Too much Suns shine

first_imgThe only trap for the Lakers was the one they fell into Sunday, when they seemingly deluded themselves into thinking they had the answers to the riddles of slowing down Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. After a one-game blip, the Suns resumed their domination of the series’ pace, resolved all of their issues from the previous game and put themselves on the brink of the second round with an easy 113-100 Game 4 victory over the Lakers in front of a deflated crowd of 18,997 at Staples Center. Nash, stifled in Game 3 when the Lakers confused him and the Suns with a trapping defense, reasserted his authority and had 23 assists, one short of the NBA playoff record, and 17 points. Stoudemire, harassed at both ends by Kwame Brown threedays earlier, dominated from the start, finished with 27 points and 21 rebounds and eliminated any semblance of an inside game by the Lakers. “They made their adjustments to what we were doing,” said Kobe Bryant, who scored a team-high 31 points to go with nine assists and seven rebounds. “We made some pretty good adjustments during the course of the game, but it wasn’t enough. They just had too much firepower for us today.” In an odd, full-circle sort of way, the Lakers must now draw motivation from last year’s first-round series, in which they led the Suns three games to one but lost the next three games and the series. Now the situation is reversed, and the Lakers must make an identical comeback. “We’re a team that always plays well with our backs to the wall,” said forward Luke Walton, who committed a game-high seven turnovers. “We can’t get any closer to the wall than we are right now.” Nash had eight assists in the first 8:41 and 15 by halftime, which tied an NBA playoff record for most assists in a half, held by Magic Johnson and Doc Rivers. Nash fell one short of the full-game record, shared by Johnson and John Stockton, but his 23 assists were two more than the Lakers totaled as a team. “We just wanted to be in the right spots, and I just wanted to be a lot more aggressive,” Nash said. “I just felt like I was going to be more aggressive, put the onus on myself to make plays.” Nash had little problem with Jordan Farmar, who started at point guard for the Lakers, and pushed the action from the start with his usual array of bounce passes and drive-and-dish plays in the paint. On the rare instances when the Lakers tried to trap Nash, he dribbled out of it or passed to an open teammate. Nash broke Kevin Johnson’s franchise record for most assists in a playoff game (19). “If we shot the ball well, he could have had 35 (assists),” Suns guard Raja Bell said of Nash. “We run when he runs. He’s the engine that can really rev us up and get us in transition.” Phoenix took the lead for good with an 8-0 run midway through second quarter for a 47-40 lead. The Suns held a double-digit lead early in the third quarter and led by as many as 20 points in the fourth. Wednesday’s Game 5 in Phoenix could bring the end of the Lakers’ topsy-turvy season, one that showed so much promise early, but now seems destined to end in a flurry of defensive miscues. “I’m not going to count them out,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of his players. “They’re a team that has remarkable resilience against all odds this season, with injuries and whatnot. They’ve come back many times and found a way to do things, so I’m certainly not going to count them out.” Sunday’s game couldn’t have been much more different than Game3, in which the Suns took a 17-point lead but relied too much on jump shots and let the Lakers slow down the game with strong inside play. This time, the Suns led by only five after the first period but played at a pace more to their liking. Nash became more aggressive, which neutralized any thoughts the Lakers had of trapping him. “You just can’t get out there and trap Steve,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They tried, but once you get blown by a couple times, you’ve got to come up kind of softly because you just can’t do that. … It’s not the first time in 15 years he’s been trapped. It usually doesn’t work. It just did the other night.” Phoenix’s improved inside game helped give Nash some options. Stoudemire stayed out of foul trouble, and on defense, the Suns’ pack-it-in philosophy often turned the Lakers into jump-shooters. When the Suns did come out of their interior-defense shell, they often sent multiple defenders at Bryant, who was unable to drive to the basket consistently and took only three shots in the fourth quarter. “In Game 3, I made some adjustments, and I had a split-second to operate and I operated,” Bryant said. “In this game, they just said, `To hell with it.’ They just came and took the ball out of my hands.” Bryant didn’t get much help. Lamar Odom, who has a sore shoulder and a hyperextended left elbow, had 19 points, 13rebounds and five assists, but made just 2 of 6 free throws and 1of5 shots from 3-point range. Brown, bothered by a stiff back in the first half, finished with nine points, four rebounds and four fouls in 29 minutes, and the backup big men, Andrew Bynum and Ronny Turiaf, did not score. In their Game 3 victory, the Lakers had a solid rebounding edge – particularly on the offensive end. On Sunday the Suns held the edge in both defensive (33-29) and offensive (11-10) rebounding. rich.hammond@dailynews.com (818) 713-3611 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

