For the second time in three years, only because Dallas took care of San Antonio last playoffs, the Spurs are in the way of the Phoenix Suns once again. Talk about stealing home court: Phoenix has to win the next game in San Antonio, or fall 3-1 against the western behemoths led by the gentle giant that is Tim Duncan. Now remember, only eight teams have ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit in the NBA Playoffs, with the last comeback coming from this same Nash-led Phoenix Suns.
But let's not get carried away, we shouldn't assume that Phoenix will actually lose Game 4. After all, they do have the upper hand, and a lot of people do expect them to finally take the series following two years of playoff eliminations; until Tim Duncan showed himself. I guess the Kurt Thomas Factor didn't last as long as Tayshaun Prince on T-Mac a few years back.
What a monster performance. I guess you can say that Tim Duncan knows when to step up his performance. From mellowing down in the regular season, and shifting his game to sixth gear in the playoffs is something tremendous. I read an article way back about Kevin Garnett, and it stated that it was the difference between Garnett and Duncan: that Garnett keeps his intensity on the maximum level the whole season long while Duncan brings his 'A+++' game during the playoffs, and it could be a factor on their wear and tear as players.
I guess this game still felt some aftershock from the three-point-storm last night. This was shown during the 3rd quarter run that the Spurs used to break the game open. It was a close game all the way (despite Nash missing his first 9 shots) until Brent Barry nailed a three-pointer starting a 10-0 run where Bruce Bowen hit two more three-pointers and was capped by a free throw by Duncan. Ginobili took over from there, scoring 12 of the next 14 points of the Spurs, which included yet another three-pointer, and 3 free throws from a fouled three-point attempt. The Suns tried to get back in the game, but Tim Duncan made sure that didn't happen with 13 points in the fourth quarter to keep the lead safe.
Dirty? Maybe just physical. 2 games after the bloody collision of Nash and Parker, Ginobili became the latest victim of fists, elbows, and anything hard that you bump into. Ginobili suffered a bloody and bruised eye during the game.
Duncan: "It looked pretty bad actually, it still looks pretty bad... it fixed his shot, so it might be the other eye on Monday.''
Sure Tim, by Game 5 he'd be blind.
The fans also started mocking Amare by cheering "Dirty!" as he was shooting his free throws. Talk about bad blood. Thank you Amare for lighting a fire, now everyone is awake once more ready to watch the series.
Will we see a repeat of the Suns-Spurs series from 2 years ago where the Spurs won it in 5 games? That will all lie in the outcome of the very important Game 4. Steve Nash needs a better performance than tonight's showing, and lead his Suns to victory to avoid a 3-1 hole.
I am sure a lot of people are rooting for the Suns the same way they are rooting for the Warriors to win their series. I mean, come on. This has to be one of the more lesser interesting NBA playoffs for a long time, and would have been less if it were not for Amare sparking some controversy. Other than that, only the Warriors-series have been providing the high-flying entertainment. The Dallas-upset and the heroic return of Derek Fisher was something, wouldn't you agree?
Speaking of the Eastern Conference...
The Bulls are pretty much done for. And yes, it was a good decision not to trade for Pau Gasol.
I was predicting a Nets victory for the series, but it looks like LeBron is in position to take this one away. The Nets are still hanging on however, with a victory earlier tonight. I favored the Nets because they are a whole lot better team than their seed shows; much like Golden State. Kidd, Jefferson, and Carter, what more could you ask for? However, LBJ and the Cavs are proving to be too physical for the Nets, crashing the boards and having LeBron dominate the Nets guards. Then you start to remember that the Nets don't have a decent big man. What comes popping into your head next? That Mikki Moore is only half the size of either Gooden and Ilgauskas, and that he'd be going against four times his size if he were to bump bodies with the Cavalier-towers at the same time.
Frank Lawrence's solution: Run, just like old times. The Cavaliers are not very consistent in scoring, and rely on body bumping and teeth grinding. Look for the Cavaliers to adjust to the Nets running game by Game 4.
A final score of 96 came from a running game? Hmm.
Jason Kidd: 23 points, 14 assists, 13 rebounds.
Jason Kidd needs to bring back his performance from the Toronto series. Tonight was a start.
See you all tomorrow.