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All across the Valley, Phoenix Suns fans shared the same experience this morning. We woke up, rubbed our eyes and smiled. Yes, it’s true, the Phoenix Suns did vanquish the hated San Antonio Spurs to sweep into the Western Conference Finals. This was a storybook series. It was real world poetry with elements of foreshadowing, revenge, and at last… redemption.

“Our fans have gone through a lot of heartbreak and the Spurs have been the reason,” said Alvin Gentry before Game 1. This playoff series had shades of those earlier failures and that is what makes this sweep so sweet.

When we built “Anatomy of a Rivalry” it brought to mind some of those painful Suns exits.

I was standing just yards from the court in San Antonio in 2008 when Tim Duncan hit a rare three point shot that proved to be a fatal wound.

I was also in the AT&T Center on that day in May of 2007 when Steve Nash was sent into the scorer’s table and the Suns were sent home with a grudge that stayed with the team until Sunday night.

I was there in 2005 to watch the desperate Suns avoid a sweep with a Game 4 win which served as a “bright spot” in a dark history.

But this year was different. This team is different. They are playing with a kind of chemistry that is rare, it’s addictive, and it’s simply fun to watch.

In Game 2, the Spurs were staring at a 0-2 hole. As the fourth quarter drew to a close, Tim Duncan stood behind the three-point line and sank a long jumper. But this year was different. It was too little, too late.

In Game 3, the series shifted to San Antonio. The Spurs were expected to defend their home court and would likely even the series with some dominant defense. They’d shut down Steve Nash’s offense and, as Coach Popovich is fond of saying, “cut off the head of the snake.”  And the Suns role players wouldn’t be able to react.

But this year was different. This year nobody told the bench they were supposed to roll over. Goran Dragic’s heroic fourth quarter, along with the energy from Jared Dudley and the rest of the non-Nash Suns put new fear into the hearts of the Spurs that should have been there all along.

And finally we have  Game 4. Nash falls to the court and comes up bleeding after an elbow from Tim Duncan. It was almost eerie, it was gut wrenching, it was so similar to the worst playoff defeat in the Suns’ history.

But this year was different. This year not even six stitches could keep Nash off the court. He’d return to play the entire fourth quarter. He wasn’t going to miss a chance to send off his old nemesis.

You cannot tell the story of the 2010 Phoenix Suns without talking about the painful past, the struggles, the times hope was dashed. We know that for 42 years this franchise has fallen short of an NBA title but then again… this year is different.

  • Phoenix Date Ideas

    This is the best I’ve seen since ’93 – and I think this year is it! Go Suns!

  • JOHN SERPE

    When Nash came back into the game with his eye bloody and closed sank a 30 footer, then made a miraculous pass to Dudley every Suns fan had to be having the same thought, this is the year that trophy is coming to Arizona. The experts can talk about LA’s front line, Kobe, Jackson whatever, we are witnessing something special in sports with the Suns, the true definition of TEAM. You can’t buy it, this is something so rare, so pure, it’s scary. Just the fact alone that Amare has completly gone from individual player to champion of the team concept is amazing. Analyze the matchups with the Lakers from their hurting stars to weak bench and you have to belive this Suns team has every bit the chance to play spoiler. One thing is for sure, advance or not, our Suns will never go quietly. For this fan thats all the difference required.

  • Sean

    It was beautiful! The Spurs always played what I call a “emotional and dirty game”. They always try to make you lose even if that means working the emotional side or making dirty plays (I would say dirty because they have the intention of hurting although they usually do it in a “normal play”). And the sweetest thing was not only the sweep, but knowing that not even the “dirty” plays avoided them from loosing badly. I would love to see Duncan’s face when Nash was back to the game (and making all those brilliant plays) as much as I’d love to see all those faces when Dragic was shining…

    Although I want the Suns to win the championship, I think it is much more difficult to win the Lakers or the Cavs/Boston. Against the Spurs the Suns played hard and wise, but also with heart and poison… I hope this same attitude is there for winning Lakers and Cavs/Boston. Go Suns!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sanjaymani Sanjay Mani

    @John: I completely agree with you: every Phx Suns fan had to have had goosebumps at Nash’s heroics in the 4th quarter: what a warrior: that 3-pointer he made with one eye will forever remain etched in my memory!! Nash, Stoudemire & Co have built a winning team with some swashbuckling chemistry, but it remains to be seen whether they can continue to believe, and take it to the Lakers…I believe they will go all the way, if they can make it to the NBA finals: I don’t see that Orlando / Cleveland ( or, for that matter, Boston ) will stop them, if they beat L.A..Of course, this season has already been so rewarding and enjoyable, I’d go out on a limb and say: I’m not even sure I’ll lose sleep over a Conf finals lose to Gasol, Bynum, Odom & Co :-) : the Phx Suns have already ruled the league and won hearts over the past few months: what more could we as fans, ask for??

  • Jenna

    Yes it is amazing that the Suns made it to the 3rd round. It won’t be amazing when the Lakers take the silver trophy.

  • Mark Kassir

    That’s how basketball is mean’t to be played, with passion and heart. I love the Phx suns. I just want to say we are all very proud of you guys.

    We will need Robin Lopez to match up better with the Lakers and hopefully Cavs or Orlando (I would rather it be boston though so we could have homecourt in the finals).

