Can you believe that it's only been around five months since the Phoenix Suns last played a game? Can you believe that Grant Hill will soon be 39? Can you believe that Lou Amundson is no longer a Sun? Can you believe that Vince Carter is still a Sun? Can you believe that Steve Nash has yet to be traded? Can you believe that we are over a year removed from our WCF's appearance?
Too be honest, much of that is hard for me to believe. I miss Lou Amundson, I hate the lock-out, I hated last season, and these past 5 months have felt much longer. I need some actual Suns news!
It's gotten to the point to where I've unintentionally started dreaming about them. It's like my mind is trying to compensate for the lack of Sun in my life!
Seriously, I had a dream where the lock-out was canceled and the regular season was like only 1 game. Q was back on the team and Corey Maggette was starting at SG. It was weird, but they were both in their prime and playing very well. The team was running again and it was really fun to watch. I didn't understand any of it, but it was really cool! We made the playoffs too. Then I woke up to reality, the worst game ever....
But enough about dreams! Due to the lack of any news, I've had much time to look back and reflect on the past history of our Phoenix Suns. The 07 series for example, it was the most dramatic series of my life, and that is what this post is about.
But first, you have to watch this tribute.
Phoenix Suns Tribute (2006-2007) (via CUnit622)
Now, there was already a lot of drama heading into the 2007 NBA Playoffs. This was the year Nash was at his peak. This was the "Eyes On The Prize" year. It was the year when Coach Mike D'Antoni dubbed his offense, "Organized Chaos". It was according to Nash, the year he had his best team. It was their year.
If I remember correctly, Dallas was the favorite. They won 67 games. Yet I didn't believe they were the best team. I believed the two best teams in the NBA in no order were, San Antonio and Phoenix. One of them was going to win the Championship. It was unfortunate that they had to meet a round earlier, so I knew that going into this series, it was practically the NBA Finals.
I was pretty confident that Phoenix could beat anyone. That's including Detroit, Dallas and Utah. However, I didn't feel that way with the Spurs. They were the one team I had doubts against. They were the one team that could make us play their game and if not they were also one of the few teams capable of beating us at our own game. At worst, I thought we could make it go 6 and at best, we might just beat them.
This was a game I knew the Suns had to win because if they could take it, they'd have the psychological edge. Plus, you know how they say 90% of the game is mental right? Well, it's true. The Suns were the more talented team, but I questioned how they would fare against the Spurs in the mental battle.
We all know how it went down. The pace was in our favor and Nash dominated. With 2:53 to go, down 100-99, Steve collided with Parker and the picture tells the rest of the story.
At the post game conference in response to a question about what they could have done better; Nash replied, "We didn't play with enough heart".
The Phoenix Suns responded with a 101-81 beat down on SA. After the game, Amar'e called the Spurs "dirty". He was referring to a play in which Bruce Bowen kicked him on the back of his leg, right above the shoe while he was going for a dunk.
I thought Amar'e was being a little ridiculous, like he was trying to start something... that is until Bowen kneed Nash in the groin the very next game.
Nash played his worst basketball ever in the first half, however the Suns were never out of it and he picked up his play in the 2nd. Amar'e Stoudemire saw only 24 minutes of action due to questionable calls. Overall, the refs did a crappy job and today, it remains as the 2nd most controversial playoff game in Suns history behind only game 7 of the Suns and Sonics series in 93.
I told my brother that whoever wins this game would win the series, barring any injuries. If the Spurs won, it was pretty much over. For the Suns, it was a must win. I wasn't really sure they could pull it off. It wouldn't be easy, but if they did win, they would go home with the series tied two apiece while having the momentum and psychological edge.
Of course, things didn't work out so well. The pace was never in our favor and it looked as if the Spurs would win. This is where the Suns finally proved to me that they could beat the Spurs at their own game. They stepped up their defense, got stops which created fast break opportunities and took the lead 100-97 after being down 75-85 earlier in the 4rth. At this moment, I knew we had won.
I knew the Spurs were frustrated and so the Suns had won the mental battle. For the first time, I thought they looked like Champions. Now I was confident we could beat SA. Unfortunately, that moment only lasted 5 seconds.
I came home from school, took a nap, woke up and realized that I was missing this game. I turned on the TV just in time to see Bell hit a mid-range jumper to put us up by 12, midway through the 3rd quarter.
I couldn't believe it. I thought to myself, "Are we really going to pull this off, are we really going to win the Championship?". That is the only time I have ever thought that in the Nash era, and when you think about it; it's actually the closest we've ever been. We all know how it ended.
The Suns put up a fight in game 6 until the Spurs managed to pull away and gain a 20 point lead half way through the 3rd quarter. Nash sparked a comeback and they managed to get it within 5 near the end of the 4rth, but it was too late....
The Suns just couldn't catch a break in this series. They didn't get a fair shot, so It's easy to look back and ask what could have been. For all we know, we probably would have won the Championship, or we may not have won at all. But now that I do look back, the most memorable thing that stands out to me isn't the suspensions or game 3 or what could have been, but the bloody nose. It was just the way that Steve Nash carried his team. People who question his leadership, need to watch this series. I can't really find the words to explain it and I'm not trying to sound flowery, so I'll just put it in simple terms; Steve Nash Is Awesome.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the most dramatic playoff series I have ever seen.
Now, what was the most dramatic playoff series you've ever seen? Feel free to share your experiences and memories.