If there's one thing that worries me about tonight's game - aside from the officiating crew, the Lakers bigs, Kobe, Sasha Vujavcic, and the weather (more on those later) - it is overconfidence.
Not only is Steve Nash kinda sorta but not really guaranteeing a victory but there was an awful lot of talk from both Suns fans and Suns players about Game 7 and how the Suns could possibly, maybe win on the road.
What Nash said struck me as perfectly reasonable:
"We lost and they held home court," Nash said after the game. "We'll go back home and do the same and we'll come back here for Game 7."
Given the opportunity to clarify things Friday, Nash didn't back down, nor was he definitive.
"It's a belief," he said. "I believe we're going to come home and win and go back and play Game 7 over there."
Of course, the King of the Disrespect Ron Artest didn't care for that dis (nor did he bother to show up for practice on time):
"Oh, man. That's, like, no respect," Artest said. "No respect for us. That's how it's been for a long time so far this season and these playoffs — guys have no respect."
Right, because if the Lakers are one thing, it's disrespected. No one picked them to win this series. It is amazing they even made it this far what with their #1 seed, the top payroll in the NBA and Kobe Freakin' Bryant and Pau Mierda Gasol. Not even Charles Barkley picked them to beat the Suns.
Woe is them. Life is so hard as an underdog, disrespected Laker.
The Suns players at practice on Friday were all on board the Nash confidence train.
- "Even in Game 2 at the end of the 3rd quarter we were tied up with them in LA and then we played another good game in LA so we definitely think we can beat them in LA." - Robin Lopez
- "Every time you go into battle you have to have confidence but nothing is given to us, we have to take it." - Amare Stoudemire
- "We are going to smash those suckers like 30,000 pounds of mashed bananas." - Dramatic interpretation of what the Phoenix Suns Gorilla would say if he talked
But before all that Game 7 stuff, the Suns actually have to win Game 6 WHICH IS NOT A GIVEN.
If the Suns take the court and assume they can win at home just because they did so handily in Games 3 and 4 then there will be about 20,000 sad orange pandas steaming out of the Mad House on Washington (No? How about the US Airways Center Of Lunatic Fanatics?).
We all WANT the Suns to win. We certainly DON'T WANT to see the Lakers and their #24 fans celebrating in OUR building. But those 11 guys in the white and purple uni's are going to have to do their part. They are going to have to play the best game of their lives and play harder then they ever have before and then take it up a notch. Even Dwayne Jone and Taylor Griffin and Earl Clark need to be bring their best towel waving, cheer games.
I have absolutely ZERO strategy for this game.
We know what they Lakers do well. They give Kobe the ball and watch him be brilliant and hope that a couple of their OG's can hit some shots. They try and defend the Suns pick and roll. They flood one side of the zone and find seams, baseline cuts and rebounding lanes. They waited until a crucial Game 5 to unleash their secret Goran Dragic stopper who's name I will refrain from mentioning in an effort to restore peace to the civil-war torn Balkans conflict thing.
The Suns game plan is really pretty obvious. Play hard. REALLY REALLY HARD
When the Suns do that they beat the Lakers. When Amare is aggressive attacking the rim and all the boys are attacking the glass and employing their Run and Rebound and Zone game plan the outcome is virtually guaranteed.
Yes, I said it. I am guaranteeing a Suns win for no other reason than I would hate to see this amazing season end tonight at home. This series MUST go back to LA for a Game 7 and only then would I be satisfied with any result.
Other obstacles to consider?
- The weather: It will be much warmer for tonight's game then it was for Game 3 and 4. Given that the games are played indoors, I am not exactly sure how this will change things but I can't help but thinking back to a game in January where Nash cited "weather and bio-rhythms" as reasons for a loss
- Bio-rhythms: I have no idea what these are but Steve has mentioned the term on several occasions so lets just hope they are positive (assuming positive = good)
- Officiating crew: The combination of Bill Kennedy and Scott Foster is not a good omen. Kennedy ejected Gentry from a game in Denver and Foster has a reputation for allowing a lot of physical contact on Nash (I am including this here to fore-shadow the revelation of the Smoke Monster's real identity should the unthinkable happen and the Suns lose)
- Elimination Game Tightness: This is the first elimination game this team has faced and by this team I mean guys like Channing Frye and Jared Dudley. Amare, Nash, Hill, Jason have all been eliminated before.
- To combat this potential stress I am recommending a little Peanut Butter and Jelly Time as a pre-game tension reliever. If it can work for these guys it can work for the Suns
....and here's a little story about crazy dancing that you won't hear anywhere else
During the media availability following Suns practice on Friday, we were gathered near the chairs on the side where Dudley and Jason were sitting and I look over to the far hoop where guys like Frye, Jones, Hill and Dragic were getting up some extra shots. My attention of course was focused on whoever I was
interviewing standing close to w/ my mic hand extended when I hear a noise.
I look over and there's Grant Hill and Goran Dragic with their arms interlocked and dancing in a circle like a square dance move which I learned from this site (Internet FTW!) is called an Arm Turn. Grant I believe was chanting something that sounded like "G-O-G-I" which of course is Goran's nickname, Gogi.
So, there's that to mull over.
One last bit of pre-game wackiness:
Amare Stoudemire is urging people to wear an orange Band-aid on their foreheads in sympathy which his scratch. I got a good close look at Amare's uncovered scratch yesterday and when I use the term "scratch" I am being very literal here. It's a scratch. That is all. No stitches. No bruising. No swollen right eye. A scratch right between his eyebrows.
In honor of tonight's game and the Bully Ball we need Amare to play, I am going to refrain from commenting on his tone-deaf attempt at self-contrived sympathy but if you are coming to the game be sure to wear your band-aid and pick up your Amare face.
Now, go enjoy the rest of your day and try not to think about how important tonight's contest is to the future of the the Phoenix Suns and the entire sports history and culture of the State of Arizona. No pressure.