Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Channing Frye broke out of his shooting slump and scored 14 points, as the Phoenix Suns used strong bench play to even the Western Conference finals with a 115-106 Game 4 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at US Airways Center.
The Suns were dominated in the first two games at the Staples Center, but rallied behind a 42-point, 11-rebound effort from Amare Stoudemire in a 118-109 victory Sunday night. Stoudemire had 21 points and eight rebounds Tuesday, while Steve Nash contributed 15 points and eight assists.
Frye came into the game 1-for-20 in the series and had missed his last 17 shots until knocking down a three-pointer midway through the second quarter. He went 4-of-8 from long distance and Phoenix's reserves outscored the Los Angeles bench players, 54-20. Leandro Barbosa had half of his 14 points in the last quarter. Jared Dudley added 11 points, while Goran Dragic contributed eight points and eight assists for the Phoenix reserves.
Phoenix's bench players accounted for all the points during a 14-2 run in the fourth quarter, turning a two-point deficit into a 10-point cushion with just over five minutes left.
Kobe Bryant went 6-of-9 from beyond the arc, on the way to 38 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the Lakers. Lamar Odom had 15 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, while starter Pau Gasol also scored 15, but the Lakers lost the battle of the boards by a 51-36 count.
Despite the loss, the Lakers and head coach Phil Jackson still have history on their side as they had back to Los Angeles for Game 5 on Thursday. Jackson's teams are 35-0 all-time when winning the first two games of a series and are 53-1 all-time when holding a series lead of any kind in the playoffs.
Jordan Farmar nailed a three-pointer to give the Lakers an 87-85 edge just 72 seconds into the final quarter, but Barbosa responded with a jumper and Louis Amundson added a layup to give Phoenix the lead for good.
Frye, Barbosa and Dudley hit three-pointers during the spurt for a 99-89 difference, energizing the home crowd. Amundson capped the burst by sinking 1-of-2 free throws with 5:14 remaining.
Gasol's put-back jam had the defending NBA champions within 103-97 with 2:24 to play, but the Lakers got no closer as the Suns held on by going 11-of-14 from the foul line in the final quarter.
Jason Richardson sank a three-pointer in the closing minute of the first quarter, drawing the Suns even at 23 after the opening stanza.
The Suns, who went 11-of-30 from behind the arc, got three-balls from Frye and Dudley in a 52-second span midway through the second to provide Phoenix with a 44-34 lead. They were in front 64-55 at the break despite Stoudemire having just six points and three rebounds.
Stoudemire turned that around in the third, scoring 11 of Phoenix's 21 points, but it was Bryant's team taking the lead briefly thanks to his 16-point quarter. He sank back-to-back three-pointers to draw LA within 70-68 and one Gasol free throw moved the Lakers to an 84-83 edge with 56.7 seconds left in the quarter. Dragic, though, sank two from the charity stripe to send the Suns into the fourth with a one-point edge.
Bryant has 4,785 career playoff points, passing Karl Malone (4,761) for fourth place on the NBA's all-time list. Shaquille O'Neal (5,248) is third...Nash, who suffered a broken nose in the fourth quarter of Game 3, went 3-of-11 from the field...Ron Artest scored 13 points, while Andrew Bynum finished with 12 points and eight boards for the Lakers.