I don't care who you are - a Suns fan, a Spurs fan or just a basketball fan - that game was a lot of fun to watch. This was one of the most fun games I have watched this season. Both teams were absolutely awesome and did everything they could to win the game.
You can obviously tell that the players on each team really respect each other. Steve Nash and Tony Parker bumped heads late in the 4th quarter and they were both checking on each other more than they were worried about themselves.
Steve Nash couldn't stop bleeding and they had to take him out for a possession. That was what killed the Suns. Maybe they still wouldn't have won the ballgame with Nash in the game but it sure would have helped. You could see the trainer's hands shaking as he was trying to work as fast as possible to get Nash back in the game.
I came to really respect the Spurs this game. They and the Suns are both class organizations, both have really classy players on the team and both teams are absolutely awesome. Tim Duncan is unstoppable. He knows how to play the game and when to take his shots.
The refs did a really good job during the game. The had one really bad call and one semi-bad call. The away-from-the-ball call they made at the end of the game was just terrible. They had been making no-calls all day and they decide that at the end of the game they should make that call? Just stupid. And the semi-bad call they made was at the end of the half when they called a foul on Amare Stoudemire that should have been a no call. The Suns were on a fast break and could have gone up by 8 points but instead the Spurs scored and the Suns were only up by 4. On the other hand, the refs were very lenient in letting Steve Nash play while he had blood running down his face. They only made him leave when it was obvious that the bleeding wasn't going to stop.
But the refs didn't change the outcome of the game (despite calling a stupid technical foul call on Iavaroni during halftime. The difference in the game? Offensive and defensive rebounds. The Spurs had 8 more offensive rebounds than the Suns (most of those in one possession) and they had 16 more rebounds overall.
The bothersome part is the Spurs won 3 of the 4 quarters. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker both scored 32 points. Michael Finley added another 19. Duncan also had 16 rebounds - 8 of them offensive.
On the Suns side, they caused 15 Spurs turnovers. Against the Spurs, that's pretty awesome. The Suns also had 5 blocks to the Spurs 6.
The Suns still aren't shooting well against the Spurs but I'm beginning to realize that it isn't that the Suns aren't just missing shots but that the Spurs are causing them to miss shots. Steve Nash had 31 points but only 8 assists. Amare Stoudemire only shot 6-19 and had 20 points. The Suns also shot less 3-point shots than the Spurs (14 to the Spurs 16).
Overall, I think the Suns played ok. They just had some bad breaks at the end that caused them to not really have a chance. But I won't say that the Suns lost the game. The Spurs won it. That's the best compliment I can give to them.
The Spurs are an awesome team. If the Suns are going to come back and win at least one in San Antonio they are going to have to play a nearly perfect game. But the Suns can do it. We've seen it before. I'm definitely not ready to concede the series yet. With a healthy Steve Nash at the end of the game and maybe another 4-5 rebounds, who knows what would have happened? Plus, the Spurs lost the first game in their series with Denver and then won 4 in a row. I don't think the Suns will win 4 in a row against the Spurs but it's definitely not a lost cause yet. But I will admit the rest of the way is going to be an uphill battle and the Suns are going to have to work very, very hard to get there. I do think the Suns can pull out the win in game two on Tuesday - as long as Steve Nash can come back and play in that game.
What are your thoughts on this game?