Forget moral victories. I'll take beating Cleveland ugly on Sunday and hopefully the Nets tonight over a loss any day of the week.
It's gotten so bad for the Phoenix Suns that the Nets' actually appear to be a tough matchup. PG Devin Harris has made the All-Star game and is a lifelong Suns killer. PF/C Brook Lopez is a much better player than his brother. PF Kris Humphries is a Suns killer as well, just on a smaller scale. He played for Dallas and Toronto previously and the fact that I even know his name tells me to beware. SG Anthony Morrow and backup PG Jordan Farmar, and even backup-backup PF Troy Murphy all seem to have had good games against the Suns in recent seasons.
Ugh. This is what its come to. Hand-wringing over playing the 10-27 Nets.
Just pray to basketball heaven that the Nets don't go on a 10-0 run - or even an 8-2 run that gives up a lead - at any point in the game. Cuz if that happens, it's over. This Suns team has ZERO fight in them. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And I'm not just talking about the score. Blowouts happen. Hit the jump for what I'm really talking about.
I'm talking about not one player stepping up to Goran Dragic's side when JR Smith and then Kenyon Martin bullied him like a schoolboy (youtube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdFWUnQAqZE&feature=player_detailpage). I'm talking about not one hard foul against JR Smith after he laughed at Dragic and showboated a 'pull the chair' defense under the basket.
Early in the fourth quarter, Dragic was fouled on the perimeter as he attempted a drive. Two more steps and a whistle later, JR Smith gave Dragic an intentionally hard foul on a swipe at the ball. Then - as Dragic was turning to confront Smith - Kenyon Martin grabbed Dragic and, literally, picked him up off the ground by pressing his hands into Dragic's chest and back, carrying the young man three feet before setting him back down.
What did the other Suns players on the court do in support of Dragic? Well, Warrick stepped up from behind Martin to hold HIM back rather than in between them to separate them. Gortat walked Dragic off to the other end of the court. And that was it. No one else stepped in at all.
And on the next Phoenix possession, Dragic posted JR Smith under the basket. Smith pulled thechair, stepping away from defense entirely and... Dragic travelled. Turnover.
And both times, the Nuggets bench was laughing, as was JR Smith.
I have never seen such a horrible display of teamsmanship in my life. Yeah, I don't actually know if that's a word. I maybe made it up.
Someone please tell me if I got this all wrong.
Now maybe Dragic said something really mean to Smith, prompting Martin to carry Dragic away from Smith for safety reasons. Maybe Dragic was to blame for all this. But I highly doubt that.
Anyway, deep breath. Back to the game tonight.
Here's the Nets lineup. They've been resting and prepping for 2 days.
Who's gonna play like an All-Star tonight?
Harris or Lopez? Sure. But I'm talking about someone else too. The Suns lately have been letting nobodies play like All-Stars. Farmar had 20 and 10 subbing for Harris in their last game. Humphries is averaging 9 points per game on the year. Maybe the rookie - Favors - will have a career game like DeMarcus Cousins did a week ago.
Yet, maybe tonight the tide will change. Maybe tonight the Suns play with some fire. Maybe the Suns as a team play like they care to be there, and will fight back if the Nets make a run.
We'll see. Unfortunately for me, I'm too much of a fan not to watch. It's like watching a car wreck over and over. You want to look away and you know you should look away... but you just can't.