Suns in position of power after taking lead in NBA Finals

Jul 6, 2021, 11:34 PM | Updated: Jul 7, 2021, 9:22 am
Fans cheer after a Cameron Payne #15 of the Phoenix Suns three point basket against the Milwaukee B...
Fans cheer after a Cameron Payne #15 of the Phoenix Suns three point basket against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half in Game One of the NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena on July 06, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — I’m stranded and I don’t mind. Not in the least.

As I write these words, I’m stranded at Phoenix Suns Arena.

You see, right after our show on Tuesday as I schemed in my mind of how to get down here, something happened on the way to heaven.

My battery was dead. My car wouldn’t start. But thanks to a Chris Paul-like assist from my wife, I’m here anyway. Forget the car, she said (well not exactly). Get your butt down to the arena (again, this is not an exact quote).

“This is the Suns’ first Finals appearance in 28 years and you’ll hate yourself if you miss it,” she said.

Now THAT’S a direct quote.

I imagine there was a lot of that going around on this Tuesday night. For the first time in franchise history, the Suns lead the NBA Finals. Let that marinate for a moment. It feels weird to think it and not have your imagination run wild with what comes next.

And I imagine all over the Valley, cars wouldn’t start, dinners were burned, dogs left spots on the carpet and no one cared. The Suns are three wins from the championship. For two-and-a-half hours, the world just kinda stopped spinning.

The last time the Suns were on this stage, they never had the advantage. They were always chasing. They were the bug, never the windshield. Michael Jordan made sure of that.

This is different. Giannis Antetokounmpo might be a two-time MVP, but he’s just as new to this stage as the Suns.

Devin Booker established himself early against the best defense in the playoffs. Chris Paul dazzled late. Throughout, Deandre Ayton worked hard. Really hard. The Suns missed one free throw all night. And Giannis made his return, bullied the Suns early but in the end frightened no one. The Suns hummed offensively at times, notching 30 and 35 points in two of the four quarters and exposed their advantages in the series.

Of course, adjustments will be made. Film will be watched. It feels like it’s come easy for the Suns this summer, but I suspect this series will be more Clippers than Nuggets when all is said and done.

But it’s hard not to dream. To think that we’re close. Really close. And for all of the Paxson 3s or Elie kisses or Horry hips, the Suns are in a position of power that, while foreign, feels like it’s meant to be.

I’ll deal with my dead battery tomorrow. There was more than enough juice in this place to get me through the night.

Penguin Air

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