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Slovenians! (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Hey guys - that was tough. Before I get into the Nightcap I just want to have some sappy cuddle time with you - the awesome reader. For me personally this was one of the most exciting and engaging Suns seasons of my life. I've been a Suns fan since 1989 and along the way we've had some close calls and some real fun teams - but this was my favorite. Last June I took a leap I had been contemplating (but unable to afford) for years and decided to buy season tickets. I remember justifying the cost to my friends by explaining that the Suns weren't the 46-36 squad from the season before and that they'd be able to get themselves back in the playoffs. Then I also remember sitting in a Singapore hotel room at 8 in the morning - during the NBA Draft - and hoping like hell the Suns didn't trade Amar'e to Golden State. Gotta admit that I felt pretty vindicated when the Suns opened with a 14-3 mark. But it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows since as we all know, the Suns slipped badly in December and January and following a January 26th loss to the Bobcats (AT HOME!) fell to 26-21.
From that 26-21 mark is where the second thing that made this season so great for me began, just as the Suns season was turning around. Right in that late January/early February area I was asked to come aboard here at Bright Side and "contribute as I could." Being a part of the Bright Side of the Sun staff has afforded me an opportunity to feed my Suns obsession and do it with what I consider to be the best community of fans on the interwebs. You've all helped make this season incredibly special for me.
Thank you everyone - for putting up with my pessimism and riding with me. I made some great memories this year and I hope you all did too (my writing may not be perfect...just appreciate the sentiment).
Saturday May 30th Playoff Result:
Los Angeles Lakers 111 Phoenix Suns 103 (Recap): Tough to write about this game as it was the last of the season so I'll just plow it out completely straight. Both teams lit up the scoreboard in the first and made just about every shot they took (but not really....felt like it) and the Lakers held a 37-34 lead. In the second quarter the Suns offense disappeared a bit and the Lakers capitalized - carrying a 12 point lead into the halftime break. Los Angeles extended the lead to 17 at the end of three and all seemed relatively lost for the Suns.The fourth quarter can then be broken down into 2 events: (1) Slovenian Civil War and (2) Kobe Bryant. Following a Goran Dragic lay up to begin the fourth quarter, Sasha Vujacic committed a post-play flagrant foul (I won't debate the veracity of Dragic's fall to the ground here) that gave the Suns two free throws and the ball. The call ignited the US Airways Center crowd and helped get a furious Suns rally going. With 2:18 to go in the game the Suns even managed to reduce the large Laker lead to just 3 points. Then (2) occurred. In proving that he really is the ultimate weapon, Bryant scored 9 points in the final 2 minutes, including 2 absolutely ridiculous jumpers, to seal the win and the berth in the NBA Finals. What are you gonna do?
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 37 points and put a cap on one of the most impressive playoff series performances I've ever seen. Bryant was a +19 in the game while no other Los Angeles starter was more than a +3. Ron Artest managed to bust the Suns zone several times as he hit for 25 points on 4/7 shooting from three. Most other Laker players were held relatively in check as Pau Gasol only had 9/7, Lamar Odom hit 3 of his 12 field goal attempts, and Derek Fisher missed each of his four three point tries. The story was Kobe. Again and again.
Phoenix was led by Amar'e Stoudemire's 27 and a great deal of his points came from the free throw line as he wasn't having a ton of luck from the field (7/20). The fact that he also had 4 rebounds is almost fitting if in fact this is his last game as a Phoenix Sun. Steve Nash had 21 points and 9 assists with only 2 turnovers - although the second turnover was incredibly costly with the Suns down 5 and 1:46 left to play. Channing Frye and Goran Dragic both added 12 points off the bench (Frye had 13 rebounds as well). Robin Lopez played just 8 minutes and was scoreless for the second consecutive game.
Conference Finals Series Standings:
(1) Lakers v. (3) Suns: Lakers win series 4-2
Upcoming Playoff Games:
The NBA Finals start next Thursday - or so I hear. If you're like me then you'd be more interested in when summer league starts so we can talk about how Earl Clark is developing.
90s NBA Flavor - Kevin Johnson - What can make a bunch of sad fans feel better? KJ baby. KJ.