Many times we in the media can get carried away in our preview of a game or series that’s to be played. But, this year’s series between the Suns and Spurs warrants all the attention we can give it. The second round meeting between these two teams will be a war!!
The Suns and Spurs tip off the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday afternoon at US Airways Center (12:30 p.m., ABC).�� (NBAE Photos)
Bill Walton said this week that the winner of this series will win it all! With the number one seed, Dallas eliminated, it does appear that could be the case. However, nobody wants to play the Warriors right now!! The Suns have to overcome a lot of history to get by the Spurs.
Since Mike D’Antoni took over, the Suns have won only 4 of 18 meetings. We all know how good the “Big Fundamental” Tim Duncan is, (he averaged 20.2 pts and 10.6 rebounds vs.. Denver) carving up the Nuggets with his passing out of the double teams.
Gregg Popovich called him a wonderful quarterback as Denver went after him physically. We realize the speed at which Tony Parker plays, second only to Leandro Barbosa, and are braced for the fanatic play of Manu Ginobili.
The Spurs have their version of Shawn Marion defensively in Bruce Bowen, but what has really thrown this series into such a potential epic is the play of two veterans. Through the years 36 year old Robert Horry has been a post-season phenomenon. He leads all active players with six NBA titles. He has appeared in the playoffs all 14 NBA seasons, making big shot after big shot. He buried the Nuggets with a 3-pointer in game #4 with 30 seconds left.
“Big Shot Rob”, rests up for the post-season and be assured he will find a way to impact this series. The other veteran, who created havoc in the first round, was Michael Finley. The two-time all-star was on fire! In the deciding game five against Denver, the former Sun hit 8 shots behind the line. He registered 19 three point hits the 3rd most ever in a five game series.
Having said all that, Amaré Stoudemire should offset all that. Two seasons ago STAT scored a playoff career-high 42 points in game five of the Western Conference Finals vs. the Spurs. Even Tim Duncan was impressed.
Amaré makes the Suns such an elite team, and if he can avoid early foul trouble, look out! Nash will be Nash, Bell will be Bell and Barbosa will be Superman. Without beating a dead horse, I wonder how the series will be officiated?
The Spurs are the biggest complainers in the league, and now that Joey Crawford has been banished, who can hold Duncan accountable??
As Suns vice president of basketball operations, David Griffin, put it, “We’re going to find out if we’ve really taken a step forward” Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich has said the Suns have never beaten them when it matters. Well it matters, and the Suns plan to overcome some history in what will be a classic!