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LAst Night's Action: Third Time's the Charm for Lakers to Chill Suns

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LA Lakers defeat Phoenix Suns 139-137 (3OT). Who would have thought NBA players really care about a regular season game? I suppose if you’re the Suns, then you would want to make a dent in the 2 ½ games between you and the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth spot in the West. And if you’re the Lakers, you’d want to keep hold of the second seed. Put all of it together and you get some March Madness, NBA style.

The Suns clawed their way into the game not just once, twice but three times to send the game to triple-overtime.

At the end of regulation with the Lakers holding onto a 112-106 lead with 1:12 left, the Suns snipers went at it with Channing Frye hitting a three six seconds later and Grant Hill hitting a three to tie the game. Notable was the Suns defense down the stretch forcing the Lakers into a shot-clock violation.

In the first overtime, that defense would force the Lakers into two more shot-clock violations. But yet again the Lakers thanks to Ron Artest three with 1:27 left took a 119-116 lead. But Lamar Odom did the unthinkable in fouling Frye in the act of shooting beyond the three point line with eight seconds left. Frye hit all three free throws and onto second overtime we went.

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With the Lakers leading 128-127 with a minute to go in the second overtime, Steve Nash dribbled down the line and got double teamed by Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher. Nash amazingly enough without picking up his pivot foot as he was falling out of bounds went with a no-look behind-the-back desperation pass to Marcin Gortat who shuttled it to Frye behind the arc who knocked down the three.

On the other end of the floor, Kobe Bryant before his foot touched out of bounds behind the basket heaved the ball to Pau Gasol in the point who got fouled and made both free throws to send the game to a third overtime.

It was clear by then that the players’ legs were tired as the only points scored in the first half of the period were Gortat’s two free throws. But Bryant’s three, Artest’s dunk and jumper sparked the Lakers and this time they would hold on for the win.

All of this masked the fact that the Lakers blew a 21 point lead in the second half. But no one wants to talk about that, do they?

Bryant led all scorers with a near triple-double: 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds, Odom had 29 points and 16 rebounds, Artest had 18 and Matt Barnes had a crucial 13 points off the bench. For the Suns, Frye led all players with 56 minutes on the court and had a career-high 32 points while adding 14 rebounds. Nash was Nash with 19 points and 20 assists, while Hill - the only player to foul out - had 11 points and ten rebounds.

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Wow.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

Anaheim Ducks at Dallas Stars. 5:30 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.

Washington Wizards at LA Clippers. 7:30 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 980 KFWB.