Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Musings on the Phoenix Suns

I was driving around town the other day, and as is often the case, I had some sports radio blaring in the background.  The banter for the day focused on the NBA, which was fine with me because we're in the midst of the NBA playoffs.  However, to a passive listener, the topic of the show would have indicated that we are in the midst of the NBA Finals rather than the playoffs.

The reason a passive listener may have drawn such a conclusion is because the radio show hosts were previewing the Lakers vs. Celtics final--but the Eastern and Western Conference finals weren't even over.  Granted, the Celtics held a 3-0 edge over the Magic, but the Suns were down just 2-0 and had not even played a game in Phoenix yet.

It didn't stop there.  Celtics fans had already begun printing and selling green shirts that read "Beat LA."  While most people assume they will finish off the Magic, Boston fans should not be too quick to forget their Bruins that dropped a 3-0 lead just a month ago, and their Red Sox who came back from 0-3 just a few years back.  Moreover, that shirt operated on the presumption that the Lakers were going to finish off the Suns too--a presumption which apparently the radio show hosts (and their guests) were fine with too.

Well, look where we are now.  The Suns have won two consecutive games and have their is series knotted at two a piece.  In hindsight counting the Suns out so promptly after losing two games in LA seems odd.  After all, the Suns swept a San Antonio Spurs team that was playing very well and looked like a threat to come out of the west.  However, after the Suns were dismantled by the Lakers in two games everyone couldn't help but start salivating over the ratings slam dunk match up of Celtics v. Lakers; Boston v. LA; East Coast v. West Coast; Storied Franchise v. Storied Franchise.

Maybe a Lakers v. Celts final is inevitable.  After all, Phil Jackson is something like 46-0 when winning the first game of a playoff series; and the Lakers are 35-1 after winning the first two games of a best of seven series.  Moreover, the Lakers exposed Amare Stoudemire in the first two games and the Suns could not find a shot from behind the arc.  Finally, the Suns were simply blown out of game 1 and when it looked like they had a shot in game 2 the Lakers just found another gear and ran away with it.

Everyone was saying the Suns had no chance--unless Amare had an amazing game and the Suns bench showed up.  So basically, unless the Suns played like they had during the end of the season and through out the playoffs until this point they had no chance.  Well I guess there is no place like home, because in two quick games the Suns played exactly the way they had up to this point: Amare had a monster game and the Suns' bench showed up.  Not to mention Alvin Gentry's astute imposition of a zone defense that confused the Lakers and left Gasol only looking like he wasn't human rather than playing like it too.

In the span of a few days the Suns have gone from a prelude to a Lakers championship, to being locked in a three game series for the Western Conference Championship.  No one is sleeping on the Suns now; they obviously have the Lakers attention; and this series might be the only exciting series in the entire playoffs.  That excitement shouldn't wear off any time soon either.  The lowest scoring total between the two teams in the series thus far is 221 points. 

So Celtic fans: put those beat LA Shirts down for now, finish up your own series (which is now 3-2 after a beat down in Orlando and an injury to your whole team) and imagine for a second what shirt you'd be wearing if you hadn't gone out and purchased Ray and KG.  And another thing: hey sports media, stop previewing the NBA finals before they come to pass.  First, it makes you look foolish when you put one team into the finals before they have played a road game, and then that team loses both games on the road.  Second, you're not very good at predicting the finals; you've been predicting a Lebron Kobe final for two years now and by my count you're 0-2.  

Viva los Suns!

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