Game Three was a fluke. Amare scored 42 points! Forty-two points! He had a 42-point and 11-rebound game against the Los Angeles Lakers at home. It was only natural that they were going to win Game Three. Of course, winning Game Four meant that the Suns "only" held home-court, exactly what a professional franchise is supposed to do.
I get it.
So we're heading back to the Staples Center with a 2-2 tied series. The Lakers won at home and the Suns won at home. This is to be expected, and, thankfully for Lakers fans, it's exactly what happened during the first round when Kobe and his club faced the Oklahoma City Thunder and found themselves drained with a 2-2 tie against the rookie team.
Anyone who pays attention to basketball saw the determination of Kobe Bryant after that loss. It wasn't just Kobe, though, it was also Pau. They made it clear that the Thunder would not win another game. They made it clear that there was no reason for them to panic. They proved who they were by playing hard the next two games and closing out the series.
There's one problem, though: these Suns are not those Thunder.
I've talked about my stats. So far, they've wronged me horribly with the Magic-Celtics series, but let's be honest, who cares about the Magic and Celtics? That's the Eastern Conference of the NBA, or, in other words, the AFC of the NFL.
It's clear the most talent is concentrated in the West. Look at the records during the regular season and who "qualified" for the post-season in the first place to know what I'm talking about. The fact is that the season is ALWAYS determined in the West, it just depends on which teams from the West shows up to the Finals.
Last year, thankfully, the Lakers played against an inexperienced Orlando team and brought it home to the better coast —the coast that Fredrick Jackson Turner saw as the closing of America's final frontier. Now we're looking at the Western Conference Finals, tied between the Phoenix Suns, who support "immigration," and the Los Angeles Lakers, who have been the Western states' team since they moved from Minnesota.
I'm rambling, with apologies, but I seem to remember posting comments on other authors' articles on this very site about the differences between the Suns' and Lakers' benches before this series and thankfully, tonight the Suns' bench—which was consistent throughout the season—outscored the Lakers' second unit, 54-20.
What a relief!
Finally, after three terrible games, Channing Frye and Goran Dragic showed up! Seriously, I asked the Lakers' fans how long they thought our shooters would be in a drought while their suspect players would shoot lights out, and finally, Suns fans, I know you feel me, our bench has finally showed up.
Frye had 14 points, shooting 50 percent from downtown (slightly above his season average), while the Slovenian Goran Dragic told L.A.'s defense to "simmer down" because they couldn't hold 'em.
I love it.
Kobe showed up, of course, we knew he would. And ol' Pau Gasol, the 21st Century's version of Hernan Cortes, added 15 points, but the Lakers have been dependent on those two guys the entire season while the Suns have needed their deep bench. Guess what won the game...I'll wait.
Well, honestly, the dynamic duo of Kobe-Pau outscored the Phoenix bench's duo of Channing and Goran by 31 points, but, it takes a lot more than two players to win in the NBA. This has been the only reason the Suns have had an advantage over the Lakers in this post-season.
Perhaps Odom, Artest, Brown, and Farmar will show up in Game Five at the Staples Center on Thursday night, but let's be honest—their performance during the season says that they won't. They have, in an homage to Bud Light of all things, been tapped.
Lakers fans, I told you to worry, if you pay any attention to all the series coverage on this site with my various comments, and now you have more than enough reason to believe it. Two games, two nine-point victories by the Suns? That looks awfully consistent to me.
See, the difference between the Suns and the Lakers, this season, is simple. We have a better team and you have better starters. In the playoffs, it takes a team.
In modesty, however, I admit, that the Suns could lose in L.A., and the Lakers could still win this series, but if you want that trophy in the West, go for Phoenix, they're 2-0 against the Celtics this season AND they smile more!
It's a series now, let's enjoy it. And, because I should, thanks for coming back, Mr. Frye. All orange-blooded Americans missed you.