It was a great season and I emphasize great! No one expected the Phoenix Suns to get this far after not even making the playoffs last season. It was a fun run, a good team, one we will remember fondly. But this series is over and you and I both know it.
The Suns just won’t be capable of beating the Los Angeles Lakers in four of the next five games and especially with the way the Lakers are playing.
The Suns just have no answers and its not that you can make all these adjustments and all of a sudden figure the Lakers out. The defending champs are unstoppable right now and are manhandling Phoenix.
As I said on the radio many many times the time to get LA was early in the playoffs. Oklahoma City had the best chance to knock off the Lakers because LA had been reeling losing seven of their final 11 games entering the playoffs, Andrew Bynum had been out of the lineup missing the final 13 games with a strained achilles tendon and Kobe Bryant was nursing injuries to his knee and finger. The longer the Lakers hung around the better they were going to get and we are witnessing that right now with them having won their last 8 games.
The Suns will play to get back in this series, they will take it one game at a time and try to win Game 3 and they very well could do that. Heck maybe they can win two games and make this respectable or they could lose Game 3 and bow out in 4 — this is the season of sweeps you know.
You have to wonder if the biggest loser in this series won’t just be the Suns as a team but Amare Stoudemire as an individual. Stoudemire has been exposed in this series and despite a remarkable near 3 month stretch of domination has yet to dominate any of the 12 playoff games thus far. Stoudemire ,who had 13 30-point games from January 28th to the end of the regular season, hasn’t put in 30 in a single playoff game. And for all the good he did in tallying 16 dougle-digit rebounding games during that same stretch, has gone for 10 or more rebounds just twice in the playoffs and five times has gone for 5 or less rebounds. He is averaging a pathetic 6.6 rebounds per game in the post-season and looks completely lost defensively, fronting a post-up player with no weakside help and allowing cutter to blow by him as if he wasn’t even there.
Not that this is all Stoudemire’s fault, Channing Frye has turned into the Suns playoff version of Shawn Marion during the first two games of the playoffs and has flat out disappeared. But this had become Stoudemire’s team and now he is struggling and with free agency looming the inevitable question is whether the potential suitors for the power forwards services could be turned off by his maximum contract demands and average player performance in these playoffs.
Maybe that could be good news for Phoenix in that they can retain his services on their terms — a three-year extension on top of his one year remaining.
Or maybe Phoenix could allow Stoudemire to opt out of his final year, hit free agency and leave without taking the PR hit because right now fans are clearly frustrated with his performances and this is a what have you done for me lately town. For all the good Stoudemire did in getting the Suns to the #3 seed, this town is starving for its first basketball championship and expected more from its frontcourt star in these playoffs.
If the Suns did let Stoudemire walk they could possibly make a run at Steve Nash’s old pal Dirk Nowitzki should the Mavericks star decide to opt out of the final year of his contract. The Suns would have to clear some space and be creative but it is not out of the realm of possibility that they could consider such a swap.
There will be plenty of time to talk about the Suns off-season as it promises to be busy, but that talk may come a little sooner than expected with the way the Lakers are playing.