Sunday, April 22, 2007

Suns-Lakers: Barbosa!

The Lakers have to be feeling pretty blue right now. They played nearly perfect basketball for three quarters, yet still found themselves leading by just three. Then, when Kobe started missing and they committed a few turnovers, the Suns just blew right past them. It is hard to imagine L.A. being able to rally after throwing their best shot like this and still losing. But that's why they play the games.

On the positive side, Leandro Barbosa continues to be pretty much my favorite player in the NBA. He's just so fun to watch. By scoring 15 Phoenix points in a row, including a buzzer-beating bomb at the end of the third quarter and several incredible fast court plays (most at breakneck speed), Barbosa took over the game and left no doubt that he was the most important player on the floor today. And that is saying something, considering that Kobe had 31 just moments into the second half and that Nash, Marion, and Stoudemire all had double-doubles.

By the way, welcome to the NBA Playoffs, Jordan Farmar. That guy was getting hosed out there, call after call.

Last thought: the sequence in which Amare dove for a loose ball, shoveled it to Nash, and then Nash tossed up a perfect alley-oop to Marion was my favorite play of the postseason thus far. The hustle by the star center with the surgically repaired knee, the perfect decision-making and skill on the Nash pass, and the breathtaking leaping ability of Marion ... it was all on display in a three second window. Fabulous stuff.

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