In the current era of political correctness, I know that it's a prerequisite when writing about the Suns to say something like, "I know some people say it's not a rivalry because we beat the Suns like a red-headed step child, but it really is because the electricity around the game makes it one," or "I don't mean to take away from what the Suns did in any way because they really played their hearts out," or "We deserved to lose because the Suns simply outplayed us," but we are losing this series two to nothing and to hell with being nice.
"This is a free-flowing conversation that occasionally touches on mature [read: my biased] subjects [read: opinions.]"
Steve Nash is only fun to watch if you are rooting for him. If you are not rooting for him you will notice the obvious extra step he takes every time he shoots his "YMCA" shot, the moving screens he uses that free him for his wide open layups, his mastery over carrying the ball that freezes our defenders, and the moving screen he sets when he hands the ball off to a teammate and runs into our defender to free him for a shot. It's all illegal and yet, that's his game so he gets away with it? I'm tired of watching this guy cheat his way through his career. He's 36 years old. He's not superman. There has to be something else going on that gives him an edge over quicker, younger, more athletic guards. He constantly rides the fine line between walking and not walking, between carrying and not carrying, between using a moving screen and using a legal screen, and between setting a moving screen and setting a legal screen. I just covered everything that Steve Nash does well. It's all a derivative of stretching the rules and not getting called on it.
[Side tangent: Everyone credits the Suns training staff for bringing corpses back to life. Amare (I refuse to give him an apostrophe) comes back from micro-fracture knee surgery, Nash is 36, Grant Hill was hurt his entire career before landing on the Suns, to name a few. Can someone please confirm that they are not using PEDs? I mean, I just googled 'Suns' and 'PEDs' and nothing came up. Is the entire nation doing what we did with baseball and pretending that the pink elephant in the room isn't recovering from injuries because he's on HGH?]
(Back to Nash stretching the rules.) Well, no more, Mr. Nash. I will only give you credit for cheating better than everyone else in the league. Every guard carries the ball, you just do it more effectively. Everyone sets moving screens at some point, you just do it more often and never get called for it. So, I guess I'm upset that our guys don't cheat as well as their guys? We could run the same plays, couldn't we? Why can't Tony drive into the paint, pick up his dribble, hand the ball off to Tim five feet from the basket, and run into his defender? If that's legal, and by legal I mean it doesn't get called for the obvious violation, then let's do it too.
This series has been nothing short of ridiculously fluky. And yes, I mean to take away from what the Suns have done so far. How did the Suns win Game 2? Offensive rebounds and Channing freaking Frye. Offensive rebounds are greatly a matter of luck. If you have played the game, you know this. 95% of the time, the defender will get the best position for a rebound, leaving you, as an offensive rebounder, a few options.
One, you can use a football move to fake the defender, spin on him, and secure the inside position. NBA players are so big that you rarely see this because it's not easy to do against a refrigerator, and even more so because it's hard for a refrigerator to spin.
Option 2, you get a running start and time your jump so that you are in the air, by the rim, as the ball deflects giving you the easy put-back. This takes a lot of energy, a free lane to the basket, and the perfect bounce for it to work. It is rarely successful, but looks really cool if you get it right.
Option 3, you get right behind the guy and give him a little nudge just as he jumps. This used to work all the time. Dennis Rodman lived off the 'gentle nudge, man goes flying' move. But for some reason, referees notice this 99% of the time now and a player rarely gets away with it.
Option 4, the Ian Mahinmi. You do not work for position, get boxed out, and simply jump into, over your man and get called for the foul. (I feel that it's somewhat telling that Ian only gets mentioned to describe a foul. Thanks for all you do, Ian.)
Option 5 is what I would describe as the Matt Bonner offensive rebound. You stay active, find an open spot near the basket, and pray that the ball bounces in just the right way off the rim so that it lands in your lap. Option 5 is what killed us in Game 2. We had better rebounding position, the ball just bounced in the worst way possible. Height, of course, helps to corral some of these nasty bounces, so Pop's horrendous decision to play Bonner and Blair at the same time played into the Suns' luck. But make no mistake, it was luck.
Channing "Freaking" Frye. His name even annoys me. If I was introduced to someone with the name Channing Frye, 99% of the time I would hate him within 5 seconds. It sounds like a tanning salon for uppity chickens. I know the guy made 44% of his threes this season, but 5 of 6 in the biggest game of the year? Suns fans even have to admit that was ridiculously fluky. And most of these were not wide open shots. They were contested, contact after the shot strikes. Give him those same six shots right now and he makes 3 of them, at most.
Steve "Violation" Nash, Channing "freaking" Frye, and Matt Bonner-esque offensive rebounds were responsible for our Game 2 demise. You can see why I'm bitter. It's nothing but fluky nonsense, which is why I really do believe that we can still win this series. I know it seems insurmountable. And ESPN will be the first to let us know that in Round 2, when teams play their Game 3 on a Friday at 8:30pm down 2-0, and they have a redhead on the team, and the other team is led by a 36 year old point guard that's uglier than sin, and the temperature is in the 90's, and the mascot for the opposing team has nothing whatsoever to do with the city or state, the home team loses 85% of the time. They know this people. They ran simulations 1 trillion times and the home team loses 85% of the time. To hell with the ESPN simulator, to hell with Joey Crawford, and to hell with Los Suns.
Barring a fluky Game 3, the Spurs will handle the Suns with ease and the world will be right again.