Game 2 preview: Spurs at Suns

Western Conference Semifinals Game 2

Suns 110, Spurs 102

PHOENIX — Game 1 was the type of satisfying victory Suns fans have yearned for since the start of the Nash Era, taking their first series lead on the Spurs since Stephon Marbury’s shot banked in in 2003.

Just don’t expect the Suns to savor it for long because, you know, they have a kind of important game coming up tonight.

“I’m going to be happy for about an hour, oh, 15 minutes, and then [Tuesday] get ready to get back to business,” Channing Frye said after Game 1.

There’s no question that winning game one could set the tone for a series that the Suns hope to be different than all the rest against San Antonio this past half decade.

But that will only be the case if the Suns follow that up with an equally monumental win in Game 2 tonight against the Spurs.

If the Spurs win, then they will have gotten what they came for, the split that they needed to regain home-court advantage.

If the Suns win they will have a stranglehold on the series and we can forget about whether any curse has any bearing on this series. (Well, that is unless the Suns choke up that lead). But if history is our guide, Suns fans would be comforted to know that home teams that win the first two games in the conference semis boast a sterling 84-3 record in those series (.966 winning percentage).

“We’ve still got to hold home court in the next game,” Steve Nash said. “We haven’t really done anything yet. We did our job in Game 1, but we’ve got to have a better performance in Game 2. They’re going to come out extremely desperate in Game 2, and we’ve got to match it.”

In the Portland series, the more desperate team often won that basketball game. In that series’ Game 2, the Suns gave an inspired effort while the Blazers were content to take Game 1. The Suns should not be content with anything. They put themselves in a good spot, sure, but much of the luster will be taken off that Game 1 win if it’s not complemented by a victory in Game 2.

Just as Gentry made the genius move to switch Grant Hill onto Andre Miller between Games 1 and 2 of the Spurs series, you know both coaches will be cooking up adjustments before this battle.

Many people expect the Spurs to start Tony Parker at point guard instead of George Hill. To me it’s not such a big deal whether Parker starts or not because he still logged a hair under 36 minutes in Game 1, more than any Spur not named Tim or Manu. He will play a lot, and he will play a lot with Hill regardless.

We all know that Nash can’t guard Parker — who can? — nor can he check anybody else in San Antonio’s starting lineup if Parker starts. At the same time, as we saw in his 33-point, 10-assist Game 1 effort, not even the great George Hill can stop Nash either.

After Game 1, Grant Hill was talking about how the Suns played well but that there are some things they can improve upon. For one, their 16 turnovers were a tad high, and they can’t rely on the Spurs hitting just 4-of-19 threes (21.1 percent) every game. The Suns will also need to get more offensive production from their role players after nobody outside of the Nash-Amare-Richardson trio scored more than seven points.

On a night that will be charged by the Suns’ political statement of wearing “Los Suns” on their jerseys, the Suns have a chance to make the Spurs play catchup after the first two games in a series for the first time in the Nash Era.

This team knows that the Game 1 win doesn’t matter if they don’t also win Game 2, so their level of desperation should match that of the Spurs.

“You can’t get too excited,” Amare Stoudemire said. “They’re a team with a great pedigree that knows how to come back in a series. I think we played well on both ends, did a phenomenal job on the boards, but we’ve got to stay hungry and get ready for Game 2.”

  • Jasper Buckleman

    It's funny, but after a game 1 win, I feel like the Suns have to adjust as much as the Spurs do. I have no doubt that they will, but it's a little unusual. However, I hope Amar'e plays just like he did in the first game. I thought it was perfect. He somehow managed to have a quiet 23 points and 13 big big rebounds. Especially at the end of the game, he was in all the right places getting the boards. Let's take a 2-0 lead into San Antonio. Go Suns!

  • Ace Phoenix

    You are right Jasper, it was a quiet 23 and 13, but everyone of them was big. The way I see it is if everyone else can get us to the 4th quarter and Amar'e rebounds until then, the game is his come the 4th quarter. NO ONE IN THE LEAGUE can stop him, we just need him to make the right decisions against the trap.

