Preview: Game 4, Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs--maybe we'll talk about the Gipper

I don't know what to say.

I considered going all Gregg Popovich on you, you know, telling you that you're grown men and women and you don't need me reminding you that no one's ever come from being down 0-3 to win a playoff series, and obviously a good strategy would consist of winning this game and the next 3 as well, and could someone ask a real question for a change?

I considered going zen. Simple calm serenity in the face of chaos and confusion. What is winning? What is losing? What is the sound of a baseline jumper left short? (I can tell you the answer to that one, actually, it sounds like this: clank.)

But in the end I've decided on something else.

I'll just say what I'm thinking.

I love this team. I'll keep loving this team even if they lose. I also know that no dynasty lasts forever. I know there will be a period of rebuilding when we aren't considered serious contenders for a championship. It happens without exception to every great team.

But not yet. Please.

I don't want it to be over. I so desperately want to see Tim get his fifth ring (before Shaq, before Kobe, oh please, before them). Man I want that so much. I want to see Manu and Tony and Tim share one last title and give the younger players a taste for victory; a foundation to build on. I want to see the streamers falling and the banners flying and all the little kids in their number 20 jerseys screaming for joy. I want to see the look of relief on Pop's face (and you know there would be one) when he knows he has done everything he can to help secure Duncan's legacy--Tim, who is like a cherished son to him. And I want these things not because it would make me happy or prove that I'm somehow an awesome person because I like the Spurs (although, let's be honest--it kind of does), but because I just . . . love these guys. I want to see them win. They've given their best to this game and to this team. It is right and meet and just that they be rewarded.

And I know it isn't likely to happen. I know. But that doesn't stop me from wanting it.

More importantly, that doesn't stop the Spurs from wanting it.

One step at a time. Win this game and avoid the sweep. Then go from there.

2005--manu-ginobili-tim-duncan-tony-parker_medium
Someone has to do it someday, you know--be the first team to come back from being down by three losses and win a playoff series. Why not us?

Apologies for the hackishness of what ensues. I have the usual excuses lined up (need to sleep, going out of town to visit mom on mom day, etc.) but really, even if I had all the time in the world, I feel like everything's been said and all we can do now is watch and hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

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Phoenix Suns @ San Antonio Spurs [Game 4]
Where: AT&T Center - San Antonio, TX
When: May 8, 2010; 7:00 PM Spurs time
Watch: TNT


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How They Stack Up (This Series)
0-1 Home 1-0
0-2 Road 2-0
100.0
Offense 110.3
110.3 Defense 100.0
47.1 FG% 49.0
35.8
3-pt% 47.7
65.4
FT% 74.7

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 9:00 PM
West Coast
5:00 PM
Philippines 8:00 AM
Central Europe 2:00 AM
Palestine/Egypt 3:00 AM
East Coast 8:00 PM
Mountains
6:00 PM
Perth, AUS 8:00 AM
Tokyo, JP 9:00 AM
Sydney, AUS 10:00 AM
Matchups

Tony Parker

Point Guard

Parker chose not to undergo an MRI on Saturday and says he will play in Game 4. Will he start or come off the bench? How effective will he be, given that he couldn't even make free throws on Friday?

I like Steve Nash. Sorry, no hate here. If anyone can take the credit for the fantastic team chemistry the Suns enjoy this season, it's Nash. Gentry didn't need him to spark the offense in Game 3, but I expect to see more of him in Game 4, especially since he seems to be able to score at will when George is on him.

Advantage: Suns


Steve Nash

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Manu Ginobili

Shooting Guard

Manu seemed to get his stroke back to some extent last game, but that was with Parker starting in the backcourt. As Andrew pointed out at 48 Minutes of Hell, Ginobili's shot improved significantly playing off the ball. We'll see if that continues.

Richardson went 5 for 7 from behind the three-point line on Friday. So . . . yeah. Maybe it would be a good idea to not leave him open. (I'm looking at you, Jefferson.)

Advantage: Tied


Jason Richardson

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Richard Jefferson

Small Forward

Advantage: Tied


Grant Hill

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Tim Duncan

Power Forward

Duncan has not been able to solve the problem presented by the Suns' constant offensive attack. I'm not ready to call him a defensive liability, but that dreaded ever-closing window so often mentioned this season shows no signs of ceasing on its relentless path.

Advantage: Tied


Amare Stoudamire

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Antonio McDyess

Center

Advantage: Spurs


Jarron Collins

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George Hill

Bench & Role Players

No one looked anything close to happy last night, but when the camera was scanning the Spurs bench for reaction shots in the 4th quarter, Cubits looked stunned. Shell-shocked. His abilities have been betrayed by his inexperience. But if Parker's shoulder injury renders him as ineffective as it did in the second half of Game 3, Pop will have no choice but to give his favorite player the chance to redeem himself.

Do I really need to rehash what Dragic did to us in the 4th quarter of Game 3? No? Thank god for that.

Advantage: Suns


Goran Dragic

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Gregg Popovich

Coach

Advantage: Tied


Alvin Gentry

images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

The Suns picked the right time of year to peak, that's for sure. Tonight will be an interesting test for them. Will they let up, or go for the kill? If they let up the least bit, the Spurs take this one. No one wants to get swept.

Advantage: Tied

Winner:

A sweep seems too horrible to contemplate, but we can't deny that it's a real possibility. I'm not picking a winner in this game. It would be ludicrous to pretend I have any real conviction one way or the other. But I can tell you what I want. . . . What I want is for the Spurs to come out and THROW DOWN.

Last Time They Met

You can read all about it here, or even go relive the experience in the game threads. And then drop me a line, because I've always been curious about what it must be like to be a real live masochist. Do you look forward to dental surgery? Enjoy those three-hour meetings with middle management?

Some Other Reading

Suns

Bright Side of the Sun - The BSotS faithful are ecstatic these days (and for good reason). If you go visit, don't you dare troll. Go because it's a good blog about a good team. Personally, right now I can't bear to look.
Valley of the Suns - This is the TrueHoop blog dedicated to the Suns. These other teams' THN blogs seem to be getting better over time, which is a very encouraging sign. Worth the read.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: The best TrueHoop team blog is still going strong, "pounding" out some of the best analysis there is on our beloved Spurs.
Project Spurs: Check out their regular podcasts. I think they love Manu as much as we do, if that's possible.

Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be aired nationwide on TNT. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel.

Online

As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to poundingtherockmail@yahoo.com for more assistance.

NBA League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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