There were 25 reporters crowded around Raja Bell’s locker after the game today. Yes, I counted. That’s 25 more than Game 3, as he ducked out the backdoor before the media was let in after Friday’s ugly loss.
Bell wasn’t going down without a fight.
“Man, I haven’t seen this much action since I clotheslined Kobe,” Bell joked as he attempted to dress in his claustrophobic fish bowl.
Truth be told, the Suns’ guard probably hasn’t had a game like today’s since that 2006 playoffs when he wrestled with Bryant in the opening round and drilled the clutch three-pointer vs. the Clippers to force OT in Game 5 of the Semifinals.
It was good to see Bell being aggressive today, driving inside, fighting for loose balls and banging the three-balls. Coach D’Antoni has often called him the heart of the team in recent years, and that heart was beating fast in this one.
On the afternoon, “Raj” finished with 27 points on 5-of-7 shooting from behind the arc, plus six boards and five assists for good measure.
“You know, I was embarrassed. I was really, really embarrassed by my play and our team’s play in the last game, so it was hard to sleep,”
he admitted. “If you come out and give 110 percent and you feel like you’ve done everything, you can sleep at night. But I was restless with that and couldn’t put it to bed. I wasn’t frustrated so much, but just really embarrassed, so I wanted to come out tonight and just fight.”
Bell wasn’t the only one fighting, of course. The Suns looked like a completely different team today than the one wearing purple and orange on Friday. Now the question is, which team will show up Tuesday in San Antonio? One local TV reporter asked Raja if he had a prediction for Game 5.
“I don’t make predictions, but I know the series isn’t over. I know until they win four games, we have a chance. That’s what I know.
“We’re still in a deep hole. We understand that. But we still have life… No one’s folding up the tent and making summer plans yet. We’re too proud for that.”