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Phoenix rise above the Lakers

other Updated: May 25, 2010 01:33 IST
AP
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Amare Stoudemire matched his career playoff high with 42 points, 29 in the second half, and grabbed 11 rebounds to power the Phoenix Suns to a 118-109 victory Sunday that cut the Los Angeles Lakers' lead in the Western Conference finals to 2-1. "Just being aggressive, really going after it," Stoudemire said. "Tonight I wanted to come out with some aggressiveness and get it going."

The Suns can pull even with a victory at home in Game 4 on Tuesday night.

Phoenix, dominated inside in the first two games, won with its big men, and a big advantage at the free throw line. Robin Lopez, whose 7-foot presence gave the Suns some much-needed toughness inside, scored 20 on 8-of-10 shooting in 31 minutes, by far his most playing time since returning from a back injury at the start of the series. Phoenix made 37-of-42 free throws, 14 of 18 by Stoudemire. The Lakers were 16 of 20 at the line. Kobe Bryant had 36 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. Pau Gasol scored 23 points, but the Lakers didn't get as much help from their supporting cast as they did in the first two games. "We certainly didn't come out to play the way I wanted," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said, "and we certainly didn't play the way I wanted at the end." The Suns, the second-best 3-point shooting team in NBA history in the regular season, were just 5 of 20. But Jason Richardson was 4 of 7, ito snap the Lakers' eight-game playoff winning streak.

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