The Suns tired out quickly in Game 3 and never recovered.
(NBAE Photos)

I never saw this one coming. Oh, even through my rose colored glasses I could see the Spurs quite possibly winning. But I never thought I’d see them run the Suns right out of their own building in such embarrassing fashion.

How embarrassing was it? Well, given the circumstances, I am hard pressed to recall a more embarrassing performance EVER by a Phoenix team in the postseason. The Suns were outplayed, out-coached, out-hustled, out-maneuvered, and out-poised. And even hard boos weren’t enough to ease the pain for the stunned citizens of Planet Orange.

The Suns eventually did manage to shift their offense into high, or at least second gear, but they never got their defense out of neutral.

Mind you, I don’t want to take anything away from the Spurs. They were simply superb in every phase of the game. And if you were a basketball purist who didn’t care who won you had to love watching them exploit every Phoenix weakness with almost surgical precision.

Tony Parker was especially magnificent, and not just because of his playoff career-high 41 points and 12 assists. An even bigger problem than those numbers for the Suns was their complete inability to stop him from going anywhere he wanted to with the ball at any time.

Even notoriously hard to please San Antonio coach Greg Popovich said his team couldn’t play any better (and Coach Mike PMtered a fervent, “I certainly hope not.”) And truth to tell, the Spurs never looked this good on their way to the title last year.

The series isn’t officially over yet, of course, but the cold hard truth is that the Suns have been reduced to playing for pride in Game Four here on Sunday. If they can string together a series of miracles, so be it, but just proving Game Three was more of an aberration than a reflection of who they really are is the only realistic goal for the nonce.

This game raised some serious questions about the team’s future. And, sadly, one of those questions has to be just how much gas Steve Nash has left in the tank. Had he not built such a large reservoir of good will for his superb play over the last few years he would probably be catching some serious heat.

The most comforting answer is, hey, it’s only one game for gosh sakes, and Nash and the Suns WILL bounce back, if not necessarily in this series then most definitely next year. But I’m not sure I buy all of that.

Oh, I don’t think Steve is washed up by any means. But there is a platoon of young point guards posed to take their teams to the Promised Land in the next few years, which makes it hard to shake the thought the window of opportunity you heard closing last night may have been nailed shut for the foreseeable future.

The bottom line: Same as the top one: AAAAaaaagh!!!!

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