I wrote this for Skeets at Yahoo's Ball Don't Lie and waited until it posted there to post it here...I know you all have been waiting breathlessly to know what I think, so here it is - Phx Stan
This series is just like when I was growing up on the mean streets of Maryvale on the west side of Phoenix. In sixth grade there were a group of boys from the next block that always picked on me. Stole my lunch money and generally pushed me around. Then over the summer I grew three inches and put on 15 pounds, took karate lessons, bought a baseball bat and my big brother came home from the Army. We showed those punks who's boss! It's time to kick the Spurs in the teeth.
Basketball analysis starts where we left off last year. Since then, the Spurs are older, slower and have much less depth and far fewer weapons offensively. They don't have the ability to score in more then two or three ways anymore and have to hold the Suns to under 90 points to have any chance at all.
Is there anyone anywhere that thinks the Spurs are better now then they were a year ago?
The Suns on other hand, are a much improved basketball team. Most notably in all areas of the game.
Shaq of course gets most of the attention and rightly so. He's owned Duncan over their careers and makes double teams unnecessary. When you don't have to double Timmy in the post there's only two other guys on the Spurs team that can beat you off the dribble. Two. And they generally don't play well together.
San Antonio, where average defensive teams go to look good happens.
Offensively the Suns now can throw the ball in the post to Shaq. Give the ball to Grant or Barbosa in transition or on the wing to create. Post up Diaw when the Spurs switch and neutralize the Spurs best perimeter defender by playing Nash off the ball when Bowen saddles up.
And let's not forget Amare -- the most dominate unstoppable offensive force in the game (over the past three months). In isolation at the top of the key where he's impossible to double or on the unguardable pick and rolls. There is no answer.
The only way the Spurs can hold the Suns to under 100 points in a game is with foul trouble. And this is the deepest Suns team yet. Gordan Giricek and Boris Diaw will be huge in this series.
Bring your cups gentlemen. It's not going to be pretty. But this time big brother is here and he's fully armed for battle.
Prediction: The Spurs will win a couple based on playoff savvy (knees, flops and whines) but that's it -- Suns in 6.