I re-watched the game last night with the benefit of clear eyes, full heart and tivo remote....here's a few notes:
The Suns defensive engery to start the game was impressive. It wasn't so much the personnel adjustments or forcing Parker baseline, it was the will and the effort.
Seeing that and hearing Mark Jackson and JVG ask exactly the same questions I raised immediately after the game just renewed the frustration. Why can't this team play like this all the time? Or at LEAST all the time during the playoff's. Their answer was that is just wasn't who this team was. I guess that's true but the reason its not who this team has to reside somewhere. Any guess who I am pointing the finger at for not building this team into THAT team?
Amare had three fouls in the first half - not a one of them was legit. The first a block on Oberto from behind was all ball. The second, some kind of tangle with KT in the lane away from the ball was totally bogus, and the third he got hit in the face by Parker with the ball and got the call for his trouble...just saying
On offense the adjustment to go to Diaw in the post Shaq on the other block obviously worked well. I wonder now if that move got into Amare's head and he sulked his way through the afternoon. They very rarely got Amare the ball in positions he's used to and while that adjustment helped the Suns in one way it will hurt if Amare can't step up and adjust his game as well.
When the Spurs started the 3rd quarter with a very small line-up and Finely on Amare, you just knew he would destroy. He torched Finely once on the block and the Spurs adjusted by double-teaming Amare with smalls. Amare didn't pass well and didn't adjust well and dominate.
Since the beginning of this series I have noticed that they are going away from Amare when he is guarded by Duncan. I know Timmy is a great defender, but if Amare is going to be The MVP then he can't allow that to stand. He can take Duncan 1:1 and has in the past. I don't know if this is coaching or Amare himself or if the coaching has got into Amare's head by not showing confidence in him. Whatever's going on - its not good.
Even with the big win, the leaders on this team weren't the one's that lead this team. It was Raja and Boris. If this thing is going to continue it has to be Nash, Amare and Shaq that pave the way.
Does anyone else get the sense though that instead of resilience and defiance in that locker room there is only resignation and accusation?
Raja Bell talked about playing hard out of embarrassment of game 3. That's great. Show some heart. But that's not going to get it down for three more games.