In Kill Bill: Vol. 1, the crafty filmmaker Quentin Tarantino
movie with the quote: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
(Always the movie buff, Tarantino took the line from the classic Star
II-The Wrath of Khan – he even cited the quote as an old Klingon
Well, I have a new slant on it. Revenge is a dish best served….orange. I
mean, that felt good. Really, really good.
As good as it feels when you stand up to the neighborhood bully, bloody
his nose and send him running from the hill. As good as it feels when the
cast on your arm is removed and you can finally scratch…the…itch.
To beat the San Antonio Spurs would have been payback enough. To
sweep the Spurs is payback with a purpose. More than a statement; it’s an
exclamation point. The past is now just that; the past. Close the book on
the way things were and welcome to the way things are. And perhaps no
other image best exemplified that, than that of Steve Nash and the stapled
gash above his right eye.
The folks at TNT put up a split screen of Nash. The bloody nose of 2007
on the left and the eye gash of 2010 on the right. They might as well label
one “before” and the other “after” Or “then” and “now”. Back then, the
bloody nose served as a harbinger of things to come. A physical,
demanding series that simply broke the Suns bodies and spirits. But in
2010, the eye gash sent a message. We’re the tougher team. We’re the
better team. We’re the deeper team. And there’s not a damn thing you
can do about it. This cut? Shoot, this little scrape is a souvenir. Proof that
that we can beat you with one eye closed. With time (and plenty of it) to
heal, the Suns can now look forward with both eyes.
It’s a great feeling really, sitting at a blackjack table with a hundred bucks
in chips on the table. As soon as you win another hundred, you put the
first hundred in your pocket. If you can avoid dipping into your pocket to
retrieve the original hundred, you’re doing well. You are playing with
house money. And that’s where the Suns find themselves now.
Amar’e Stoudamire is playing with house money (especially after his step-
up game Sunday). Three months ago he looked like a shiny car with a
faulty motor under the hood. Now that they’re in the Western Conference
Finals, it’s hard to imagine there is anyone left in the GET RID OF HIM
Steve Nash is playing with house money. I can’t believe I or anyone else
ever questioned why he would want to come back to the Suns or vice
versa. But I did.
Grant Hill is playing with house money. Two weeks ago he had never been
out of the first round of the playoffs. Now, he’s in the
conference finals for the first time ever.
Alvin Gentry is too. He took Mike D’Antoni’s style and system and made
the adjustments Steve Kerr craved. The results are staggering.
The bench is playing with house money. Terrell Owens wants a Goran
Dragic jersey for cryin’ out loud and Jared Dudley continues to bring it,
every single night.
Kerr is playing with house money. Once universally bashed by Suns fans,
he now has a giant stack of chips in his pocket. He’s on some kind of a
run at this particular blackjack table (and that includes the luck that came
in not trading Amar’e). Watching him watch the game Sunday was
And most importantly the Suns organization itself is playing with house
money. They took a bold risk in “Los Suns”. It paid big dividends
nationally but left them wounded locally. Now that they’ve
exorcised the demon, doesn’t all that controversy and angst feel like it
happened two years ago?
And while the Arizona Cardinals took this town away from them over the
last couple of years, the Suns have come a long way in trying to steal it
back. A series win, as unlikely as it would be, over the Lakers would turn
this town on its head. That’s playing with house money.