With this scorching start the Phoenix Suns are on pace to win 73 games. That's not going to happen which means at some point the team is going to go on a slump and fans expectations are going to be crushed and the disappointment and anxiety level will rise.
Even more important than how fans and media react to the coming adversity is how the team prepares itself for the long haul.
Right now, from Coach Gentry on down we are hearing a story of humility and desire coming from the Suns. Gentry talks about waiting until 20 or 25 games in to assess the team and that Amare has another level to jump to in his game. Nash talks about how the team is still figuring itself out. Hill calls it a work in progress.
This team is playing with a fire and edge that comes from being a discounted underdog. That extra oomph has been the difference in at least two close games this season and is needed to overcome the size disadvantage the Suns face on a nightly basis. When your front line is over-matched physically it takes a special kind of energy to win the rebounding battle.
Beating the World Champion Lakers on their floor on the second night of back-to-back would raise fans expectations through the roof and risks taking away the team's edge that it needs to bring that effort every night. We've seen how the pressure of "eye on the prize" can sap the Suns energy. We've seen how the media and fans explode with angst at every set back once the bar has been raised to the championship level.
What this team needs more than a win tonight is to continue to believe that they are the underdog and that they must work hard to get better every day.
That's why a loss tonight to the Lakers isn't such a bad idea.
[Note by Phoenix Stan, 11/12/09 10:52 AM MST ]
To clarify my point that probably wasn't made clear enough in the original rushed draft this morning....
While I strongly feel that a loss tonight isn't a bad thing and in fact has an "upside" I also by no means think the Suns should (or will) lay down and not try and get the win.