Last season, the Phoenix Suns missed the NBA Playoffs. After going to the West finals 2 years straight, then making it to just the Semis, to losing in the first round, then to just not making them at all. It appeared the Suns were done for.
Going into this season, the "experts" all had their picks for the playoff teams. The Suns were picked to miss the playoffs, and finish the season in about the 9th or 10th spot in the West. Well, the season came, and it went. And here we are, well over a month after the regular season has ended, and the Suns are still playing. The team picked to finish in 10th place and miss the playoffs, are now tied at two games a piece with the defending champions, Los Angeles Lakers.
Before the Lakers though, those same experts, also picked the Suns to lose to the Spurs in 6 games in the West semis. And what happened? The Suns not only eliminated long time foe Spurs, but swept the Spurs, 4 games, to zero, none, nada.
Where are the experts now?
Same spot, saying the Suns have no chance, no hope. And will still end up losing the series. Now don't get me wrong, if the Suns lose this series against the Lakers, it will not come as a surprise. They are the defending champs, but why are the Suns getting no credit at all? The Suns are not winning these games by luck, or by squeaking out wins. They are closing games. Shutting teams down. And if you are thinking Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, the Suns two All Stars, are handling business, you might be surprised. Sure they are doing what they do best, but what I saw tonight was simply, amazing.
The Lakers had all their stars in, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest. And The Suns. Didn't have Steve Nash, Amare, Richardson, Lopez, or even Grant Hill in. The Suns had their bench players in. And it was their bench players, that in the 2nd quarter, and the 4th quarter, completely dominated and shut down the Lakers. So much so that when Nash and Amare came to check into the game, Suns coach Alvin Gentry sat them back down and let the bench players keep going.
The team that no one thought could do it, is doing it. Decisively. And still, the experts are against the Suns. Who picks these experts anyways??
Game 5 is Thursday, in Los Angeles. The biggest game of the year. The Suns lose, they go down 3-2, and come back to Phoenix for Game 6. But, if the Suns can win, if they can pull off the upset in LA, and take the 3-2 lead. Then the Suns will have a chance to eliminate the Lakers in Phoenix.
One thing that I have learned from watching the Suns my entire life, is that anything is possible.