It’s 4:25 am Phoenix time (6:25 am back in San Antonio) and I’m back home, about ready to crash. Special thanks to all of you who read my in-game blog last night. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. For those of you just now reading it, forgive my over exuberance. I couldn’t help myself!
If I didn’t approve your reply at the bottom, it was either because, 1) You were asking about potential suspensions, of which I’m not at liberty or informed enough to discuss, 2) You were a Spurs fan, who took out your dissapointment over the loss on me with a diatribe of profanity; or 3) I probably just missed it, as my eyes are a little blurry at the moment.
FINAL SCORE: SUNS 104, SPURS 98!!!
The Suns win the “biggest game of the year” and if they go on to wrap up this series, this could go down as the biggest win in franchise history!!! Yes, I’m exclamation point happy. Sue me.
I’ve got to sign-off for now. Got to send out a text alert and update the playoff index page real quick before heading downstairs to the locker room.
Keep your comments and feedback coming. I’ll post your replies as soon as I can get back to my computer. And from a dead-silent AT&T Center, I�sign off with one more… “HUGE!!!”
4th Qtr, 00:18.2 — WOWWWWW!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???!!!! I think the Spurs just proved STAT correct with that one. Don’t be surprised if Robert Horry misses the next game after body checking Nash into the courtside press table. UNBELIEVABLE!!!
And boy am I impressed with Raja that he didn’t completely lose it. He got a technical for getting up in Horry’s grill, but he maintained his composure. I’m really surprised no one threw any punches there. That could have really been ugly. I say it again, UNBELIEVABLE!!!
This game isn’t over yet, but Spurs fans are heading for the exits! I LOVE IT!!!
4th Qtr, 00:32.5 — ANOTHER BUCKET BY STAT, right over the outstretched arm of Duncan. Suns lead by three! Suns TV Producer Marc Goldberg and I are going crazy up here, pounding the press table. I don’t think anyone minds. Most of the reporters who were up here with us left minutes ago to head down to the “victorious” Spurs locker room. The crowd’s “Go Spurs Go!” chant is pretty weak. They don’t sound too confident.�I think we’re going to pull this one out!!! Can’t give up any threes here.
4th Qtr, 00:53 — SUNS LEAD!!! SUNS LEAD!!! SUNS LEAD!!! That last sentence typed with “Good ‘Ol J.R.’s” voice in mind. I’m sick of saying “huge,” so I’ll say enormous bucket by Amare. Suns first lead since mid-way through second quarter.
4th Qtr, 1:48 — Duncan scores. Nash scores. And the fans in front of me are standing! I can’t see the court… Huge pass from Raja to Marion under the basket for two! It’s a ONE POINT GAME!!!
4th Qtr, 3:58 — STAT’s back in the game. Suns trail by seven… Amare drives inside and scores! 22 pts for the big man. If he can just�keep from getting his sixth foul. Raja drives inside for the bucket and San Antonio’s lead is back down to three. Wow, is this intense!
I’m having flashbacks to Game 1 of the 2003 playoffs when a rookie STAT drained the three-pointer to send the game into OT, and then Stephon Marbury went full court for another three at the horn to win the thriller. Although I’m not sure my heart can take an ending like that tonight. I think I’d much prefer a nice 2-point win in regulation.
4th Qtr, 4:22 — Hard foul by LB on Parker. Suns are in the penalty. TP hits both, Spurs lead by five once again.
4th Qtr, 4:38 — “Throwing any object onto the court will be subject to ejection.” That’s Spurs fans for you! Sorry, I coudln’t resist.
4th Qtr, 5:35 — Two-point game! Kurt knocks down a pair of free throws… ARGGHHH… would someone please cover Michael Finley?! Spurs back up five.
4th Qtr, 6:47 — @#$%*&%@$… two quick fouls on Amare! He’s got five now.�Not at all what we needed. And the Spurs follow that up with a big three-pointer by Michael Finley.
And now Duncan’s got five fouls! And Raja’ hits a jumper. I can’t type fast enough!
4th Qtr, 7:34 — I don’t know about you, but I’m so nervous. I can’t stop fidgeting in my seat. Although that could also be the 16 oz’s of Full Throttle… HUGE shot by Steve! Spurs lead�down to�three! It’s anyone’s game!
