Saturday, May 19, 2007

Friday Night, Umm, Saturday Morning Wrap-Up

Like many NBA fans, I felt some trepidation for last night's game, knowing that we all needed the Suns to force a Game Seven in order to wash away the taint of these playoffs, but knowing just as well that the Spurs were going to mighty tough to beat at home in a closeout game. Which is why I decided to watch the games at a loud bar and cloak myself with good friends, mediocre liquor, and horrendous music in order to mask the pain.

It worked quite well.

But as a result, the wrap-up comes a morning late and with little by way of commentary.

Worst Series Ever is Now Over

Other than a surprisingly good Game Two, this New Jersey-Cleveland series was a train wreck. One game featured the Cavs winning on a Sasha block, another watched the Nets live and die on Jason Kidd threes and Mikki Moore jumpers, and yet another featured the Nets scoring six points in the fourth quarter and WINNING. Needless to say, I didn't catch much of last night's game.

I'm impressed that the Cavs closed out the series on the road, but it doesn't restore the luster they lost when they had the chance to win in five at home and get an edge on the Pistons in terms of rest.

The good news is that I didn't need to be watching this game closely to know why the Cavs won. It appears to have been a simple matter of how many field goals each team's "point guard" took. Kidd jacked up 20 shots for the Nets, which is not their recipe for success. Meanwhile, Larry Hughes (who I can't help but crush on this space, time and time again) had just six field goal attempts. There's your 16-point win for Cleveland.

Spurs Advance

Expect about 14,000 u-turns from writers everywhere who will come out with "well, when it was all said and done, the best team advance." Give me a break. Maybe that is true, maybe it isn't. But that is the whole point of a series being "tainted" - we never got to find out what would have happened. The Suns won home court back and then had it taken away by a selective interpretation of a terrible rule. What, San Antonio winning a home game nullifies everything that happened preceding it? Give me a break. Not only that, but it ignores the fact that Phoenix very likely could have won the opener had Nash's face not exploded. So for all the self-righteous writers who plan on coming on with the "best team won" article, save it.

(Again, I'm not saying the best team lost either, I'm saying that we have no idea.)

As for the game, it was nice to say a lot of guys balling. Duncan had the nine blocks, Ginobili was on fire, Amare had a monster game, and Nash closed with a fury. It was amazing to watch him continue fighting, never yielding.


Why did D'Antoni play Nash for 47 minutes in Game Five (not an elimination game) and then give him his usual 5 minutes of rest late in Game Six? That made no sense to me. While Nash was out, a nine-point lead ballooned to 17 or something like that. By the time the torrid comeback began, it was too late.

How much ice does Tony Parker have on his arm today? 27 shots! I didn't know he had it in him.

Why didn't the Suns go to a Hack-A-Duncan? He seemed to be having one of this awful free throw shooting games that have plagued him throughout his career (see: 2005 Finals). They could have lengthened the game and kept the ball out of Manu's hands.

It was great to see Barbosa playing better and attacking. It was bad to see him go 0-for-5 on threes. I'm telling you; he needed to experience this series before he could get to the next level.

Interesting that the Suns battled the Spurs to a draw on the glass (43 each) and in blocks (9 each), which tells me they gave it everything they had. They just made two less field goals, one less three, and three fewer free throws, while committing five more turnovers.

(Meanwhile, the Utah fans' dream that the Suns might spark a fight and get some Spurs' stars suspended never come to fruition. Too bad for the Jazz.)


Wilfried said...

I'm done with the NBA.

When it finally came to the last minute in the fourth quarter, I thought to myself, "The only reason I'm still watching this is for the slight possibility that Nash or Stoudemire decks Bowen in the face."


Anonymous said...

The way I see it, as long as we have two guys on the floor who don't play defense(Nash and Amare), we're going to struggle with stopping the disciplined/boring teams like San Antonio, Utah and Detroit.

Amare's offensive game is out of this world, and if he wants to take the Suns to the next level, he needs to do some soul searching about whether or not he wants to dedicate himself to playing D. I'll talking good position D and good help side D. Not the I'm gonna swap your shot into the 8 row like I'm a good defender D.
Sorry I'm just frustrated with the game last night.

Rick said...

Suns Coaching is the biggest problem. D'Antoni seems to not know what he's doing at times, and don't ask him because he won't have an answer.

And his emotional displays - wow - I hate that guy now.

Anonymous said...

"The best team advances" sports, some teams win by being lucky. Winning can be about momentum, the home court atmosphere, the conditions of players on the game day, etc. Spurs were on fire and the Phoenix defense wasn't very good I guess. Even Jacque Vaughn was knocking down shots!

For those who miss the Suns, let's talk about Van Gundy's comment that Phoneix came together at a wrong time; during the Spurs dynasty. How would this year's Suns fare against the 2004 Detroit? How about against the Lakers that had Kobe and Shaq?

Anonymous said...

More of the same of the exhausted mind of a fan...god, the next few weeks of basketball is going to by slowly. And I mean slowly. Like, 4-0 sweeps-and-Double-OT-80-to-78-final-scores slowly.

It really sucks being a basketball fan in this era. I think I'm going to start watching Europ...actually, no. I guess I'll just cry myself to sleep.

This all coming from a guy that isn't even a Suns fan.

Anonymous said...

I think your right about the series being tainted. I am an unabashed Suns living in Texas. I dislike both Dallas and San Antonio but after this series I positively loathe SA. What is very interesting to me regarding the situation with the suspensions is the degree to which Stu Jackson is inconsistent in his ruling. The Duncun/Bowen advancement onto the court was never really an issue in my mind until Stu said something about the "altercation." His defense was that there was no altercation between Jones and Elson. Interestingly, look back at the tape of cheap Shot Bob's cheap shot, the camera angle that zooms in on Amare and the Sun bench. You see Nash's feet leave the ground when Horry hits him and as soon as that happens Amare and Diaw start running. Zoom back out to the full court view and we see that, according to Stu's "letter of the law" nonsense, there is no altercation, simply a hard foul and 2 teammates checking on their fallen man, similarly to Duncun afer the Jones/Elson incident, only when RAJA BELL goes after Horry is there an altercation and if you, again, watch the video once the "altercation" between these two begins Amare and Diaw head back to the bench. It is interesting to me that no one has brought this up. Stu Jackson must never have been confronted with his hypocrisy in this manner because clearly he is running by his own set of biased definitions.
The Spurs/NBA's actions in this series has made me lose a lot of faith in the system. My mourning of the Suns' loss will be extensive and I plan on boycotting the Spurs/Jazz series...I hope SA gets taken in 4!

jessica said...

As a Suns fan, I'm grateful to have come across this.

Here I am mourning my team's loss, and all these sports writers are just rubbing salt in the wound.

They *are* acting self-righteous, and they *have* made u-turns (many of them were saying they didn't know which way to call the series earlier on, now they're saying things like "Stop whining Suns fans, the Spurs were just better.")
Many of them can't even so much as give credit to the Suns for how hard-fought the series was. (Leave that to the Spurs - I don't like the Spurs of course but at least they had the decency to act like this was a difficult series for them.)

These writers seem to be going 'nah-nah-nah-nah-nah' to the Suns. Maybe that's because the Suns' losing gives the writers the excuse to say that they were right all along with their boring cliches about how running, finesse teams that emphasize offense over defense can't survive in the playoffs.

So it's nice to have read this post.