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Suns, League, Media get rope-a-doped by the Spurs, 102-96

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The Bad News First

This just in. The Spurs are officially the best rope-a-dope team in the NBA ever. They do it during the season. They've done it in the past two games with the Suns. There was Amare on fire in the first half. Almost nothing in the second half. He got rope-a-doped.

BallHype: hype it up!

You can complain all you want about the Suns folding, players disappearing, real or imaginary coaching mistakes, but a lot of comes down to that the Spurs are always a lot tougher than they look. Even in the first round, these are not your average NBA piss-boys, they are the defending champs and have the home court advantage. Even their fans are fooled. They came up with the "Mike Finished" nickname for Finley. It was his one-man run to start the second half and his all-NBA post defense (LOL) on Doris Meow that was the difference.

My Knox ball-playing friend, K, is an econometrician that I went/still go to grad school with. He studies psychological biases in sports-betting. We were booked on stats and spent many late nights drinking while running regressions in a computer lab together. Anyway, he knows what he's talking about when he says:

I love how people deal with "random" outcomes. If Tim Duncan misses a three at the end of the game, which he surely does 75% of the time, then Steve Kerr is a genius for getting Shaq, Mike D'Antoni is a brilliant coach, and Steve Nash is MVP. But instead he makes it, and all those guys are worthless.

However, I wasn't so good at the stats. I say instead that TD's three was just par for the course, part of a larger picture of the Spurs dominance over the Suns. If it wasn't that three, it would have just been some other great play and the Spurs still winning that we would be talking about instead.

In fact, if you look back to the past series, I don't ever think the Suns were that close to beating them. Ever. Have we ever even taken them to 7? Even last year, maybe we win another game with Amare and Boris. Maybe we take them game 7 at home. Or maybe we still lose game 5 or a game 7. That's still not beating them. For this reason, I was a big Shaq booster. Better to blow up the team than to live in denial, on hope and ultimately with disappointment and despair.


The Good News

In the words of The Dude: "Nothing is f***ed here, man."

The Spurs held serve and we take it back to Phoenix for two more games. I never thought these first two games were "must win," but I will concede that the next two certainly are. We can look to steal game 5 or 7, provided we keep it together over the next two, which means - The Suns are not a team to take losses hard, just like they are not a team to take leads seriously either. They know what it means to be down 0-2, but they know they still have a real shot. They are NOT playing for pride, so you should not be watching that games just looking for hope in next year's roster.

We talk about next year when the Suns season is over, and not one moment before, please.

Other News that shows my forecasting supremacy (just kidding, I don't believe in forecasts).

[1] Three point shooting continues to ill. The best 3 point shooting team in the league shot 31% with only 4 makes. The Spurs also had 4 makes in 2 fewer tries for a better percentage.

[2] Unless the Suns sweep, this series is going 7 or to Spurs. I was right on my end-of-season prediction of 8 or 9 wins with 14 games to go, so I can only hope to be right again. Suns in 7. Amen.

3] Expect the Suns to come out hot, read P. Stan's championship guide, make the right adjustments and get a win on Friday! These long breaks are the best hope for Grant to heal up a little more.


The Championship Piggyback Win-Just-One-Playoff-Series-Please! Piggyback

Ironically, the guy who piggybacked with the Suns for a championship, Grant Hill, may not even be able to piggyback his way to his very first playoff series victory - for the same reasons his Magic teams have always come up short - his mercurial inability to stay healthy. Had Hill been a bit less healthy earlier in the season, the Suns might have thought twice about trading Marion or doing so cheaply. Had Hill been a little less healthy latier in the regular season, the Suns might have developed Linton Johnson more. Instead, Hill's playoff unhealthiness could have Mailman-Laker type effects on this team's playoff hopes.


Question for you guys:

Who are the greatest players of all-time to never when a playoff series? Of the current three, Grant Hill, Tracy MacGrady and Paul Gasol, only the latter and the youngest looks probable to do it this year.