns right now if all he had to do was camp out beyond the arc … If you watched the “Lost” series finale, feel free to take a crack at defending it below. Seemed like a big cop-out if you ask us. We saw some ads hyping it as the “biggest TV event of the decade.” If that means the 2010-2019 decade, that’s not saying much. The biggest TV event of the last five months? Besides the Super Bowl, the next-best competition for “Lost” would have been, what, the pilot episode of “Basketball Wives”? … We’re out like Channing …

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