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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 7:04 pm    Post subject:

Lakers-Suns series reaches dramatic finale

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

Friday, May 05, 2006

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A gripping first-round playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns will end in a remarkable comeback or giant upset in Saturday's Game Seven in Phoenix.

That is the scenario facing Lakers coach Phil Jackson after the Suns avoided elimination for the second consecutive game in Los Angeles on Thursday, winning 126-118 in overtime, to tie the series at 3-3.

"There is a lot at stake," Jackson told reporters after Steve Nash inspired the Suns with 32 points and 13 assists in Game Six at the Staples Center.

"For them it would be a terrific comeback. For us, it would be a monumental upset.

"But I think there's sometimes more pressure on the home team in Game Seven," added Jackson, who has guided teams to a record-equaling nine NBA Championships.

"Sometimes you can feel more relaxed on the road. We feel okay about this game. We've won over there before."

The inexperienced Lakers are bidding to become only the fifth team seeded seventh to dispatch the second seeds since the NBA's 16-team playoff format started in 1984.

For their part, the Suns are attempting to become only the eighth team in league history to rally from 3-1 down and clinch a best-of-seven series.

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