Having dusted off the flux capacitor-enthused crystal ball, I was quite shocked and delighted to see your Phoenix SUNS once again in the Western Conference Finals! Perhaps the new Higgs boson enhanced quark filter in the positronic advanced infinite improbability server slightly skewed the percentages in Phoenix' favor, but we'll have to wait until the end of the season to know for sure. Here's how the season will go down:
The regular season will have multiple oops and downs, but with Beasley going Bea-zinga and averaging 29 and 10 in half his games, Phoenix will once again have the firepower, ignited by the Dragon, to be near the top of the League in offense! Both the Hammer and Dragic become double-double machines, Dudz does everything, and Scola sticks his ugly mug into enough opposing offenses to gum up the works but good--whenever he's too slow to chase down an outside shooter, he somehow is clogging the lane and drawing numerous charges, even on defensive rebounds, and even once on an opposing coach who is simply walking back to the bench.
But the biggest surprise is the emergence of Markieff Morris. By the end of the season, Gentry figures out how to use Kief and B-Easy as a whirling, alternating, fusion PF/SF combo that rebounds, scores--oh, how they score, inside, outside, smoothly, and emphatically-- and plays just enough annoying defense for the SUNS to go on a roll. Last season's late season Bassy continues to spark the bench, along with Wes Johnson's pure stroke and blindingly white smile, the two of which cause opponents to simply stand still and marvel. And Shannon Brown doesn't screw things up too much.
So PHX clicks and rolls through the last month, squeaking into the playoffs as the 8th seed, beating out the Rockets, because Harden keeps waiting for Westbrook to take over in the 4th or Durant to take the last shot, and is shocked when he passes to Linsanity, where we find the real Lin reeLin', or Royce White, who isn't there because his bus hasn't arrived yet.
Phoenix is shocked when it founds out who its first round foe is-- nobody. No team finishes first in the Western Conference! The Laker experiment goes all lala, while Nash is only allowed to run the offense a quarter of each quarter, and even then, Kobe sometimes steals the ball from him as he crosses halfcourt. DHoward shoots an amazing negative percentage from the free throw line (once actually making a free throw in the other team's basket as he attempts to shoot underhanded, granny style, ala Rick Barry).
Clean-shaven, Beardless OKC doesn't deserve the top spot either, as they falter down the stretch, and SAS also ends the regular season in a tailspin, because Kawhi Leonard mistakenly thinks that he is somehow a Vulcan from Star Trek related to Leonard McCoy, Spock, and he keeps trying to do the Vulcan nerve pinch on opponents. And the Clippers season is a disaster as Blake breaks his leg on the rim jumping over a semi while shooting a commercial. So 3 teams end up tied for 2nd, but nobody's in first.
Therefore, PHX draws a first round bye and ends up in the second round against the Minnesota TimberWolves, who are so excited to finally make the playoffs that they party a little too hardy on lutefisk, but lambast the lackluster Lakers anyway. The PHX-MIN series is almost cancelled before it begins while the commissioner's office determines whether it is against anti-discriminatory regulations to have a playoff series with so many white starters. After further review, the NBA lets the games begin. The series goes back and forth, Minny winning in the frozen tundra, PHX winning in the desert. Finally, in game 7, Scola dives under KLove as he's shooting a three, sacrificing his face as he takes a foot stomping that is called a flagrant 2 and ejection on Love. The SUNS win the series and proceed to play...
San Antonio. Pop rested his starters for half the previous series, and he's gunning for PHX. The SUNS look overmatched going into the first game with Duncan looking rested. And indeed the first half looks bad, with Ginobili drawing a charge while hipchecking Goran into the scoring table on the first play that most of the starters are out. Stern phones the officials and suspends three of the SUNS players who looked like they were thinking about leaving the bench-- Gortat, Beasley, and Dudley, who was actually texting and didn't see the play, but read about it on Twitter.
The third quarter is a contest of attrition, with Scola and Ginobili entering a flopping contest that draws so many charges neither team scores. Finally, the Dragon enters the 4th quarter, stating, "Enough!" and "Flame on!" and torches the Spurs for 23 points in the first 4 minutes with 5 threes and 6 assists to himself off the backboard. Pop throws in the towel-- which is quickly charred-- and forfeits the game and the series.
And your Phoenix SUNS are Western Conference champs!
They get ready to face... the Toronto Raptors, the only team whose arena has survived Hurricane Sandy in the East.
You read it here first!