PHOENIX - Amar'e Stoudemire matched his career playoff high with 42 points, 29 in the second half, and had 11 rebounds to power the Phoenix Suns to a 118-109 victory last night that cut the Los Angeles Lakers' lead in the NBA Western Conference finals to 2-1. The Suns can pull even with a victory at home in Game 4 tomorrow night.
"Just being aggressive, really going after it," Stoudemire said. "Tonight, I wanted to come out with some aggressiveness and get it going."
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 toughness inside, scored 20 and shot 8-for-10 in 31 minutes, his most playing time since returning from a back injury at the start of the series. Phoenix made 37 of 42 free throws, 14-for-18 by Stoudemire. The Lakers were 16-for-20 at the line.
The Suns, the second-best three-point shooting team in NBA history in the regular season, were just 5-for-20. But Jason Richardson was 4-for-7, including one with 26 seconds to go to snap the Lakers' eight-game playoff winning streak. Richardson scored 19. Steve Nash had 17 points and 15 assists.