Channing Frye broke out of a horrendous shooting slump by making four 3-pointers for 14 points, and the Suns pulled away in the fourth quarter for the second game in a row to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 115-106 on Tuesday night and tie the Western Conference finals at two games apiece.
A series that looked like a Lakers' breeze a week ago is all even heading to Game 5 on Thursday night in Los Angeles.
The Suns reserves, considered an advantage entering the series but largely ineffective through three games, outscored their Laker counterparts 54-20. Leandro Barbosa scored 14 on 6 of 8 shooting and Jared Dudley added 11 points. Goran Dragic ran the show at point and had eight points and eight assists in 18 minutes.
Amare Stoudemire led Phoenix with 21 points. Steve Nash, playing with a broken nose, had 15 points and eight assists.
Kobe Bryant had 38 points and 10 assists as the reigning NBA champions fought back to lead briefly early in the fourth before the Suns backups stole the show.
Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry kept all five reserves in the game for almost the first nine minutes of the final quarter, and they produced an 18-3 run, and the Lakers never recovered. When Nash re-entered with 3:05 to play, those subs -- usually playing against the Los Angeles starters -- had turned an 87-85 deficit into a 103-94 lead.
"We believe in our bench," Gentry said. "Tonight they played as well as they could play."
COACH'S FUTURE: A cagy Phil Jackson said Tuesday he has "no desire at all" to return to Chicago to coach the Bulls, though would "like to have a vodka" with the new owner of the New Jersey Nets, addressing two reports by ESPN that the Bulls and Nets have worked through back channels to gauge his interest.
Jackson said those channels haven't reached him. His comment on the Nets referred to their billionaire new owner, Russian Mikhail Prokhorov.