4th Qtr, 7:56 — I don’t know how many times I can say “huge,” but that was a huge three by Marion… and now another big shot by Trix, a running floater to cut the Spurs lead to 5!
4th Qtr, 8:55 — The Suns are getting some good breaks, they just need to take advantage of them. Duncan just got his fourth foul, an offensive foul this time. Now — right now — the Suns need to make their push.
Quick reply to Natasha of Canada’s reply (see bottom). Your dad turned off the game for CSI Miami? And he’s from Canada? Where’s the love for Nash?! Tell your dad that’s just cruel and unusual punishment. He can always watch CSI Miami, New York or Vegas on Spike TV. If you get that channel in Canada that is.
4th Qtr, 10:08 — Huge sequence there. Nash steals from Duncan, pushes down court, Amare slams home a missed shot by LB. 8-point game.
4th Qtr, 10:56 — Okay, letting Duncan dunk it, and then sending him to the line on the next trip down was not exactly what I had in mind. Spurs 83, Suns 72.
3rd Qtr Break — Here we go fans. In last night’s blog, I said this was the biggest game of the season for the Suns. That makes this quarter the biggest quarter of the year for our team. They currently trail 72-80, but there’s 12 minutes of basketball to be played. I still feel like they can pull this out. But they’ve got to give it everything they’ve got right here, right now. I’m looking for Steve and Amare, in particular, to step up and show the world why they are All-NBA First Teamers!
3rd Qtr, 1:40 — Another big bucket and an “and 1″ for Amare! Suns need to keep going to him down low.
3rd Qtr, 2:44 – Nice dunk for Amare! Want to see more of that… but don’t want to see Parker drive the lane uncontested… or Brent Barry draining threes!!! Ugh.
Speaking of ugh, Juan from Fort Worth, I’m not even going to post your reply.
Sorry I’ve slipped a bit this quarter, fans. I’m trying to blog and crop photos for our�game coverage gallery�at the same time. Not easy to do. But I will step up in the fourth quarter, just like I expect our Suns to. Don’t give up. You and I know both know this Suns team can reel off a dozen quick points just like that!
3rd Qtr, 7:05 — And Duncan takes a seat! Time for Stoudemire to take control down low. Although the Suns have to stop giving Parker and Co. open looks! Timeout Phoenix. Spurs take a 10-point lead. Let’s go fans! Let ‘em hear you from back home!!! Scream at that TV! Just don’t scream at your computer screen while reading my blog, please.
3rd Qtr, 7:27 — Well, I don’t like the way this quarter began, but I love the fact that Duncan just got his third foul, as Steve Nash drove inside.
3rd Qtr, 9:41 — Back from the Cowboys room. Yes, they have a Cowboys room and a Cowgirls room. Isn’t that cute? A whole lot of testosterone flowing in the restroom, by the way. Lots of inebriated Spurs fans hooting and hollering about how great their team is. Disgusting.
Saw a great site walking back to my press seat, though… a guy and his�gal (Texas talk, of course), wearing Dirk Nowitzki jerseys and wearing paper bags over their heads.
Still Halftime — Pablo from England (see replies at bottom)! Wow, how cool is that, that I’ve got live readers in England! This isn’t THE Pablo that I met at our Training Camp in Italy is it? What time is it there in England anyway? I’d look it up online, but I’ve got to go use the restroom, buy a “Full Throttle” and give my wife a�quick ring�before the game begins. I’ll be back!
Halftime – Suns trail by five, but I still feel pretty good. We escaped the first half with a limited number of fouls, which means Amare can play the majority of the second half. We’ve played with intensity and passion. Nash is hitting his shots. The second half will be ours!
By the way… if you don’t want to listen to Charles Barkley at halftime, open that other browser window to Spurs.com again and watch the halftime show. Some freaky looking, bald gymnast guys lifting each other in the air… On second thought, watch Charles. At least you’ll get a good laugh or two.
2nd Qtr, 00:50.9 – First half almost over.�Parker just hit a big shot for San Antonio to give them a five-point lead, and Nash turned it over on the other end.
