The Suns have been derided for their "girlie" zone defense, but they have emerged as the tougher team as this series has progressed. Whether it's attacking L.A.'s defense and drawing fouls, or crashing the boards in Game 4, they've embraced the role of feisty underdog. The Lakers, besides Kobe, backed down from Phoenix's challenge on the road. Of course, there's an excellent chance that will change now that the series returns to Los Angeles, where the Lakers are 7-0 in the playoffs. Game 5: Suns at Lakers, 9 p.m.
Will the Lakers get some calls at home?
During Games 3 and 4 in Phoenix, the Lakers were called for 51 fouls, 18 more than than the Suns. As a result, the Suns shot 74 free throws, a whopping 41 more than the Lakers. Phil Jackson and L.A.'s players grumbled about the officiating, and some calls certainly were questionable. But there's no question that the Suns have been the more aggressive team in this series. Even in a Game 2 loss at Staples Center, they shot 10 more foul shots than the home team. The Lakers have to earn their calls by playing tougher. Game 5: Suns at Lakers, 9 p.m.
Can anyone but Kobe bust a zone?
When the Suns trotted out their 2-3 zone in Phoenix, Kobe Bryant licked his chops. He feasted on that defense, scoring 74 points in two games while making 28 of 46 shots, including 8 of 17 threes. His teammates? Not so hot. They shot 24 percent from behind the arc in the two games but kept launching bricks -- yes, we're talking about you, Ron Artest and Shannon Brown. Game 5: Suns at Lakers, 9 p.m.
Are the Lakers in deep trouble?
In other words, is their depth a serious problem? The Lakers use eight players in their normal rotation, which is fine if they're all healthy and effective. But Andrew Bynum is hampered by a sore knee, and all three subs -- Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar -- stunk it up in Phoenix after playing well in L.A. The Suns, who go 10 deep, got 54 points from their reserves in Game 4, with Channing Frye finally breaking out of his godawful shooting slump. Game 5: Suns at Lakers, 9 p.m.
Who will go after rebounds harder?
The Lakers used their size advantage to outrebound the Suns in the first three games. But their height was no match for Phoenix's hustle and energy in Game 4 as the Suns dominated the battle of the boards, 51-36. Pau Gasol, who has been a strong rebounder throughout the playoffs, was especially passive and finished with five boards. Lamar Odom grabbed 30 rebounds in the first two games and 16 in the next two. For Phoenix, it's been a team effort. Nine Suns hauled in at least four boards on Tuesday. Game 5: Suns at Lakers, 9 p.m.