By Petros Papadakis Special for FOXSportsArizona.com
The Lakers didnt know what hit them! Or who hit them!
After a 23-23 back and forth first quarter, the Suns attacked the Lakers like a pit bull goes after raw meat. Grrrr. And they built a double-digit lead by midway through the second period.
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But it wasn’t Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash doing the damage this time… It was five players summoned off the bench by Alvin Gentry who provided the burst that keyed the Suns 115-106 Game 4 victory over the Lakers to even the Western Conference Finals at 2-2.
The quintent of Goran Dragic (who looks like a child), Leandro Barbosa, Jared Dudley, Louis Amundson and Channing Frye (Yes, Channing Frye) propelled Phoenix to a 41-point second by connecting on 7 of 10 3-pointers.
Not that this bench explosion was unexpected, but besides Dudley’s 15 points in Game 2 at Staples, the Suns reserves were all under-performing in this series. In fact, many experts were baffled that the Suns were able to win Game 3 with its bench shooting just 3 for 21.
The Phoenix bench had played so well in the previous two rounds gainst Portland and San Antonio. But I think playing the defending champion Lakers on a huge stage like the Western Conference Finals was overwhelming for the Suns reserves.
And I will honestly tell you that other than Barbosa, Laker fans have no idea who these Phoenix bench guys are!
Before Game 4, Dragic, Dudley, Amundson and especially Frye were just another gang of dudes who couldn’t shoot straight.
But Phoenix’s emerging second unit were not satisfied with that great second quarter. The five subs played the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter and outscored Kobe & Co. 18-10, building a nine-point lead.
This series is tied, and the Suns have all the momentum in their favor heading into Game 5 at Staples on Thursday.
And I bet you the Lakers and their fans will no longer have any trouble identifying these Suns.
As long as they keep shooting straight!
This series is starting to freak people out in LA.
Petros Papadakis is co-host of “The Petros and Money Show” on FOX Sports Radio.