Los Sols de Phoenix
|6:30 PM Pacific / 9:30 PM Eastern|
|Steve Nashty||PG||Tonita Longoria|
|Raja Bell||SG||Michael (Not Quite) Finished / Mano Ginobli|
|Grant Hill / Bad Ass Boris
|STAT||PF||Timmeh "3Ball" Can|
If Los Sols want to steal the Larry O'B this year, they have to first steal (at least) four games from the home teams, starting with Los Spuritos at the Alamo. It will have to be one great heist after another. Worse yet, they not only have to rip off a game from the defending champions, down the road they'll face great teams of astonishing youth.
On the Lakers, excluding Derek Fisher, everyone of import is under 30: Kobe (29), Lamar (28), Gasol, the Great Heist himself, is only 27. A bunch of 2nd and third year players are contributing. The Hornets are even more striking. These teams are great right now, and barring catastrophe they will only get better.
But we need only focus on one season at a time. And only one heist at a time. Technically, Los Sols don't *need* to win this game anymore than they need to win any playoff game. If Los Spuritos hold serve, we take it back to Phoenix where we have to win our two home games and look to take game 5. Or game 7 if neither team falls short early.
Are the Suns the best bandits in the West? Are they the best bandits in the NBA? Nothing in their regular Home/Away season record distinguishes them as a team any better at away games than most of their playoff peers, excluding Utah. A notoriously resilient team when the chips are down, the Suns are a team that doesn't close out other teams when the chips are up. The Suns might be one of the best at stealing games, but they are also one of the best at letting their own nest get poached.
You know the matchups, we have talked endlessly about the strategies. A lot will come down simply to the condition of the guys on the court. We know what they can do under optimal conditions. But this is April. Optimal conditions left the building about a month ago.
Flashback: After the first big win against the Spurs with Shaq, I taunted a few friends of mine with these photos. I was so elated the Suns could win against decent competition! One friend, who played for Knox in College and isn't a homer of either team, acted as an impartial arbiter saying via email:
Nice to be healthy and motivated in March. We'll see what happens in May, when everybody's motivated and nobody's healthy.
T is salty about your posters and I think he might be justified. Spurs are defending champions and in first place and you're treating them like piss-boys. Shaq is the man, but I'm not sure he's enough.
The market (tradesports) likes the Spurs (7-1) a whole lot better to win the championship than the Suns (14-1). Celtics are favored overall. It's good to be in the east.
Are you a Tarheels fan yet?
When everyone's motivated and no one's healthy, indeed. This year's demolition derby started several weeks early, turning a 2-month grind into a 3-month grind. That ain't good for the elderly.
Nash's shot is still off, Grant's wincing in pain. Phantom flus and who knows what other ills are throwing the Suns game off? Will we hear about them? Will they be day-old post-loss excuses? Are they secrets so the Spurs won't target the most gimpy guy on the court?
Thankfully, Coach D'Antoni has rested the bench all year long to save the day. Yay!
Go Los Banditos del Sols!!!!!!!!!!
Live blogging will commence about 30 minutes before tip.
For more insight from the other side visit Pounding The Rock. It's all black and white over there - like Kansas in the Wizard of Oz (1939):
Only not as pretty.