That had to be the most depressing blowout playoff victories over a hated rival, ever.
You could feel going into the game that the crowd was completely on edge (those that even bothered to come) and as my season ticket holder row-mate said, "If the Suns don't take an early lead this crowd is going to get quiet fast."
And even after the Suns did jump out to a quick 25 - 5 advantage the one's on their feet cheering were the "I'm excited to be at a playoff game" fans (more power to them) and not the slog through decade after decade of post season disappointment dishards.
We just sat quietly well aware that no matter the margin of victory today, the outcome was meaningless. The anger still boils.
As I explained to my wife when she asked why I wasn't more excited about the win - talk to me if they can win two more. In the mean time this is still the same team that couldn't muster enough energy, passion or smarts to find a way not to get into a 0- 3 hole in the first round. This game proved nothing.
Credit to Raja Bell for showing why he's the heart and soul of this team. When someone needed to step up and lead by example on the floor it was Raja that came out and imposed his will and lead the way.
Credit Boris for a good game. Suns fans know what he's capable of and know that while its reasonable to get a performance like that occasionally, its not something that can be counted on. So, before you get too high on Diaw, just remember those same shots against smaller players he was making in the post today are the same one's he was missing in Game 2. D'Antoni wasn't an idiot for going to him then and he wasn't a genius for going to him today.
Credit the Coach for FINALLY recognizing that Half a Hill wasn't going to get it done. The greatest mistake in this series was not benching Hill for the first two games. D'Antoni said as much in his post-game interview.
Credit the Suns defense for finally adjusting to the pick and roll by putting a longer player on Parker and more for just playing energetic rotate and recover defense. Effort and energy. Funny how that works.
I would really like to think that there's something wrong with Amare's shoulder or elbow. The alternative is that he came out in an elimination game and went 3 for 11 because he wasn't into the game. But credit him for this bit of post-game candor when he admitted that the Suns finally came out and played with energy for 48 minutes.
Color me stupid for defending this team all year when they blew off winnable games with the "no energy" excuse. I figured that at this point in their careers, with the amount of playoff experience and veteran leadership that there was no way they would go into a playoff series and not bring it each game for the entire game. Obviously, I gave them too much credit.
That's why there is no joy in Sunsville. In the end, those of us that follow this team through each and every minute of the season know that while they brought it today, there's no reason to think they will do so three more times. In a row. Twice on the road. Against the San Antonio Spurs.
[Note by Phoenix Stan, 04/27/08 6:45 PM PDT ] - Post Game Audio
Amare and Raja discuss game 4 and the Suns hopes
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