2nd Qtr, 3:55 — Did you see that? A huge charge taken by Nash! Duncan barrelled�down the middle�like a runaway locamotive and MV3 just stood there and took the full brunt for the good of the team. He is so tough!
I asked him a week or two back if he felt he had a better season this year than last. Although always humble, he admitted that he did feel he had improved in several areas this season, and one of the first he pointed to was taking charges. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I know he’s taken quite a few of them in the postseason alone.
2nd Qtr, 6:02 — The Spurs computer specialist was up here before the game talking to their web folks about the datalines they’ve set up for the live webcast, and told him he’d set it up again if there was going to be a Game 6. I told him he should go ahead and just leave it up since they’re will definitely be a Game 6.
2nd Qtr, 6:48 — Boy Tim Duncan is good. I’ve really been impressed with Thomas’ D on the Spurs’ big man. He does not even budge when Duncan is banging into him, but Tim is so good with that turnaround bank shot. I really don’t know how you stop that, other than double-him, and if you do that it’s only going to leave one of San Antonio’s sharp shooters (Finley, Ginobili, Bowen) wide open.
2nd Qtr, 8:43 — In reference to Mike’s question below, the technical was called on the Suns for a defensive�3-second violation. Don’t worry. No one’s lost their cool or anything as of yet!
Just had the first-quarter box scores delivered to us (we’re a long ways away from the press room). Quick hits: Nash was 3-of-3 for the first quarter, Thomas had four rebounds and three Suns registered a block.
2nd Qtr, 10:52 — Big shot by LB. He hasn’t been quite the spark that he was in the Lakers series, which surprises me a bit. I expected this to be another big series for him. Although I guess it still could be. After all, this is only the middle of what’s going to be a full seven-game Conference Semis.
In reply to Andrew’s comment on Robert… I’m not sure I’d call what he does “Jawing,” but he definitely gets into the games.�He’s as big a fan as any of us, I think!
1st Qtr Break — Interesting promotion they just ran during the quarter break. A couple of kids had to try and score baskets while being defended by a giant smiling grocery bag. I started to make fun of my Spurs.com friends and then admitted that my kids would probably have loved�it!
And the second quarter is underway.
1st Qtr, 0:39 – That was scary. Trix just chased a ball into the cameras and fans along the baseline and was pretty darn slow to get back up. But he’s fine! There are always a few times a year that Shawn goes down hard, putting a scare into teammates, coaches and fans, only to bounce back up 30 or 40 seconds later and get right back into the game. He has the healing powers of Wolverine!
First quarter over and Suns lead, 24-22. Not a bad start. Although the Spurs look pretty good themselves, so far.
1st Qtr, 2:22 — Foul on Marion. I was a little concerned it was on Thomas there for a second. First quarter almost over and we’ve only got one foul each on Kurt, Amare and Marion so far. Good start. So is the 64.3% shooting for the Suns!
1st Qtr, 3:24 — Speaking of fans, there was a pretty big group of them awaiting our players outside the team hotel this afternoon. Both Kurt Thomas and STAT stopped to sign a number of autographs, which I asked Amare about.
“I always try to sign for kids,” he told me. “I don’t always sign for the adults, though. You can tell some of them are just there to get your autograph to sell.”
There were definitely a few of those. There were a number of “fans” who seemed bored by the Suns, even though they had large stacks of color pictures and balls to get signed. A couple of them even had on Spurs T-shirts. They didn’t get any auotgraphs.
1st Qtr, 4:15 — Oh boy! Raja is jawing with some fan sitting in the first row. I couldn’t tell what happened from way up here, but it looked like Raja kind of lost his balance and fell towards the fans sitting in the corner. Not sure if the fan grabbed him or just said something derrogatory, but I could definitely tell Raja didn’t appreciate it.
1st Qtr, 5:46 — Big steal by Amare, and another jumper for Nash. Suns 18, Spurs 10. Boy the Suns looke active so far here tonight. They’ve got to keep up this energy level for a full 48!
Quick reply to Andrew — yes, that Andrew — good to hear (read) from you, man! You inspired us with your game-night blogs in Sac-town this year. Thought I’d give it a shot myself tonight. Not easy to do while watching the game, though.
