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Game 5 - Underdog Has Arrived

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Suns fans, welcome (back) to the underdog. Its been awhile since we've been here but here we are.

The transition from favorite to scrappy little runt started with blowing the end of game 1 and blowing a big second half lead in game 2. Getting blown out of game 3 made it official and blowing out the Spurs in game 4 didn't change the fact that the era of "Suns as Favorites" has blown over. And that really blows.

The good news is we've been here before and if you remember, it was kind of fun. The 04-05 team was a blast of warmth bringing an entirely new dynamic to the NBA. Each victory for the entire season was a pleasant surprise to be relished with joy. The team played that way and the fans cheered that way.

The next season's expectations were dashed in the summer when greed (you decide who's) sent Joe Johnson to the Hawks and Amare's knee killed new found hopes before they had time to solidify.

Another trip to the conference finals lead by the two-time MVP and his mercurial French side-kick raised the bar. A healthy Amare added to the team that had twice made it close enough to sniff the finals put everyone's Eyes firmly on the Prize.

Emperor_mediumThe pressure was amped in the 06-07 season, but having it end in questionable  fashion left this year's team, city and fans craving a whole lot more. 

The Suns were favorites to win the divsion going away and the pre-season pick of many to at least compete. We were anything but the underdog. That pressure to win now at all costs drove the Suns to "The Trade" and carried the team right into the playoff's where they were a solid pick by most in the punitocracy to beat the Spurs in the first round.

We fans certainly felt it. We were confident and cocky just like our Coach who stated time and again that the Suns were the better team. Exposed as Mike D'Antoni struting in his Emperor's New Clothes, that myth has been fully busted.

Winning from Behind

To win tonight the Suns need to play like the underdogs they now are. They need to be scrappy and hungy. Instead of coming in expecting a win they need to walk on the floor knowing that the only path to victory will be to out hustle and out-will the champions in black and silver. 

  • In the great debate between Kerr (defense) and D'Antoni (offense) I think we all know which has to show up tonight. Every big run the Suns have had in this series has been sparked by defensive intensity. They need to bring it for four (or more) full period's of play.
  • Amare the Beast needs to return from his hibernation. Putting Diaw into the line-up with he and Shaq for the first time all season seemed to throw him a bit. That and his Coach going away from him in big situations in games 1 and 2. Amare needs to step up and refuse to be denied. Every time he touches the ball he needs to go strong and be focused. Diaw and Bell are not going to carry the scoring load again.
  • A few weeks ago against Dallas we saw Shaq come out on the floor and switch the screens and defend away from the rim. It might be a good time to try that again. Shaq needs to spend his energy as freely as his money and do it on defense.
  • LB hitting shots. Bell hitting shots. Nash hitting shots. Giricek hitting shots. They need to be dialed in and spreading the floor. The Spurs will try to give Diaw different looks and will likely double Amare hard. Our shooters need to shoot as if their lives depended on it. But have fun too...but be focused....and stay loose...Call it a relaxed intensity with focus and frivolity...
  • Embrace your Inner Underdog

    Enjoy each victory as if its your first. Be it tonight to extend the inevitable or that first victory next season.

    Embrace it, because with this Suns team we can no longer expect it.