What just happened? How did it happen? The Phoenix Suns are the best team in the NBA!
OK, that might not be the correct answer, but something special just happened.
We’re all smart enough to know the Suns are not 24 points better than the Indiana Pacers. Even the most delusional Suns fan is not picking Phoenix to win a best-of-seven against Indiana. However, the nation is waking up this morning and asking serious questions about the Suns. They will never be taken lightly again.
The Pacers have enough caché in the bank that this game will be ignored. All NBA teams have one head-scratching loss per season, most have a lot more than one. The first team to visit Bankers Life Field House after Indiana’s West Coast road trip is…the Phoenix Suns. It wouldn’t be a stretch to bet the farm on the Pacers to cover that night.
Enough with the qualifying statements. The Suns crushed a team with only six road losses on the season. The Suns lit up the best defense in the league. The Suns did not take advantage of a road weary team since the Pacers have had only played one game on this road trip. Indiana was on a 13-2 stretch so Suns didn’t just luck into playing a team at the right time. Although it was just one game, this game was all about the Suns.
The Suns moved the ball well. The Suns played the necessary defense to get the fast break going. Getting the ball down court quickly did two things: 1) forced the Pacers to protect the rim which collapsed the defense opening up the outside for threes; and 2) made Roy Hibbert run the floor chasing big men which led to foul trouble. Every Suns player that stepped on the court played with energy. It seemed like every Suns player at one time or another hit a big shot that kept the Pacers at arm’s length all night.
Today is the day to congratulate the Suns. Friday, the mood should change. It is not difficult to give all that you have against the Indiana Pacers. Every young team in sports history has responded to national television against the best team in the league. The question now is, what will the Suns do with the national attention they just picked up?
The next four games will determine if this team is truly maturing. All of us should be very impressed by the Suns Wednesday night against Indiana and the 124-100 win.
Will the players push the tempo the same way against Washington? Is the new “energetic” version of Markieff Morris here to stay against Cleveland? Can Gerald Green be trusted with his shot selection at Philly? Are three balls or bricks going to be raining down from Channing Frye in the last game before the Indiana rematch in Milwaukee?
The next four opponents are a combined 52 games below .500. The best team is Washington — who would be tied for 11th place if they played in the West. A team that is maturing and moving to something special celebrates this win over Indiana by winning four more in a row. An immature team celebrates too long and losses a golden opportunity to go on a nice run.
The Suns just woke up the league. Now let’s hope we’re not talking about the snooze button the next time Phoenix sees Indiana.