A little something different today. As I mentioned in my bio, I am originally from California, Los Angeles area to be more exact. The plays off between the (Los Angeles) Lakers and (Phoenix) Suns has been tough for me. Granted, The Lakers are not the same team they were from back in the 80’s, but then again neither are the Sun’s as they were in 1993 (remember Charles Barkley!). June 1993, ‘Suns Fever’ as they had made it all the way to the finals.
However in 1993, the Chicago Bulls proved to be too much for the Suns. The play offs went well, at least the first game, the Suns won 107 PHX to 102 LA. The the next three games they lost by 1-7 points. Last Tuesday was ‘do or die’ for the Suns and they made a nice comeback with a 114 to 97 win over the Lakers. Thursday’s game a bit of a ‘nail bitter’ but the Suns managed to stay alive (even without Raja Bell) with a win of 126 PHX to 118 LA in OT.
Saturday night was the game that would decide who would advance to Conference Semi-Finals. The game last night was incredible. Never did Suns lose their lead over the Lakers. By half-time they had a sizable 15 point lead, but that wasn’t good enough, by the end of the forth quarter, the Suns had increased their lead by 30+ points!!! Was it a case of over-confidence on the part of the Lakers, how else would explain them losing to the Suns 31 points (121 PHX, 90 LA)?
This is not the first time an Arizona team has made a dramatic comeback to win a series. Flashback to November 4, 2001, AZ Diamondback and NY Yankees. The game had been going slowly, with the Diamondbacks being the first to score in the 6th. Then things made a turn for the worse in the 7th & the 8th as the Yankees not only scored but took the lead. It was almost over but a small shimmer of hope, as the Diamondbacks Grace gets in a run in the bottom of the 9th to the tie the game. Extra innings? Not quite, the Yankees made a critical error moving their infield in as ‘Gonzo’ batted in the wining run.
So it is on to the Conference Semi-Finals with the first game on Tuesday here in Phoenix against the Los Angeles Clippers. Wait, the Clippers?! How in the world did they get into the Conference Semi-Finals? A better questions, is how did they even get into the Conference Quarterfinals? The Suns and the Clippers have played each other only 4 times and each won half of those games. I don’t see the Clippers being that much of a challenge as long as the Suns stay focused and keep playing like they did in Games 5-7.
The good news is, Miami took care of Chicago already so when we make it into the NBA Finals we won’t have to deal with them. Based on who’s left (Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets) looks like we could face either Miami or Detroit. The bad news, The San Antonio Spurs are still in and unless the Dallas Mavericks can take care of them we will face them in the Conference Finals. This was the case last year with disastrous results (lost games 1-3 & 5). Last year we were able to take care of Dallas in the Conference Semi-Finals so should they happen to eliminate San Antonio they shouldn’t prove to be too much of a challenge for us.
But, one big difference this year is the Suns as whole are good and they have shown they can adapt as demonstrated in Game 6 with the unjustified suspension of Raja Bell. Last year they were too dependent on a couple players and when they got hurt the team fell apart. This should be an interesting and exciting next few weeks!