Saturday, April 19, 2008
5:30 pm
Jeramie McPeek

I always wondered what that would be like.

You may have caught a quick glimpse of me late in regulation. At least I think it was regulation. It’s all a bit of a blur at the moment.

At some point late in the game, I was sitting in my corner, filming the Suns reserves standing and screaming in front of the bench to my right, when suddenly i heard footsteps. Loud footsteps.

I looked up just in time to see what I think were shoes flying by me. I also caught a glimpse of some legs, knees and other unknown bodyparts as they crashed into me and my camera. Now I’m not going to exaggerate and say I got clobberred or crushed or any such adjective. It really didn’t even hurt, but was surprising to say the least. Sitting back up, I found Tim Duncan’s face staring straight at mine with a concerned look on it.

“You okay?”’s Multimedia Manager, Steven J. Koek, texted me afterwards to ask if he actually saw me dismiss Duncan like Shaq had back on April 1st. You may recall that “The Diesel” got knocked to the ground and Duncan reached his hand down to try and help him up, but Shaq ignored it before accepting the hands of his teammates who ran over to help.

Now, I couldn’t think quickly enough to say anything other than, “I’m good,” but I did immediately recall the time Dennis Rodman kicked a courtside cameraman in the “gonads,” as Amare would say. Strange how the mind works, isn’t it?

But I’m not feeling so good now, an hour or two later. No, I’m not suffering from whiplash or anything, although my back does hurt from sitting hunched over on the floor all afternoon. I still feel confident, of course, that the Suns have a serious shot at going all the way this year, but boy I’d feel so much better right now if we had pulled that win out.

“That was confusing,” Raja told reporters after the loss, referring to Duncan’s first 3-pointer of the season, which forced the second overtime. “I’ve seen him hit one before on SportsCenter, but never against me before…

“It wouldn’t be Suns-Spurs unless something funky happened.”



Saturday, April 19, 2008
3:36 pm
Daniel Banks

My heart is pounding, my hands are shaking – I feel like I’m working Game 7 of the Finals again. Watching these two championship-caliber teams slug it out, hitting big shot after big shot….� On one hand I don’t want it to end, and on the other hand, I can’t bare to watch.

The Suns are down a man, but�within their grasp, they have�a chance to take them down. Just as Duncan did for the Spurs in the first half, Nash is carrying this team in the final minutes.



Saturday, April 19, 2008
2:18 pm
Stefan Swiat

It’s a shame that we weren’t able to re-sign Kurt Thomas. Now I’m not referring to his basketball ability, I’m more impressed by his acting prowess.

In the third quarter I just saw him flop on two occasions that would have made any Italian soccer star proud. Somewhere Vlade Divac is rolling over in his grave.

First he drew a foul on Shaq when Shaq was trying to catch a lob. Then commentator (and former Knick great) Mark Jackson pointed out how he flopped at the top of the key and drew a foul on STAT. Jackson aptly nicknamed him “Denzel Thomas” for his Oscar-winning performance.

What was most humorous about that play was that you didn’t know if Ginobili or Thomas was going to flop first. It was like watching “The Departed.” Too many good actors fighting with each other to steal the scene, but containing themselves just enough to pull it off. Simply riveting.

Now, I don’t know if his salary would have been worth carrying around all year, but I think Dreamworks has just found the next great talent…



Saturday, April 19, 2008
2:07 pm
Daniel Banks

Remember the old days when a controversial call would go against the Suns and they’d struggle to keep their composure?

This time around, the Spurs are the ones seething at the whistle-blowers after they picked up a couple of offensive fouls. I won’t go so far as to say they are complaining to the refs too much, but they are, shall we say, distracted. The Suns are holding on to their lead despite a strong showing from Tony and Manu in the third quarter.

One of my good friends from the Spurs stopped by to explain that the Spurs lost to Denver in the first game last year and went on to win the series… it seems he’s already assuming the Spurs will lose today. The Suns are 12 minutes away from making that a reality. Fire it up!



Saturday, April 19, 2008
1:40 pm
Jeramie McPeek

The Suns are in the locker room preparing for the second half, so�I thought I’d blog from their bench to keep it warm for them.

Actually, they dont need me, theyve got a big metal box right behind the bench that’s like a saunna for towels. If you look closely at the bench during timeouts, you might see steam coming out of Pike’s ears. Its not because he’s mad, its because they keep opening the box and pulling out heating pads for our guys to cover their legs and keep their muscles warm. Whatever it takes, right?

