Green: I want the Spurs
I want the San Antonio Spurs.
The regular season is winding down and the Suns are battling for playoff positioning and, while we are still unsure of who the team will play, I know for a fact that I want it to be the team that wears black and silver.
Opinions on the matter here at Sports 620 KTAR tend to lean towards not wanting any part of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker…again. The thought is that we already know how the series would end, that the Spurs would eliminate the Suns the same way they have in three of the past five postseasons.
I want another shot at those guys.
Granted, I am well aware of how crushing yet another defeat at the hands of the Spurs would be. It was disappointing when they beat the Suns in the 2005 Western Conference Finals, it was devastating when they moved on after an epic series in 2007 semifinals and it was all but a formality, in 2008, that the Purple and Orange were not going to get past the Spurs once more. Being knocked out of the playoffs just one more time by these guys, well, I'm not sure if Suns fans can handle that.
But, just for a second, imagine how gratifying it would be to send the Spurs home for the summer. Glorious, right?
Don't get me wrong, beating the Spurs this year would not make up for two missed shots at the team's first ever NBA Championship, and it wouldn't make me feel any better about Tim Duncan making three pointers to send games into overtime. It would not give the Suns the Larry O'Brien Trophy and the bragging rights would be minimal at best.
But it has to happen.
Suns fans need the sort of closure defeating the Spurs would provide, as it would liberate them from the "fear" they experience at the very thought of having to watch another Suns/Spurs series. They need to experience the pleasure of watching Gregg Popovich and his team leave the court for the last time this season, with no more games in their future. And, you know what? The Suns can do it.
While the Spurs still have Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, and they added Richard Jefferson (who has struggled), but the rest of the supporting cast is either inexperienced or just not very good. While the Suns have developed a deep and useful bench, the Spurs have been relying on players like Matt Bonner, Roger Mason, DeJuan Blair and what's left of Antonio McDyess. Missing from the list: Bruce Bowen. Furthermore, Duncan is a little older and Parker and Ginobili have been battling injuries.
We all remember the job Bowen did defending Nash. He would hound the point guard all over the court, bumping, grabbing and reaching, all the while frustrating the Suns' leader. He helped slow the game down and limit Nash's penetrating, hampering the offense and deflating the Suns. With Bowen and his bowtie doing analyst work for ESPN, the Spurs do not have a defender to put on Nash.
Not like it would be the end of the world if the Spurs slowed Nash, however, because this Suns team is more versatile than any of the previous editions. The 2010 Suns are able and willing to throw the ball to Amare Stoudemire in the post and let him go to work, and not even the Spurs have an answer for a healthy Amare. I mean, he's only averaged 32.7 points per game against San Antonio this year.
Throw in Jason Richardson and Grant Hill, as well as Channing Frye, Jared Dudley, Goran Dragic, Leandro Barbosa and Lou Amundson off the bench, and I'd say the Suns have the pieces to take down their nemesis.
Only four members of the Phoenix Suns have ever lost to the Spurs in a playoff series. While I'm sure Stoudemire, Nash, Hill and Barbosa don't fear the Spurs, the rest of the team has no reason to feel like they cannot win the series if in fact they play each other.
You might be hoping it never comes to it. You may want the Suns to play the Trail Blazers or the Thunder or the Nuggets, but that's what you, the Suns fan, needs and, deep down, you know it. You tell me you've seen this movie before and have no interest in a sequel? I say it's time to re-write the script.
Adam can be reached with your questions and comments by e-mail here.