Suns getting burned at their own game
By BOB BAUM
PHOENIX — A week ago, the Phoenix Suns were talking about how they no longer were marshmallows on defense, that this team had a toughness its predecessors sorely lacked.
That idea was buried by a scoring avalanche in Los Angeles, where the Lakers amassed a total of 252 points to go up 2-0 in the Western Conference finals, shooting 58 percent in each game.
Now the Suns have three days before Game 3 at home to try to figure out how to slow a team that seems primed for another title.
Neither team practiced yesterday. Both will resume workouts today in preparation for Sunday night's game.
The Lakers' Pau Gasol acknowledged that "it must be frustrating" for the Suns to essentially be beaten at their own high-scoring, hot-shooting game. He expects a stiffer challenge as the series shifts to Phoenix.
"It's going to take a much bigger mindset or focus to go there and be successful and put the type of games and wins that we put in here," Gasol said.
History certainly is against the Suns. The Lakers are 41-1 when they are up 2-0 in a best-of-seven series. Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson is 46-0 when his teams have won the first two games of a series. And no team has come back from 0-2 to win the West finals.
"We're not about to give up," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "You know when we won our two home games against San Antonio (in the conference semifinals), everybody just said, 'Well, the only thing they've done is what they're supposed to do.' So the only thing they've done is what they're supposed to do. We'll go with that."
Game 2 was much more competitive than the Lakers' 128-107 blowout in Game 1. A strong third quarter by Phoenix tied the score at 90 entering the fourth.
Steve Nash had two of the Suns' three turnovers to start the final quarter.
"They went down and got baskets," Gentry said, "and we never really got any control after that. We made a couple of baskets here and there, but we can't afford to turn it over, especially on three straight possessions."
Offense, though, hasn't been the primary problem for Phoenix. Jason Richardson scored 27, only the fifth time in 36 games this season that the Suns have lost when he scores at least 20. Grant Hill scored 23 and led the third-quarter comeback and Jared Dudley made all five of his 3-point attempts.
Sure, the Suns could use something — anything — from Channing Frye (1 of 13 for the series) and a more dominating offensive performance from Amare Stoudemire.
Collins reportedly to coach 76ers: A person familiar with the decision says the Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to terms with TNT analyst Doug Collins to become their new coach.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not been made public. The person said the official announcement was likely to come today. Terms were not immediately available.
Referee suspended: Referee Joe DeRosa has been suspended without pay for throwing a ball at a fan during halftime of an NBA playoff game in Orlando.
DeRosa will miss the next game he would have been scheduled to work.
At halftime of Tuesday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals between Orlando and Boston, DeRosa was walking to the scorer's table to get the warm-up jackets for his crew. A fan behind the table approached DeRosa, gesturing with his arms and appearing to be shouting at the veteran official. DeRosa flipped the game ball to the fan, who tossed it back.
All times Hawai'i
Boston 2, Orlando 0
May 16: Boston 92, Orlando 88
May 18: Boston 95, Orlando 92
Tomorrow: Orlando at Boston, 2:30 p.m.
Monday, May 24: Orlando at Boston, 2:30 p.m.
x-Wednesday, May 26: Boston at Orlando, 2:30 p.m.
x-Friday, May 28: Orlando at Boston, 2:30 p.m.
x-Sunday, May 30: Boston at Orlando, 2:30 p.m.
L.A. Lakers 2, Phoenix 0
May 17: L.A. Lakers 128, Phoenix 107
May 19: L.A. Lakers 124, Phoenix 112
Sunday, May 23: L.A. Lakers at Phoenix, 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 25: L.A. Lakers at Phoenix, 3 p.m.
x-Thursday, May 27: Phoenix at L.A. Lakers, 3 p.m.
x-Saturday, May 29: L.A. Lakers at Phoenix, 2:30 p.m.
x-Monday, May 31: Phoenix at L.A. Lakers, 3 p.m.