Between shooting video, a few still photos and writing blogs,�I havent paid real close attention so far, but it looks like we’ve put together a strong first half of playoff basketball, even with our biggest man in foul trouble.

The Spurs ball boys just cleaned up all the Gatorade cups, gum wrappers and litter under the Suns’ bench. I wonder if they could auction those off on eBay? After the All-Star Game in Houston a few years back, Josh Greene and I grabbed Shawn Marion’s ankle tape after he had cut it off, and were planning to auction it on for Suns Charities, but forgot all about it. About six weeks later�I pulled my gym bag out to pack for another trip and found the stinky tape all shrivelled up in the bag!

Well, the Suns are back out and Linton Johnson has joined me on the bench. I told him that our fans on were excited when the Suns re-signed him for the postseason.

“Man, there’s no place I’d rather be,” he told me, noting that he had watched last year’s Suns-Spurs series closely.

Johnson impressed the Suns’ coaches during his two 10-day stints in February and hopes his defensive effort will see him back next year.

“It’s like a professional rennaisance,” he said.

Third quarter here we come!



Saturday, April 19, 2008
1:35 pm
Daniel Banks

I’m officially nominating this game for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Television Drama. The Suns withstood a Spurs surge late in the second quarter and are defending an eight-point lead in the locker room.

The most impressive halftime stat is rebounding – the Suns are making it a team effort and have a 24-18 edge over the usually board-greedy Spurs. Grant Hill has six of the Suns’ 24 and hasn’t missed a shot yet today. Welcome to Suns playoffs, Grant, we’re certainly glad to have you.

Tim Duncan is carrying the home team on his back with 20 of their 40 points. Nobody else is in double figures. Manu Ginoibli and Tony Parker have been limited (shooting 4-of-16 combined), but the Suns know they’ll find a way to make trouble before this game is over.



Saturday, April 19, 2008
1:21 pm
Steven J. Koek

Halftime in a good first half, Suns lead 48-40. Shaq is rested and primed for a strong finish.

I don’t get to hear Jeff Van Gundy’s analysis much, but he’s a riot. Here are a few of his gems so far today:

  • NBA Playoffs… Where anger happens.
  • I don’t get this NBA Sixth Man Award. They can’t start, why not a 10th Man Award?
  • (Brian Skinner) shouldn’t have gotten two free throws with that goatee. He should have to forfeit one of the free throws.


    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    1:15 pm
    Daniel Banks

    A Spurs run was bound to happen, and the noise in this place is starting to grow as fans sense an opportunity to climb back into this game. The Suns are weathering the storm-yell though, and are keeping their poise. (Thanks, Steve Kerr, for those keys to victory!)

    They do a game here called Beach Ball Mania where they drop colored balls from the rafters and a fan has to chase them down before they hit the ground. If you win, you win grocery money. I have to say I don’t think a free gallon of milk and loaf of bread is worth making a fool out of myself in front of an arena “full” of people.

    Last year’s Spurs playoff slogan was “Say It Loud”. This year, the slogan is “Say It Louder”. I said THE SLOGAN FOR SPURS PLAYOFFS IS SAY IT LOUDER! Get it?



    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    1:12 pm
    Steven J. Koek

    It has gotten to the point where I hope the replay will show the call�has been called the wrong way against the Spurs, Tim Duncan in particular. I want a fair game to be called, but I just love seeing the angst on his face that a ref would dare whistle someone with his stature for an infraction. The officials got this last one on Duncan wrong, but we’ll take it and enjoy the entertainment value. Suns up 45-31, 2:45 left in the first half.



    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    12:50 pm
    Daniel Banks

    Who had 11:48 in the second quarter in the “Coach Pop-tech” pool? The Spurs coach didn’t waste any time sending the suns to the line. The good news is he’ll be nicer from now on to avoid getting rejected…yeah, right.



    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    12:49 pm
    Steven J. Koek

    I recall sitting at the AT&T Center covering the Suns-Spurs series last season, sitting next to the crew, which of course included current crew member Daniel Banks. What a difference a year makes.

    I caught a quick glimpse of you on the Suns’ baseline taking photos during pregame warm-ups, Banksy. Good to see you’re on the right side of the arena this year.