  • Txema

    Steve, Amaré, J-Rich, Grant and Robin. Those five men are an spectacular first unit. But the secret of the 2010 Suns is our second unit! Without LB, Jared, Goran, Lou, Channing, Jarron and Earl, “los suns” wouldn’t reach the same stage. That’ s a real team. There’s no other team in the league with so many decisive “bench” players.

  • kristel

    “But this year was different. This team is different. They are playing with a kind of chemistry that is rare, it’s addictive, and it’s simply fun to watch.”

    - i like this. :) i believe suns can make it.
    God bless

  • Rick

    I am a SPURS fan! But congrats to the SUNS! I will be pulling for you guys. You all played great. Congrats to Steve Kerr, Alvin Gentry (Spurs Alumni) and to Steve Nash. I will be rooting for the SPURS again next year, but SUNS beat thise stinking LAKERS and win the champonship for the west!!!

  • http://suns.com andrew

    I REALLY HOPE that the win he whole thing this year go SUNS!!!!!!!!BEAT DA (aging)LAKERS or JAZZ!!!!

  • JOHN SERPE

    It’s officially the Lakers, lets get ready to rumble. Pressure, I don’t think so, hey, no one thought we would be here anyway right? All the experts are picking LA. Guess we’ll just have to play the way we have for 3 months and see what happens. It’s kind of like a David and Goliath series. Oh yeah, that didn’t end up well for the bully either.

  • Kevin

    Suns in 6!!

  • Susie

    I had deja vu seeing the blood coming out of his face, and my heart sank, not because he wouldn’t be able to play any more, ’cause I knew there was no way he wasn’t getting back in it, but because I can’t stand to see him get hurt! I have a real soft spot for Mr. Steve Nash, and I said okay, he won’t shoot because he can’t see. Man–did he prove me wrong! When he sank his first shot with closed over eye, I practically fell down. That Steve Nash is just too, too much! Go STEVE, GO SUNS!!!!! 2010 NBA Champs!

  • efren

    go suns i know you guys can to it. the lakers have kobe but one player cannt win it all and you guys have a better team. play your heart out. phoenix has been waiting for that thophy for to long. its time you guys bring it home. i know you guys can. jordan has our throphy from back in the 90s dont let kobe do the same thing

  • JOHN SERPE

    You can tell by the amount of blogs Suns fever is taking hold in the valley, don’t you love it!! So, I read Kobe is all ‘game face” about our Suns, he’s still supposedly upset we beat him like three years ago in a playoff. Kobe, we don’t care, you have a couple rings, weve never felt it. Go ahead and pysche yourself up, hopefully your going to need it cause this Suns team isn’t backing down from you or your fearsome front line. LA has big bad Artest, good, we have the wild bunch, Dudley, Amundsen, and Djuric. Lakers have their version of gumby in Gasol and a one legged Bynum, bring it on, our Stat the barbarian and the toughest Robin you’ll ever meet are waiting. And when it’s time to call the benches into play I’m sorry, no amount of game face in the world is going to make me believe that Farmor, Walton and a guy named Brown have the advantage. Kobe, see you in game 6, don’t be late.

  • magicallypuzzled

    lakers have kobe and paul, and lets not forget that odom and bynum can play great basketball too when they feel like it. I am a suns fan and i believe the suns can sweep the lakers just like they did the spurs but lets not minamize what the lakers have. the suns can sweep the lakers but i don;t think it’s particular likely i do believe the suns will win though no one can be a suns fan with out believing that :)

  • Jorge C.

    ”Los Suns ” just need to believe and know they are very capable and talented enough to win it all!!!!!!! Us fans have been waiting a long time for this, Phoenix Suns your 2010 NBA Champions!!!!!! I believe!!

  • sidney

    being a spurs fan, I did not expect a sweep. I have to say this Suns team reminds me of the 06 Mavs that beat the Spurs & then went on to nearly win a championship before collapsing to Miami in the finals (sweet moment indeed). Also Alvin Gentry reminds me of Avery Johnson. However this suns team is definitely better than 06 mavs. I do hope the suns beat the lakers. The question is can they play with that same energy, intensity and determination against the lakers.

  • David Huang

    Remember the old Beatles song:
    Here comes the sun!
    YA!YA!YA!
    Let the Suns Burn the Lakers.

  • ross

    go SUNS!beat the LAKERS. i love this GAME…

  • SDSunsfan

    As great as it was to beat the spurs and pay them back for cheating us out of a title celebration 3 years ago, I still have 10 times the hated for LA. I proudly wear my Suns colors here in So Cal and deck out my vehicle the same. And I am sick and tired of hearing how great the lakers are! Yes we have had their number in recent playoff series, but in my eyes, they are nothing but a bunch of glorified thugs who get all the calls. The same now as they were in the 80s!

  • bryan

    Yup. suns are taking that trophy home this year. but to me the real question is whether or not Robin Lopez will be in good enoug shape to take on andrew bynum. Don’t get me wrong i think Robin is a good defender, but idk. We all know that he’ll be returning for sure because he’s been out fr a couple weeks and we still have another week till we play L.A. But in my honest opinion, i think suns will beat L.A. and not just because im a fan, i honestly think they can. But the only thing that needs to happen besides the return or Robin Lopez, is Grant hill. He has to be able to contain kobe and j-rich has to be able to shake ron artest off of him because ronny was a 3-time defensive player of the year. GO SUNS!!!!!!!!!