…because it sucked. I mean, seriously? The Suns shot something like 7% for the quarter and gave up not one but two threes to MATT BONER [sic] and were down at the end of the quarter 28-19. Bleagh.
And I showed up ready for action right at the start of the 2nd quarter and what’s the first thing I see? Well, the Spurs going on a run, first of all, to go up 37-21 (Really, Suns? I mean, seriously!) and Tony Parker possibly hurting hizzownself on a real douchey move–the drive to the bucket followed by the sideways leap at the defender followed by the crash to the floor. Now, here’s one of the things that I do not enjoy about the NBA…the “creating contact” move by the offensive player. I hate it. I think it’s one of the two worst things about the NBA (the other being the flop [and the charge]). I hate it under the basket; I hate it on the perimeter. I hate that Tony Parker can fling himself into the defender, fall to the floor, and get a foul called on Amar’e. Hate it. I hate that an offensive player on the perimeter can ball-fake, get the defender to jump straight up, then fling his body into the defender for the foul call. If the defensive player is required to make a play on the ball, why isn’t the offensive player required to make a play for the hoop? Those plays generally end with the Kobe (or whatever offensive player) throwing his arms out to the sides as the ball falls to the floor. He wasn’t trying to score, he was trying to force a foul. I’m all for aggressive play, but the goal should be to force the defender to play excellent defense, not to commit a foul.
Anyway, things went much better for the Suns over the rest of the 2nd quarter; they outscored the Spurs 23-13 over the last 8:30 or thereabouts. The Spurs led in bench production through the first two quarters…but that’s something that’s hard to measure with the Spurs, right? I got to thinking about how even though The Frenchman comes off the bench, he’s not really a bench player; he plays starter minutes and scores starter points. But the Suns have the same thing, I guess; they have Jarron “Captain Nothing” Collins in the starting lineup and they bring their NBA centers off the bench. Of course, the difference is that Collins is just a fill-in for the somehow NBA-caliber Robin Lopez, so that’s something. It makes it difficult to measure, though, doesn’t it?
The third quarter, they played pretty evenly, but it seemed to me that the Spurs really played some defense in the quarter, especially inside. I know it didn’t happen as often as it seemed like, but it sure seemed like the Suns in general (and Amar’e in particular) were getting the ball just torn out of their hands every time they were in the paint. Now, since they were collapsing on the paint, the Spurs weren’t playing nearly as solid defense on the outside, so the Suns were able to knock down some open threes. Unfortunately, every time the Suns got a little run going, the Spurs would go ahead and push back and open it up a bit again. Attack and defense…invasion and repulsion. The Suns had the last push going into the end of the quarter to make it 72-71 Spurs (a 27-22 quarter advantage).
The 4th quarter opened at an awesome frenetic pace…both teams were pushing the ball like crazy and the officials allowed quite a bit of contact. Dragic was making it happen, getting into the lane for some nice little moves. The Suns pushed and all of a sudden the Spurs pushback started to stall out just a bit as the Suns took a little lead (did I mention things were moving a little quicker? Five minutes into the quarter, the Suns had outscored the Spurs 20-10). How did that happen? Two words: Dragic and Barbosa. Mostly Dragic, but Barbosa was feelin’ the flow too. Does Dragic harbor some resentment towards the Spurs for trading him? Does he just want to let them know what they missed out on? Who the hell knows, but he played an amazing straight-up OWNED the 4th quarter. The Spurs looked totally ineffective on both ends of the floor; so much so that I didn’t even get upset when the officials hooked George Hill up with a trip to the line to get them some points (though that Ginobili special around the 4-minute mark where he threw his body into a standing-still Jared Dudley for the foul was total horseshit).
The Suns closed out the game with Nash and Dragic on the floor together, which was pretty badass (although Dragic started missing a few shots, so that was stupid). The two of them playing well while playing off of each other is a pretty sweet basketball sight to behold (not as sweet as Ginobili with a maxipad on his face, but still…). The Suns did what they’ve done lately; they didn’t let a slow start bother them in the least. They just kept playing and kept playing…and the shots started falling…and San Antonio’s stopped. At long last the Suns started listening to me! I kept tellin’ ‘em they needed to be Steppin’ On Necks…and that’s what happened. That was Steppin’ On Necks if I’ve ever seen it!
I guess the only question now is Will the Spurs even bother to play Game 4? To play three good quarters of basketball like that, then come out and be absolutely, positively destroyed before you could even catch your breath? That’s gotta feel terrible, no matter how much of a professional you are. I mean, they just got owned. They couldn’t do anything right on either end, and Dragic didn’t do a single thing wrong. That was, in a word, WOW.
Well, if anybody’s actually interested, there’ll hopefully be a chat goin’ on on Sunday for Game 4. Bring your brooms just in case, friends. Anything can happen…