1st Qtr, 6:50 — Amare’s got his first foul. He really needs to keep that in check tonight. But he just answered with a nice little jumper.
1st Qtr, 8:35 — Steve Nash drains a three! Suns jump out to a very early lead, 9-3. Nice to see Steve hit his first two shots after starting out so cold last game. Spurs timeout.
Real quick, in reply to Justin and Lyle’s comments (see below), I’m not actually surprised that Bowen didn’t get suspended. Again, similar to the incident with Amare in Game 2, his “accidental” contact with Nash’s… uh… crotchal region?… could actually have been an accident. It’s impossible to know for sure whether or not he meant to drop Steve like a sack of potatoes. The league can’t really suspend players unless it’s obviously blatant.
Coach D’Antoni said he thought it was a good decision by the league to give Bowen a “Flagrant 1″ foul and send the message that they’re watching him closely.
1st Qtr, 10:01 –�I’m switching to the game clock for my time stamps. I’m thinking that will be easier than trying to figure out the time in Phoenix for each note, and hopefully easier for you to follow along, as well. Suns look pretty good so far, playing aggressive, rebounding, and there goes Amare into the lane, drawing a foul on the Spurs’ big guy, Olberto.
6:56 PM — I’ve got some replies! I was hoping some fans would be logged on during the game to interact with me. In reponse to “Suns r winnin,” I wouldn’t be concerned that the Suns aren’t taking this game seriously. Every player approaches the games differently. If anything, I felt good that the guys seemed loose and confident, not scared. As for Raja, I love his intensity. I’m expecting a big game out of him tonight. Speaking of the game, we’re underway!!!
6:52 PM – The introductions are underway. Interesting to me that they play WWE superstar The Undertaker’s theme music for the Suns’ intros. I guess they know the Grim Reaper is coming for the Spurs tonight.
6:48 PM –�Took a trip through the maze-like hallways of AT&T Center over to Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich’s pre-game media session. He said that he expected to see a different Suns team tonight, much like the Phoenix�team that came out on fire in Game 2, noting that it’s natural for the team that loses to come out stronger than the team that wins in tightly contested series like this one. He also said that he felt like if these two teams played 15 games, one would win�eight of them, the other seven.
6:45 PM –�Not going to say who — and I wasn’t purposely looking — but I noticed that one of the Suns�wore orange briefs to the game tonight.
6:37 PM –�Everyone seemed to be in a pretty good tonight. Well, everyone except Raja Bell, who appeared to be in a zone as he sipped his pre-game coffee. A very intense zone at that.
Shawn Marion had a big smile and wide eyes as he watched the Shrek 3 trailer on the locker room TV. The Matrix, as you probably know, is a big fan of cartoons. Although, I can’t wait to�take the kids and see it�myself.
Speaking of movies, James�Jones went to see 28 Weeks Later today. Gave it a thumbs down. He also said he didn’t like Spider-Man 3, and I have to admit I was a little disappointed myself. I LOVED Spidey 2, but the third installment had too many holes and too many unrealistic parts. Unrealistic for a superhero movie, that is.
While Jr was at the movies, Sean Marks, Eric Piatkowski, Pat Burke and Tim Kempton went golfing, I hear. I don’t know who hit what, but from the sounds of things, Kempton’s team won.
6:32 PM –�And here come our Suns, to a chorus of boos , of course.
Not that I want you to leave Suns.com, but you might want to open a second internet window and visit Spurs.com. My counterparts have set up a live web cam to capture the pre-game warm-ups, intros, etc. They’re actually seated right behind me, so I thought about lifting up a Suns’ game program that I had in my laptop bag and putting it in front of their camera lense.
I wouldn’t do that, though, as the Spurs’ web guys are good peoples. They’ve got a pretty sharp looking playoff site, too. And besides, I’m going to steal their idea and see if we can’t hook up a live web cam next game. Watch for it.
6:28 PM (Phoenix time) –�The Spurs have just taken the court to some lively rap music. I’m not sure, but it might just be a little number off of Tony Parker’s rap album. Excuse me, Tony Fizzle’s rap album. Yes, it’s true.