2010 NBA Playoffs: The Phoenix Suns Can Beat the LA Lakers, but Not Destiny

My telephone began ringing just as Jason Richardson's desperation three-pointer dropped through the net, tying the score in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers.

The caller was my brother-in-law, who was trying to gauge my mood after Richardson's shot, which was luck in its purest form, threatening to force what had been a dominant Lakers' performance into overtime.

My brother-in-law is only a casual fan of basketball, so it's unlikely he would remember the Lakers' history in these types of situations, and 3.5 seconds is an eternity compared to Derek Fisher's 0.4-second shot against San Antonio in 2004.

In fact, if he had been paying attention this year he would have been cognizant of Kobe Bryant's seven game-winning shots in the regular season, and Pau Gasol's Game Six, series-clinching putback against Oklahoma City in this postseason's first round.

He would have known the ball was going to Bryant for a final, desperate attempt, but even I didn't expect Ron Artest to gather in Bryant's missed shot, and with the same measure of luck which previously served Richardson, win the game for the Lakers with an awkward putback.

The Lakers' 103-101 victory gave them a 3-2 lead in the series and nullified a resilient performance from a gritty Suns team that twice fought back from double-digit deficits.

I have said this Lakers team is one of destiny, and Thursday night's game only confirmed my theory because the circumstances surrounding the game definitely were of an ominous nature.

The Lakers played their best defensive game of the series, which was critical considering how they had been getting blistered by Phoenix's pick and roll, but the Suns actually outdid the Lakers in that category.

The Suns held the Lakers to a series-low 41 percent shooting from the field and held their own on the boards, collecti...

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