Things to Do

first_imgOpen house will feature information on water conservation, refreshments, a bounce house and balloons for the kids, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. today at Castaic Lake Water Agency located above Central Park at 27234 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus. Call Karen Denkinger at (661) 513-1230. Special Olympics 5th annual Spirit Games will feature more than 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities competing in five sports, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today at venues across Santa Clarita. Opening ceremony is at 9 a.m. at Hart High School in Newhall. Call (661) 253-2121. Hispanic Business Expo will feature business booths, food vendors and live entertainment, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today at the Community Center, 22421 Market St., Newhall. Call Celia Gallardo at (661) 816-7892. Tesoro Adobe Historic Park is open to the public, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Saturday with guided tours of the Harry Carey/Farmer John Ranch House, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Call (661) 702-8953. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsFamily Nature Walk, 11 a.m.-noon, and an animal presentation, 1-2 p.m., every Saturday at Placerita Canyon Park and Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall. Call (661) 259-7721. Summer Meltdown Concert will feature Fishbone and nine other artists with diverse musical styles, 2-10:30 p.m. today at Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway, Canyon Country. Tickets: $15-$20. Call Bret Lieberman at (661) 298-8140, Ext. 1414, or visit www.summermeltdown2006.com. Casino Night Fundraiser & Texas Hold’em Tournament will benefit the CA-782nd Santa Clarita Valley Air Force JROTC, 6 p.m. today at Hopsports Complex, 24715 W. Avenue Rockefeller, Valencia. Tickets: $40. Call Sgt. Malcomb at (661) 294-1188, Ext. 601. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will be presented, 7 p.m. today at the outdoor amphitheater at West Ranch High School, 26255 W. Valencia Blvd., Stevenson Ranch. Tickets: $5-$8. Call (661) 222-1220. Saugus Dance Team will present “Metamorphosis,” 7 p.m. today in the gymnasium at College of the Canyons, 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Valencia. Tickets: $10. Call (661) 296-0529. Grateful Dudes will perform bluegrass music, 7:30-10:30 p.m. every Saturday at Vincenzo’s, 24504 1/2 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 259-6733. “Don’t Dress for Dinner” will be presented, 8 p.m Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through June 17 at the Repertory East Playhouse, 24266 San Fernando Road, Newhall. Tickets: $16 for adults and $14 for students and seniors. Call (661) 288-0000. Mike Marino and Brett Walkow will perform, 9 p.m. today at J.R.’s Comedy Club located inside Marie Callender’s at 27630 The Old Road, Valencia. Cost: $12; or $22.99 for dinner and the show. Call (661) 259-2291. Ranger-led nature hike, 11 a.m. the second, third and fourth Sundays of each month at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Road, Agua Dulce. Call (661) 268-0840. Free film screening of “Works in Progress,” 7 p.m. Sunday at Cheyenne Studios, 27567 Fantastic Lane, Castaic. Visit www.scvfilmfestival.com. Zonta Golf Tournament, 10:30 a.m. Monday at Robinson Ranch, 27734 Sand Canyon Road, Canyon Country. Wendee’s Music will get kids to sing and dance, 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Town Square at Westfield Valencia Town Center mall, 24201 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 287-9050. Spring band concert, 7 p.m. Tuesday in the gymnasium at Canyon High School, 19300 W. Nadal St., Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-6110. Spring band concert, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Hart High School auditorium, 24825 N. Newhall Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 259-7575. Spring band concert, 7 p.m. Wednesday at La Mesa Junior High, 26623 May Way, Canyon Country. Call (661) 250-0022. Spring Dinner Theatre, 7 p.m. Wednesday (show only) and 6 p.m. Thursday in Tanner Hall at Placerita Junior High, 25015 N. Newhall Ave., Newhall. Tickets: $7 Wednesday and $15 Thursday. Call (661) 259-1551. Spring choral concert, 7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday at Hart High School’s auditorium, 24825 N. Newhall Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 259-7575. “Nothing But the Truth” will be presented, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Friday and 3 and 7:30 p.m. May 20 in Theatre Q at Canyon High School, 19300 W. Nadal St., Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-6110. Spring choral Concert will feature the mixed choir, women’s chamber, show choir and soloists, 6 p.m. Thursday in the small gym at Golden Valley High School, 27051 Robert C. Lee Parkway, Canyon Country. Tickets: $5. Call (661) 298-8140. Spring concert will feature the choir and band, 7 p.m. Thursday in the multipurpose room at Rancho Pico Junior High, 26250 W. Valencia Blvd., Stevenson Ranch. Admission: $2. Call (661) 284-3260. Showcase of Talent will feature vocalists and a one-act musical directed by students, 7 p.m. Thursday in the Valencia High School Theater, 27801 N. Dickason Drive, Valencia. Tickets: $5. Call (661) 294-1188. Spring Home & Garden Show will feature more than 120 exhibitors, 2-7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 20 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 21 at Saugus Speedway, 22500 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country. Call Terri Burbank at (661) 259-3886. Some Like It Hot dance to the music of Jimmy Raschel & Longshot, 7:30 p.m. Friday at the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall. Cost: $5. Call (661) 259-9444. Danny Villalpando and Andrew Norelli will perform, 9 p.m. Friday at J.R.’s Comedy Club located inside Marie Callender’s at 27630 The Old Road, Valencia. Cost: $12; or $22.99 for dinner and the show. Call (661) 259-2291 or visit www.comedyinvalencia.com. To submit an event for the Things To Do calendar, contact Sharon Cotal two weeks prior to the event at (661) 257-5256, fax her at (661) 257-5262, e-mail her at sharon.cotal@dailynews.com or write to her at 24800 Avenue Rockefeller, Valencia, CA, 91355.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more