The last thing you want to do after a devastating loss to your number one Nemesis is have to talk about it with your best friend (who happens to be a Lakers fan) and your wife, who is well known around the internets for being a Spurs fan.
Where do I meet these people anyways?
I don't usually play basketball on Fridays but this was a special occasion. My former coach organized a "former players get together" in one of the local gyms so we could hang out with friends and family, catch up on our lives and of course, play basketball. The idea of meeting old friends and playing with them "like the old times" had me really excited until I realized that I had to answer questions and bare comments such as: When are you guys going to have kids?, Your jump shot is not like it used to be and what's wrong with the Suns?
Turns out I had to answer the last question before I even got to the gym since I was stuck in traffic with Sergio and my wife. Fearing for her life she has asked me to not disclose her name **cough** Maureen**cough** so from now on we will call her The Evil Spurs Fan.
Here's a transcript of the conversation that we had:
PanamaSun: I thought hey controlled the game, and they played really well but the Spurs always find ways to get themselves back in the game and then break our hearts. We are a work in progress and we are heading in the right direction, it hurt but we'll get over it.
Sergio: Jesus man! you are not in a court room here. When are you guys going to stop making excuses and start winning important games? It's like every single time you are on national TV you play like crap. The Suns have always lacked mental toughness, that's why they have never been able to close out quarters, let alone close games. We used to fear you guys, what happened to that team?. The fans and media make it even worse, you think that doesn't affect the players? It's like you guys always expect them to win: "FIRE PORTER, TRADE AMARE, NASH AND BARBOSA!" you guys are just pathetic. It's time to realize that you are not elite anymore and live with that. Look at Clippers fans, they are just happy to see their team play. I suggest you do the same.
PanamaSun: You got to accept that we are getting better, it took a lucky shot for them to win the game. I thought The Suns composure was ok. You kind of expected to lose close games before but not with this squad. About the fans and media, well...it's true. We have been a good team for some years and we have a lot of talent. People expect them to be competitive every night, they think that with the talent that we have, we should be a championship team but you know it doesn't work that way. You talk shit about Suns fans but what about you guys? You guys are so high on your precious Lakers team right now that every time you watch them lose you panic right away. Even when you win you are not satisfied. Magic calling the Lakers soft? Even when they are 24-5? How is that any different from what the media has been doing in Phx? Be careful what you wish for. You root for a great team, I'll give you that. But the media has created an "unbeatable aura" around them that will make it worse once they fail. Believe me, I know the feeling. That's the beauty of having low expectations.
The Evil Spurs Fan: I'm sorry to interrupt your incredibly amusing discussion but I have to agree with Sergio on something. I honestly doubt that the Spurs are better than the Suns, talent wise, you guys are off the charts, I mean Matt Bonner is a starter on our team for Christ's sake! But discipline and mental toughness are invaluable factors on every championship team. The Suns are lacking just that. That last play was not luck, how many times have we seen it? Whether it comes from Manu or Bowen, Finley or even Duncan! The truth is the Spurs are in the heads of every single player that wears Purple and Orange on their jerseys. It doesn't matter if they have been part of the history between both teams. The Suns expect extraordinary things to happen against them when they are playing the Spurs, for some reason...it just keeps happening. There was no moral victory, if only, it makes it worse.
Sergio: Exactly! At some point you got to put your foot down and stop thinking about what happened in the past and move on. The Lakers were eliminated by the Suns several times, but as a team you have to move on and just play basketball and stop thinking that something wrong is going to happen. And about the Media thing with the Lakers, it's true. Everyone expects a championship this year, just like you guys just a year ago. I try to stay away from negative and extremely positive feedback. The season is quite young and many things can happen but I'd be lying if I told you I wouldn't be pissed if we don't win this year. I guess that's the curse you have to pay when having high expectations.
This conversation helped me come up with interesting questions:
Are the Suns unable to beat the Spurs on close games because of a subconscious inferiority complex?
Are The Spurs in the Suns heads so bad that good things always happen to them when they play us?
Do the Suns players feel the pressure coming from the media and fans and bloggers?
What did the Lakers do to get over the fact that they were our bitches and move on?
Should we lower our expectations and just enjoy the ride?
Should we leave the drama to the "elite teams"?
Lakers and Spurs fans lurking the site, feel free to join the discussion.