Hats off to the Phoenix Suns for playing through adversities and still delivering the goods. They managed to fend off the Los Angeles Lakers in two consecutive “win or go home” games and I for one was left eating my own words. Factoring in the continued unavailability of their big men (making Kwame Brown look respectable), their performance was nothing short of miraculous.
With the series tied 3-3, the Suns play the Lakers tonight at Phoenix.
In game six with Raja “Kobe-irritator” Bell sitting out, the result of the game was all but forgone conclusion. Kobe got his 50 – MVP Steve Nash went for 32 points and 15 assists. And the Phoenix Suns sent the series back to Phoenix. That’s all they needed. Thank you Kobe.
The Lakers stopped playing the team ball and once again fell back on Kobe and only Kobe. To make matters worse they tried to match the Suns in their up-tempo style. Thank you Lakers.
Thank you Jack Nicholson for making faces. Appreciated.
Tonight’s game is the game of guts — the game that always defines a team — sets the tone, brings everybody together and makes them believe in mission impossible. It could be the Lakers. It could be the Suns.
For Raja Bell and the Suns, history is on their side. The home team has almost always won game 7 in a playoff series. Ironically, history does not favor a team winning a seven game playoff series after falling behind 3-1. Only seven teams have done that before.
The last team to win a series after falling behind 3-1? The Detroit Pistons in 2003 playoffs against the Orlando Magic.
For the Lakers, history is on their side too. Phil Jackson has never lost in first round playoffs. His teams have never lost a series after leading 3-1.
For Kobe the stage is set: playoff–Game 7–hostile crowd. Works for who he is and what he does.
Other playoff notes
If you are not paying attention, the Eastern Conference teams happily settled all their disputes: the Cavaliers advancing to the second round first time after 1993, Miami managed to survive the scare otherwise known as baby Bulls, the Nets were kept floating by the talents of their esteemed trio Kidd-Carter-Jefferson and the Detroit’s only loss against the Bucks turned out to be an exception to the norm.