It was another exciting weekend in sports, and Sunday capped it off with an exciting NBA playoff double header. I didn’t catch the first game of the Nets/Cavs series because I was still in a coma from the night before, but the highlights showed an exciting game. LeBron stepped up big down the stretch, he ended with 21. That doesn’t seem great but when your team barely cracks 80 and you get a win you can’t complain. He also hit two big shots from close range to keep the game out of reach. You love to see when a young player steps up and plays into that hero mode during the playoffs. The second half showed flashes of when James nearly carried his entire team to victory in a grueling series against the Pistons a year ago. I hope he gets some support at some point from the other Cavs.
I did get the opportunity to catch the second game of the double-header, an absolute treat. The Spurs and Suns battled back and fourth for 48 minutes. It was one of those games where neither team would quit. You knew they were going to trade buckets until one team finally runs out of time and needs to foul. 12 lead changes and 7 ties.
I was really impressed with the elevated play of both teams, the Suns led by Nash (what else is new), and the Spurs, by Duncan and Parker. I personally feel that Duncan is underrated by the mainstream. He is a superstar obviously but he didn’t get any talk for MVP. Yet, when you watch him it is a basketball clinic every time. He led all scorers with 33 and so many of them killed runs when the Suns were trying to catch fire.
On paper, the Spurs look like a bad match-up for the Suns. They have playoff experience, they have Tim Duncan, they have clutch shooters in Parker and “Big Shot Bob,” they have Tim Duncan, they have a spark plug flailing foreigner coming off the bench in Manu Ginobili, they play strong defense, which usually trumps offense, and they have Tim Duncan. I thought the Spurs would really slow things down and control the tempo. However, the game was played at a pace that really favored the Suns. They were running the way they always do, but instead of slowing down, the Spurs went toe-to-toe (unlike Mayweather and De La Hoya) and outscored them.
The only disappointment was Steve Nash having to sit the deciding stretch of the game; he gashed his nose when butting heads with Tony Parker and took a big impact (unlike Mayweather or De La Hoya). He had to sit down the stretch because the trainers couldn’t get it to stop bleeding. It was this stretch in which the Suns couldn’t answer on one possession. Just like that, the game was over. Being an avid Suns fan (second only to the Celtics), I was a little disappointed we didn’t get to see if the Suns could pull it out with Nash. But in the end, the Spurs experience pulled it out. It was amazing how calm they stayed being on the road facing adversity, with an explosive team throwing everything they have at you. There were so many big buckets; this game was a thrill to watch. Game 1 has set great expectations for the series, and it should be one of the best in recent memory.
And Kudos to Clemens for being a Dick. Hope he enjoys sharing a rotation with Matt DeSalvo, Darrell Rasner, and Jeff Karstens (ERA 14.54).