(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

Five thoughts entering Tuesday’s Game 4 of the Western Conference finals between the Suns and Lakers:

1. The Suns’ victory Sunday was impressive for several reasons. Mostly, they just needed a win. They also were finally rewarded for playing the type of solid defense they did in the first two games — but the Lakers simply could not miss. Also, the Suns’ bench was deeper than the Lakers’ all season, and all it took was a return home to prove it.

2. Yes, the Lakers reserves outscored the Suns by an 18-15 count. But the Suns’ bench committed just three turnovers, compared to eight for L.A. Just imagine what can happen if Suns backup center Channing Frye rediscovers his shooting touch. Or if Goran Dragic has another of those 20-point quarters. Or if Robin Lopez continues to make eight of every 10 shots. Truth is, the Suns received a remarkable performance from Amare Stoudemire on Sunday, but everyone else pretty much did what has always been expected of them. In other words, it’s very possible that the Suns can play even better.

3. Stoudemire and the Suns seemed more determined than ever to attack the Lakers and their so-called advantage in length. Stoudemire went right at Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom all game, and that type of aggressiveness wasn’t lost on the Lakers.  “They attacked the hoop,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson admitted. “We seemed to be staying home on the 3-point shooters, and Stoudemire and Lopez had a night for them.”

4. Isn’t it amazing how Steve Nash doesn’t seem to have lost a step? Seriously. It’s so easy to forget that he’s 36, especially when he not only played 38 minutes in Game 3, but was fairly dominant with 17 points and 15 assists. Nash also only committed one turnover and suffered just one facial injury. Hopefully, he’s gotten that out of the way for this series. But since he injured his eye against San Antonio and now his nose against the Lakers, he would probably be wise to wear a mouth guard should the Suns reach the Finals.

5. The Suns just needed something, anything to go their way to make this a series. More than anything, they just needed the Lakers to shoot the ball like they were human. Jason Richardson said after Game 2 that the Suns planned to take care of business at home, realizing that something might finally go their way on the road in a Game 5 or 7. As the saying goes, if you want to win a championship, you have to win on the road. But before that can happen, the Suns need to stay aggressive, attack the basket and get another one at home Tuesday night.

  • Rakeback

    C’mon Frye… Please please please get going already!let’s even this thing up and then attempt to steal one in LA!

  • http://Suns.com Max Kuykendall

    Look before you pass, then there will be no steals. Amare has to stay out of early foul trouble, which will be tried by Jackson. Also they will go against Lopez. However if Jackson decides that is how to win, then our 3ptrs MUST square up to the Basket and hit. The minute a 3 pointers is heads toward the Basket the entire teams should be under the Basket for an offensive rebound and a put back. Absolutely, REbounds on both ends and NO turnovers. Make sure before you pass and look before throwing in the BB. Just dumb to let them steal a throw in?? Remember how important a made FREE throw may become. Do not shoot the first one in a hurry. They are FREE, and they win games.

  • http://suns.com Millie

    Go Suns

  • Mark

    Guys,

    Way to go Sunday!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is the Suns that your fans love.

    The Lakers like SA are a very physical team, but unlike SA, you can’t wait around on the defense to open up for a shot. The secret as I saw it Sunday was being physically aggressive with your offense and taking the ball down court fast. Take it to them and take it to them hard. You keep them out of sync when you don’t give them a chance to get in place and get set.
    As far as the Suns defense, call it girl or whatever but it worked. Stay in their face because their shots are dead on from everywhere.

    Your coach has done a great job of making you guys the best “team” in the league. There is so much tallent that anyone of you can have a great game unlike almost every other team out there.

    Nash, wear a helmet. Just joking.

    Live for the moment guys and this is your moment. You are a great team, give it your best. Win or loose, I am a loyal fan, but you guys are great enough to go all the way. One game at a time.

    All for one, one for all, you guys are the definition of classy sportsmanship. Keep it clean and keep your heads high, you’ve earned it.

    Now go out tonight and ear game 4, send it back to LA tied 2 all.

  • http://Suns.com Luis G.

    Throughout the playoffs Amare has played like a beast up until he ran into Gasol and the Lakers. Amare seemed to loose his aggresivness with the taller Gasol and Bynum patrolling the paint. He relied mostly on his jump shot,(which was not as sharp as it needed to be) and very rarely showed his explosive spin and power moves we’re used to seeing him dish out to helpless defenders. But on sunday he decided to show off his power and pounded the ball in the paint exploding for 42 points. This is the Amare we know and need in order to defeat the Lakers. So lower ur head Amare and take it to the rim and help bring home a western conference title! GO SUNS!!

  • David G.

    My nicknames for the fantastic bench.

    Go Go Goran – Go Go is what I say when this guy has the ball.
    3-D Dudley – Like Diaw, this man has skill on the XYZ plane.
    Boo Lou – Is that a boo? No it’s Lou.
    Fries with that Frye – Serving up 3′s hot and fresh on the side.
    and of course, the already established, Brazilian Blur. – Hey, he’s fast.

    Fantastic game tonight, I was on pins and needles. If the rest of the team can find their touch and bring our shot percentage back up then we’ll win this series hands down. Tonight, every other part of our game was as solid as the rest of the playoffs but the shooting was streaky, that’s it. Up the shooting percentage and we have this in two more games.

  • Robert S.

    Hey hey hey u all.!! Its been over a year since i could leave a thread. Im just so happy to be able to say SUNS in 6 over LA. GO SUNS!!