  • KJ Loyalist

    I think somebody needs to check Mark Izepski's passport details.

    Seriously though, game one was nice, but that's done.

    They need to hit them and hit them hard – no sluggish starts. Frye needs to keep hitting those shots because you can bet Pop will sag his D more to help against nash. Duncan will get sucked far inside a lot, and as a result of that or the switching, Frye is going to have to kill them tonight.

  • Ethan

    mike, don't be racist… I am all for stronger immigration policy, this law steps too far. Plus, they said that they weren't protesting the bill, they were supporting the latino community. And i don't believe you will be against the Suns just for this.

  • Ace Phoenix

    Come on Suns!!

    Amar’e you know what you need to do 30-15 is the goal.
    Nash 20-15 would be nice tonight, keep taking it all the way to the hole, eventually they will leave our shooters and we will be ready!
    JRich, grind baby, grind. I love it, the hustle and burn is getting those big numbers as much as your individual talent, keep it up!!
    Hill, what can we say, big shots like our last bucket in the 4th quarter in game 1 and some strong defense and rebounding. The little things that win ball games, I love it and so do all the other Dukies like me!!
    Bench, your important, keep plugging away, the shots will eventually fall. Keep making Alvin play you more, before the series is over Goran you need to get that last two minutes of the first and third quarters, sometimes with and sometimes without Steven. Just keep lowering your head and playing D. Leo, its come back you are ready to explode. Channing and JDud, the intensity is the calling card keep bringing it and dunk some more!!
    Lou, Jarron, Lopez, let’s get 25 tough minutes a game from 3 three, banging Duncan, make him fight for position, and don’t give him any easy buckets he can’t shoot FT’s. Just give us 25 tough minutes and we will be okay.
    That’s a lot to ask for and a big laundry list, but this is a big team with big hopes and a bigger heart. Let’s get it done and put this San Antonio curse, fear, paranoia behind us!

    Go Suns! Go Los Suns! Go The Suns! Go planet orange.

    Disclaimer: This message neither supports or opposes any stated or unstated political viewpoints. I’m just a Suns fan come hell or high water.

    Is this the world we live in where the above is necessary????

  • Bdiddy

    You're a dummy Ethan and missed mike's point.

    Anyway, game 2 was for all you spurs fans that called this series for the spurs in 5 or 6. The Suns bench is deeper than in years past and Gentry is out-coaching popobitch.

    Next stop, LA.

  • Ethan

    anybody hear whether or not Lopez is playing tonight?

  • Ivan

    I've noticed an interesting trend with grant hill. i am writing this after the suns game 2 victory, but if you look closely at grant hills scoring, his scoring numbers drop, as well as the number of shots he takes drop when he is playing "lock down" defense on premiere players (manu, andre …ect). while i am happy that hill has played excellent defense, i would like to see him drop 30 + points at least once in the series.

  • mark izdepski

    Today, after 25 years of being a Suns fan i am done! Due to the Suns need to become political, over an issue i support, i will no longer support ANY activity involving the Phoenix Los Suns!. What a poor marketing decision to alienate your patronage. Sports, at least with the suns is no longer an escape. It is a continuation of basketball players with opinions making a political point, at the demise of our great state of Arizona. How dare you support opposing the law. I will now rally against the suns at evey oppurtunity with all friends and colleages. Unless, of course you won’t, change your position. Good Bye!

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  • KJ Loyalist

    For him to drop 30 means using a lot of energy in the offensive end. I’d rather he keep his killer defense up and allow Frye, Studley, Dragon, and others assist on the scoring end.

  • The Z. Man

    Mark is a disgrace to the state, to our country, and to the Suns.

    Suns make me proud to be one of their fans. Time to recognize that we have a very special team. Much more than just STAT and Nash.

    Remember The Alamo and remember that we have players who have revenge giving them that extra edge. Nash has that edge and so does STAT and even the Brazilian Blur.

    MUST start and also finish with LB. Let's go SUNS!!!!