It’s often been said that athletes don’t deal with reality. They don’t see the big picture. It’s understandable when you see the commitment it takes to compete at such a high level individually.
Mike D’Antoni and the Suns are weeks away from another run at an NBA title.
Since the Suns’ sensational win in Dallas on March 14, the team has come down to earth. In January, when the Suns posted a 15-1 record, I felt we were witnessing some of the best basketball I have seen in my 25 plus years in the NBA. The Suns were playing at such a level, that they had captured the entire attention of the basketball world.
It all started to slip when Steve Nash’s shoulder froze on him just prior to the all-star game. The team’s game started to freeze as well. I personally think the Suns became bored with little to play for and lost some focus.
Mike D’Antoni felt the team lost a little confidence that the club was pressing. Nobody handles all this better than Mike, who is the last to panic, but he is ticked off it happened. Ironically, the two long winning streaks of 15 and 17 games has seemingly made the season even longer.
After those remarkable stretches, the Suns looked up and still had a month and a half left. It was apparent they weren’t going to catch Dallas for the number one seed and their rear view mirror told them that the Spurs had little or no opportunity to pass the Suns for the number two seed.
So, the reality of the situation is, we’re okay, we will be ready when the playoffs hit. The Suns have a very difficult finish to the regular season, playing four games in five nights.
How will that prepare them for post-season play? Can the Suns get razor sharp during that span of games, or will it take a toll on a team that isn’t all that deep?
To win the NBA Championship, you must win 16 games. Those 16 games could occur within 28 games or ideally it would be nice to shorten the number of games in the first round, as you can almost bet the second round with San Antonio and the Western Conference Finals with Dallas will go the full distance of seven games. My point being that the Suns could use a break and not have to play four seven-game series.
So what is the reality of what’s ahead? Will Shawn Marion’s shot return? Is Boris Diaw’s back still a factor? Will James Jones’ shooting slump continue? Will the Suns’ defense get better? Will the Suns win the title?
I don’t know!
Can they win the title?
The reality is, they can!