The NBA has a new marketing campaign this season (in case you’ve missed one of the many commercials that air during game broadcasts) – “where amazing happens.” The whole idea of an ad campaign like this is to get you to notice.
Shawn Marion outrebounded both O’Neal and Mourning in Miami on Friday. (NBAE Photos)
Maybe even give you a fresh perspective on something that you’ve been acquainted with for some time. As the Suns return home from a successful 3-1 Eastern Conference road trip, here are a few reminders that this team you’ve come to love, and probably take for granted sometimes, is truly amazing:
- Steve Nash scoring 11 straight points down the stretch in Miami on Friday night, turning a 5-point deficit into a 6-point lead the Suns would never give back. If it’s possible to be a 2-time MVP and be underrated, Nash is just that. After all the huge shots he’s hit in the past few years (last season’s amazing double OT win in New Jersey when Steve hit the tying 3 pointer when everyone in the Tri-State area KNEW he was going to take the shot and while heavily guarded by one of the best defensive players of the last 20 years comes to mind), how can the Heat not guard him? They went under screens and left him with open jumpers twice in that stretch. Who’s scouting report are they reading? He’s shooting 50% from behind the ARC!
- Shawn Marion’s performance that same night. He shared the floor with 2 first-ballot Hall-of-Fame centers in Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning and outrebounded them 24 to 14. Matrix is 6’7” in shoes and weighs about as much as Shaq’s left leg, but continues to prove that rebounding is all about desire – which he has in abundance. Did I mention he added 17 points and 5 steals against the Heat?
- Leandro Barbosa’s career-high 39-point effort Saturday night at Orlando. A last-minute starter due to Raja Bell’s ankle injury (thanks, Shaq), LB showed off a Magic touch from the outside. When that shot is falling, guarding him is like being in one of those gruesome predicaments in SAW. Give him space to get off the shot or take away the shot and watch him blur by you for a layup. It’s your choice, but either way, you’re dead.
- Grant Hill’s comeback. I know it’s early and he’s had some struggles with his shot (Eddie Johnson assures me that the shot will come as Grant gets more accustomed to playing at this pace), but this is a guy who missed almost 400 games and has had countless ankle surgeries. He played – and played well if not spectacularly – 4 games in 5 nights and looked as good Saturday in Orlando as he did on game one of the trip. He’s so smart on both ends of the floor and there is nothing he CAN’T do.
- Amare’s ability to foul both Shaq and Dwight Howard with his face – now that IS amazing.
And we know Where Amazing Happens – right here on Planet Orange.
The flight home was pretty subdued. The usual card game, a few movie watchers (LB is hooked on 80s movies – I’m bringing Trading Places for him to Houston next weekend) and a lot of sleepers (4 hour, 20 minute trip.) People always ask about the mood of the plane and are usually surprised to hear me say it’s hard to tell if we won or lost just by the body language on the plane. This group of professionals doesn’t get too high or too low – just a group of guys on a business trip. Not to say there wasn’t a little excitement after that game in Jersey!
I promise not to use the word “happens” in any more blog titles this year. I swear.