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Even With Game Three Loss, Lakers Look To Be in Driver's Seat

PHOENIX - MAY 23:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the final moments of Game Three of the Western Conference finals against the Phoenix Suns of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on May 23, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Lakers 118-109.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Jason BrynsvoldCorrespondent IMay 25, 2010

The Phoenix Suns clearly outplayed the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Three on Sunday night. The Lakers had no answer for Amare Stoudemire down low and Robin Lopez even had 20 points against a soft LA defense. So why did this great game from the Suns prove to me that the Lakers still have no chance of losing this series?

Let's just be honest. Everything that could go right for the Suns did go right in Game Three. The home crowd fueled a second half run, Amare Stoudemire had his best playoff game ever, Robin Lopez came out of nowhere to supply 20 points, the Suns shot twice as many free throws as the Lakers and also only had seven turnovers all game.

Add that to the extremely poor performances from Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum, two key pieces on the other side of the court, and you get an obvious Suns victory.

Now I have to ask the question that I asked myself after watching last night's game. Do you expect a repeat performance from the Suns in Game Four? How about Game Five in LA? The answer to those questions should be a resounding no.

Everything went right for the Suns on Sunday yet they still needed a long fourth quarter run to pull ahead of Los Angeles for good.

The Lakers have a key advantage between games and that is coaching. Phil Jackson will find a way to correct the problems that appeared in Game Three and will have a game plan to attack the oft talked about zone defense that was rolled out in the second quarter on Sunday. Will the Suns have the ability to counter Jackson's game plan?

Expect Odom to come back strong on the glass in Game Four and expect there to be a lot of points in the paint from the Lakers side. The Suns will have to be able to play good collapsing defense on Gasol, Odom and Bynum or else they will be seeing a repeat of Games One and Two.

If they can't, you can put the final nail in the coffin for the Suns' 2009-2010 season.

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