"It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time."
- Sir Winston Churchill
That's the quote of the day up on the board in the Suns locker room. I've learned that Dan Majerle is responsible for posting these words of wisdom. Hats off to
Thunder Scholar Dan for an excellent choice for today.
Pre-game Coaches pressers were fun. Phil Jackson was asked what he was looking for when he re-watched the 4th quarter of Game 5 (as tweeted by his woman, Jennie Buss).
Jackson responded that he was checking a couple of plays to see if Gasol was fouled and if Nash traveled. Neither was called during the game. Jackson said Gasol was in fact fouled and Nash did in fact travel. He did not comment on any other blown calls in the game that might have benefited his team.
Gentry was in fine form. Hilarious really. He chided the media for over-blowing Nash's "guarantee" of a win in Game 6.
"Let me ask you guys something, what should he say. Boy we're going to go home and we're going to play and then I get to go to New York and I take the rest of the summer off because we'll get our ass kicked."
"We're supposed to try and win the game. WE. PLAY. TO. WIN. THE. GAME. Hello."
The only basketball related thing addressed was getting Amare the ball more. Also look for the Suns spacing to be better. I was told that on a few occasions in Game 5 when Amare caught the ball on the elbow, other guys were out of position making it too easy for the Lakers to double or rotate so some of Amare's lack of aggression can be attributed to that.
Jackson and Gentry pre-game audio:
If there's one thing that worries me about tonight's game - aside from the officiating crew, the Lakers bigs, Kobe, Sasha Vujavcic, and the weather (more on those later) - it is overconfidence.
Not only is Steve Nash kinda sorta but not really guaranteeing a victory but there was an awful lot of talk from both Suns fans and Suns players about Game 7 and how the Suns could possibly, maybe win on the road.
What Nash said struck me as perfectly reasonable:
"We lost and they held home court," Nash said after the game. "We'll go back home and do the same and we'll come back here for Game 7."
Given the opportunity to clarify things Friday, Nash didn't back down, nor was he definitive.
"It's a belief," he said. "I believe we're going to come home and win and go back and play Game 7 over there."
Of course, the King of the Disrespect Ron Artest didn't care for that dis (nor did he bother to show up for practice on time):
"Oh, man. That's, like, no respect," Artest said. "No respect for us. That's how it's been for a long time so far this season and these playoffs — guys have no respect."
Right, because if the Lakers are one thing, it's disrespected. No one picked them to win this series. It is amazing they even made it this far what with their #1 seed, the top payroll in the NBA and Kobe Freakin' Bryant and Pau Mierda Gasol. Not even Charles Barkley picked them to beat the Suns.
Woe is them. Life is so hard as an underdog, disrespected Laker.
The Suns players at practice on Friday were all on board the Nash confidence train.
But before all that Game 7 stuff, the Suns actually have to win Game 6 WHICH IS NOT A GIVEN.
If the Suns take the court and assume they can win at home just because they did so handily in Games 3 and 4 then there will be about 20,000 sad orange pandas steaming out of the Mad House on Washington (No? How about the US Airways Center Of Lunatic Fanatics?).
We all WANT the Suns to win. We certainly DON'T WANT to see the Lakers and their #24 fans celebrating in OUR building. But those 11 guys in the white and purple uni's are going to have to do their part. They are going to have to play the best game of their lives and play harder then they ever have before and then take it up a notch. Even Dwayne Jone and Taylor Griffin and Earl Clark need to be bring their best towel waving, cheer games.
I have absolutely ZERO strategy for this game.
We know what they Lakers do well. They give Kobe the ball and watch him be brilliant and hope that a couple of their OG's can hit some shots. They try and defend the Suns pick and roll. They flood one side of the zone and find seams, baseline cuts and rebounding lanes. They waited until a crucial Game 5 to unleash their secret Goran Dragic stopper who's name I will refrain from mentioning in an effort to restore peace to the civil-war torn Balkans conflict thing.
The Suns game plan is really pretty obvious. Play hard. REALLY REALLY HARD
When the Suns do that they beat the Lakers. When Amare is aggressive attacking the rim and all the boys are attacking the glass and employing their Run and Rebound and Zone game plan the outcome is virtually guaranteed.
Yes, I said it. I am guaranteeing a Suns win for no other reason than I would hate to see this amazing season end tonight at home. This series MUST go back to LA for a Game 7 and only then would I be satisfied with any result.
Other obstacles to consider?
....and here's a little story about crazy dancing that you won't hear anywhere else
During the media availability following Suns practice on Friday, we were gathered near the chairs on the side where Dudley and Jason were sitting and I look over to the far hoop where guys like Frye, Jones, Hill and Dragic were getting up some extra shots. My attention of course was focused on whoever I was
interviewing standing close to w/ my mic hand extended when I hear a noise.
I look over and there's Grant Hill and Goran Dragic with their arms interlocked and dancing in a circle like a square dance move which I learned from this site (Internet FTW!) is called an Arm Turn. Grant I believe was chanting something that sounded like "G-O-G-I" which of course is Goran's nickname, Gogi.
So, there's that to mull over.
One last bit of pre-game wackiness:
Amare Stoudemire is urging people to wear an orange Band-aid on their foreheads in sympathy which his scratch. I got a good close look at Amare's uncovered scratch yesterday and when I use the term "scratch" I am being very literal here. It's a scratch. That is all. No stitches. No bruising. No swollen right eye. A scratch right between his eyebrows.
In honor of tonight's game and the Bully Ball we need Amare to play, I am going to refrain from commenting on his tone-deaf attempt at self-contrived sympathy but if you are coming to the game be sure to wear your band-aid and pick up your Amare face.
Now, go enjoy the rest of your day and try not to think about how important tonight's contest is to the future of the the Phoenix Suns and the entire sports history and culture of the State of Arizona. No pressure.
I know there's many of you who care about the Mercury. Here's a pretty darn good story (if I do say so myself) about where the team stands four games in.