I know everyone had their eyes set on Golden State and how deep they can reach in the playoffs, but suddenly, Phoenix and San Antonio has snatched the spotlight in what promises to be a knockout series (literally). With each and every passing game, the Suns and the Spurs have rewarded us, the viewers, with intense action and crushing blows (literally and figuratively) which catch worldwide attention and ignite stronger flames in the heated battle of the two Western giants.
After days of physicalities which result in "accidental" consequences, the situation raised itself to a whole new level earlier tonight: As Nash was bringing the ball down the court, with the Spurs down 3 and in need of fouling to get the possession back, Robert Horry blatantly knocked down Steve Nash (I'd say it was a semi-clothesline-semi-tackle) sending him flying to the announcer's table (Yes, like WWE) which resulted in a bench-clearing from both teams attempting to help and control their respective teammate out as they were about to exchange blows. After the altercations through the media and the "accidental" blows, tonight's "accident" has sparked an all-out war.
Let's take a look at the past altercations between these two teams this series:
Game 1: Steve Nash and Tony Parker collided (their heads actually) leaving Tony Parker with a HUGE bruise on the head and Steve Nash with a bloody cut to the nose which required six-stitches and may have possibly cost the Suns the game. The Spurs won that game.
Game2: Bruce Bowen kicked the achilles of Amare Stoudemire from behind as he was going up for a dunk. The incident wasn't so obvious until Amare brought it up in the media, calling Bruce Bowen and Manu Ginobili "dirty players". The NBA decided not to review the incident. Judge it for yourself, click here. Thank you to mathewhq for posting the video. The Suns won that game to tie the series.
Game 3: It was Manu Ginobili who was the victim of the night as he was clipped by Shawn Marion on the eye leaving it bloodied and bruised. However, the most painful blow of the whole series as of yet came to Steve Nash. Bruce Bowen drove his knee right between the legs of Nash and straight to his groin! Nash lay on the floor for a few minutes unable to get up. Damn, that hurt! Check this video out:
Yes, the most sensitive area. Worst pain in the world. Everyone felt that one.
My thoughts: When I watched Jason Richardson and Baron Davis each deliver cheap shots last night, I thought it was just plain wrong. I still do, but now, I can say that they were just trying to match with what the Suns and the Spurs were doing (not really). Those shots were morally wrong, but what can be more exciting than two teams letting their passions over-flow and start going at it? No, I don't want anyone to get hurt, but watching that kind of intensity and emotion for the game has just been amazing. I'd tell them to lay off the flagrant fouls and just stick with good-'ol fashioned fouling-as-hard-as-possible-without-injuring-the-other-
Now if Amare gets suspended for leaving the bench and coming to his teammate's aid, the Suns are in big trouble for Game 5. If so, then we can obviously expect Horry to be suspended, but still, that wouldn't be such a good trade-off coming from the Suns' point-of-view. If they suspend Amare for taking a few steps in the court, they'd have to suspend Jason Richardson for that mid-air clothesline he delivered Okur last night. Now we don't want that, do we? But as much as we want and don't want things to take place, it all lies in the hands of the mighty sheriffs, David Stern and Stu Jackson.
I expect Utah to strike back on Golden State next game. The Suns and the Spurs are also expected to remain physical and bruise another player or two. And I expect the Eastern Conference to still remain in the background of the NBA headlines, unless the Bulls win the next two games against Detroit.
I hope they don't suspend Amare or JR. Come on, it's the playoffs.
See you all tomorrow.