Game 4 preview: Suns at Spurs

Western Conference Semifinals Game 4

Suns 107, Spurs 101

Suns fans must be wondering when they’re going to wake up and realize that taking a 3-0 lead on the San Antonio Spurs, thanks to Goran Dragic no less, is all a dream.

But no, as much as this series seems like something that could have only happened while you’re asleep, the Phoenix Suns really do have a legitimate chance to sweep the San Antonio Spurs in today’s Game 4 in the Alamo City.

The Suns know, however, that they’re playing a four-time world champion that won’t just back down at the first sign of adversity.

But you’ve got to wonder where San Antonio’s heads are at right now.

In Game 1, the Spurs responded to Steve Nash’s dominance with 12-0 and 13-0 runs in the second half, but still fell short. In Game 2, they limited Phoenix’s transition game and held the Suns to a low shooting percentage, but still lost. In Game 3, they built an 18-point lead, limited Amare Stoudemire to seven points, got to the line much more frequently than the Suns in the early going and seemed to really have Phoenix rattled …… but still lost again. With Nash, Amare and Richardson on the bench no less.

The Suns essentially took the Spurs’ best shot in Game 3, yet bounced right back up to deliver the knockout punch themselves.

The loss demoralized the Spurs so much that Manu Ginobili later told reporters that the Spurs “are going to have to play the perfect game” to win Game 4.

Play a perfect game? For the Spurs to beat the Suns just once? What world are we living in?

We will once again get to see what kind of killer instinct the Suns possess tonight. In Game 4 in Portland they had a chance to put a stranglehold on that series, but instead they played their worst game of the playoffs and saw the Blazers score the victory behind the emotional return of Brandon Roy.

The Suns are certainly in the driver’s seat, but you don’t want to give the Spurs any hope. Although no team has ever rallied from an 0-3 deficit in NBA history and the Suns haven’t lost consecutive games — not to mention four in a row — since January, if there ever were a time it would happen it would be in a Suns-Spurs series.

As down and out as San Antonio seems now, one win can change all that. And once momentum switches the other way, the next thing you know you’re playing in a Game 7.

The Spurs are a wounded animal right now, but if the Suns don’t put them out of their misery when they have a chance, they could be in trouble.

At the same time, I fully expect the Spurs to play near a perfect game, like the Suns did in Game 4 of the 2008 series after falling behind 0-3. Aside from one time against the Shaq-Kobe Lakers, these Spurs just don’t get swept, and the Suns would be in good position to close it out in Game 5 even if they drop this one.

But a sweep would send such a strong message that it would be the perfect revenge for all these years of torture.

This isn’t Orlando-Atlanta, this is the Suns and the Spurs, the captivating series in which the Spurs always break Phoenix’s heart and then devour it.

To finish off the sweep the Suns will need a new hero to step up, as they have seemed to have every game.

My prediction for this game? Amare Stoudemire.

After the Suns’ guards torched them in Game 3, I expect a bit less attention to be paid to Amare, and I expect him to enjoy his signature game of the series.

For all that has happened in that building for the Suns, from the Horry hip check to the Duncan three, sweeping the Spurs in that arena would exorcise many of the demons from past seasons.

By winning Game 3 this has already been a good trip, but one more win can make it the perfect revenge.

ValleyoftheSuns on 48 Minutes of Hell podcast

I stopped by the 48 Minutes of Hell podcast on Saturday to give my thoughts on the series. Be sure to give it a listen before Game 4 tips off.

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