    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    12:35 pm
    Daniel Banks

    We’re finally underway in the AT&T Center – both teams shaking off some early nerves and feeling each other out. Meanwhile, I’m sitting next to the crew covering the game. I will make a friendly bet that whoever is leading at halftime gets a free hot dog. Come on Suns!



    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    12:26 pm
    Jeramie McPeek

    I’ve blogged during games before, but never from baseline. The Spurs media relations departent gave me a camera position on the floor, in the corner right by the Suns’ bench.

    Although my video is a behind-the-scenes piece, and not a game highlights package, I wasn’t going to complain. I should be able to get some great huddle and bench shots from here.

    Uh oh. Shaqtus just picked up a quick two fouls. That doesn’t bode well.

    There’s nothing like pregame intros on the road in the playoffs. I hope you get a good idea of what its like from my video, but being in the middle of it in person is an incredible rush. All the emotion, energy, nerves. Guys are bouncing around like pinballs, and I’m just trying to avoid becoming a bumper.

    I’m sweating like crazy. I made the mistake of walking to the Alamo to shoot some scenery shots before getting on the bus this morning. It would have been nice if�I was in shorts instead of a sportcoat.� Suns veteran videographer David Grappentine told me I didn’t read the camerman’s handbook. I should be in jeans, tennis shoes and a polo if I’m going to sit courtside. Not slacks, dress shoes and a sport coat. I’ll know next time.

    Amaré looks good so far, at least what I’ve seen. I need to watch the game instead of type.

    Quickly… I want to wish my wonderful, sweet, loving and funny wife Amy a happy 32nd birthday today! I love you and wish we could go out tonight to celebrate… So now, hon, if you see me on TV sitting courtside and typing on my Blackberry, you know why.

    She always says I’m addicted to this thing.



    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    12:22 pm
    Steven J. Koek

    Uh Oh

    No sooner than I say foul trouble is the biggest factor on the series, Shaq picks up his second and is forced to sit. While that is not what you want in the first quarter of Game 1, his ability to avoid his third and fourth when he does come back in will be crucial.

    Amaré needs to be very careful here, too. Let’s hope Skinner stretched well before the game.



    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    12:16 pm
    Steven J. Koek

    Quick foul on Amaré Stoudemire, not a good start. If STAT and Shaq can stay out of foul trouble, the Suns will win this series. I feel that is the biggest key for the Suns advancing.

    A power jam by Amaré and a�3 by Raja is much more confidence-inspiring. Spurs still without a field goal.



    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    11:30 am
    Jeramie McPeek

    Is it rude to reject someone’s handshake? It crossed my mind when Robert Horry, yes Robert Horry, made his way over to me standing along the baseline pregame, to shake my hand and give me a half-hug. I was nervous that Coach or Kerr, or even Nash might see me, but�I have to admit it was nice that Robert remembered me. Although he is enemy No. 1 and I booed him like every other Phoenix fan when he entered the game on April 9, we bonded a bit during his brief Suns career back in 1996. He was always a really down-to-earth guy, and we used to always talk video games.

    I guess�I cant feel too guilty. Nash invited Robert to play in his charity game last summer, only a couple months after the infamous hip-check. Although, maybe Steve was hoping to return the favor in that offseason exhibition.

    Side note: Book your flights Phoenix fans. I hear the Spurs have more than 1700 tickets left for Game 2 here on Tuesday.



    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    10:00 am
    Jeramie McPeek


    Grant Hill left with his game face on.� This could be considered the biggest game of his career.
    (Daniel Banks)

    Our bus has left the hotel, which means -I’ve got 10-15 minutes for a quick blackberry blog.

    The mood is very intense right now. Coach D’Antoni and GM Kerr both gave me a polite smile as I got on, but there is a seriousness in their eyes that is both comforting and uncomfortable. I’m not sure if�I should make eye contact and say hello, or look down at my feet so as not to distract them.

    There was a cluster of fans outside the hotel, which you will see on my video. Most of them will be there all week. Some are real Suns fans, others just collectors hoping to pick up a valuable signature. One of them I conversed with though, who had his 22-month old boy with him, was especially excited to see Grant Hill and impressed to see him leave the hotel on the early bus. The bus that brings over the trainers and equipment.

    “This is probably the biggest game of his career,” the fan said. Good point.

    (Quick tangent: our bus just had to stop for a truck pulling a barbecue pit across the street)

    We’re pulling into the AT&T Center / rodeo parking lot. Here we go again!


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