Suns facing elimination versus Lakers

By: Michael Robinson | Friday, May 28, 2010

Lamar Odom had 17 points and 13 boards in Los Angeles’ Game 5 win.

The Phoenix Suns have put up a valiant fight against the Los Angeles Lakers, but still trail 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals. Can they win again at home on Saturday night and force a Game 7 on Monday? has Phoenix as 1 ½-point home ‘chalk’ for Game 6 with a total of 216-points.

The Suns (64-33 straight-up, 58-37-1 against the spread) were outclassed the first two games in Los Angeles, before coming back to win two straight at home.

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Phoenix was a 7 ½-point road ‘dog for Game 5 on Thursday night. Los Angeles opened up a 17-point lead in the second quarter, only to see it cut to eight at halftime (53-45).

The Lakers had an 18-point lead in the third quarter, but saw Phoenix fight and claw all the way back. The game was tied at 101 after Suns’ guard Jason Richardson hit a three-pointer with just three seconds left. A Ron Artest put-back of a Kobe Bryant miss was the game-winner for Los Angeles.

The Suns had another heartbreaking playoff defeat, but did get the ‘cover’ in the 103-101 final. They’ve now ‘covered’ three straight games after starting the series 0-2 ATS.

The 204 combined points scored went way ‘under’ the 217-point total. The ‘over’ was 4-0 in the first four games of the series, with no total going under 221 points. The ‘over’ is now 10-2-1 in Los Angeles’ last 13 games.

Los Angeles (68-29 SU, 41-52-3 ATS) has to feel good that it won despite shooting 41.8 percent from the field. Bryant was 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) after shooting 55.7 percent the first four games.

The much-talked about Phoenix zone defense continued to bother Los Angeles at least some. However, point guard Derek Fisher did a better job with dribble penetration (key to beating a zone) and the Lakers got 19 offensive rebounds.

The Lakers’ bench was again outscored by its counterpart 31-24, but L.A. will live with that differential. It was a 54-20 advantage for Phoenix in Game 4. The Suns will need a big edge there on Saturday to win.

Los Angeles had similar trouble with Oklahoma City in the first round, up 3-2 heading into a Game 6 on the road. The Lakers responded with a close 95-94 win as one-point underdogs.

L.A. is 3-4 SU and ATS on the road in the playoffs. The Suns are 6-0 SU and ATS in their last six home playoff games. They lost their first playoff game at home to Portland.

Los Angeles is just 3-7 ATS on one day’s rest during the playoffs.

Center Andrew Bynum has been playing despite an injured knee (torn meniscus). He played 19 minutes last game and was 0-of-5 from the field. He did get four blocks and five offensive rebounds and is still a big presence out there.

Phoenix’ Steve Nash has looked like he’s been on the wrong side of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight in these playoffs. Nash played great last game with 29 points and 11 assists despite his recent broken nose. He also made several key plays down the stretch.

It’s that kind of effort that endears him to Phoenix fans, who will be fired up for another home game. However, another loss extends Phoenix’s playoff futility one more year.

TNT will have the 5:30 p.m. (PT) broadcast from US Airways Center. TNT will also have the potential Game 7 on Monday at 6 p.m. (PT).

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