Don’t be surprised, not even by the sweep.
The Suns were the better team and after they won the first two games at
home they put the Spurs in a hole they just weren’t going to be able to
climb out of.
Game 3 was the decisive game and what impressed me most about that
game wasn’t the performance of Goran Dragic it was the sense of urgency
by the Suns.
With veteran players like Steve Nash, Grant Hill and Amare Stoudemire
leading the way they Suns never took their foot off the pedal, never got
complacent and clearly weren’t satisified just protecting home court. They
took it to San Antonio in Game 3, overcame and early deficit and rode
Dragic’s career performance to the Suns biggest post-season win since the
1993-94 made it to the NBA Finals.
For all intent and purposes this thing was over after Game 3. The Spurs
would put up a valiant effort in Game 4 but they knew they were finished,
they understood they couldn’t come back and although they never quit,
they were a defeated team and the only thing that could have extended
this series was a lackadaisical effort by Phoenix and as we learned, that
was not going to happen.
The Spurs had no answer for the Suns high screen and rolls, three-point
shooting and bench play. San Antonio knew what was coming yet was
powerless to do anything about it. In Game 3 the Suns simply forced the
Spurs into mismatches the entire fourth quarter with timely picks that
forced the Spurs to have Duncan and Blair covering Dragic and Barbosa. It
was like taking candy from a baby. The Spurs bigs were too slow and out
too far to cover the Suns quicker guards and the Spurs help defense was
always late getting over. School was in session and this time it was the
Suns giving the lessons.
The Suns exorcised some demons in this series, they embarrassed the
Spurs. You can say the Spurs had this coming and you would be right. In
the past the Suns tried to build teams capable of beating the Spurs — to
no avail. This time they just built a good team. The Spurs had a part in
this, time catches up with all of us at some point and such was the case
with Tim Duncan. Still a good player but no longer a great player, Duncan
wasn’t capable of putting the Spurs on his back and carrying his team. And
the Spurs new collection of role players (Matt Bonner, Richard Jefferson,
DeJuan Blair) was not as good as the previous group led by Bruce Bowen,
Robert Horry and, yes, even the pick master Fabricio Oberto.
The Suns will start concentrating on their next series immediately but the
fans need to take some time to savor this one and enjoy it. It’s been a long
time coming and payback is sweet. And Suns fans can take solace it this —
even though the Suns lost to San Antonio in the four previous playoff
meetings, at least they were never swept, embarrassed and dismantled the
way this Spurs team was by your Phoenix Suns.