Sports Guy Blinded by the Suns
--Sports Guy's love letter to the Suns: I know Bill lets his emotions overtake rational thought sometimes, but his recent Wednesday column went a little overboard. He could not stop gushing about the Suns, basically saying the Suns can't be stopped this year, and will cruise thru the playoffs. The Suns do look scary right now, and I have mentioned their defense is pretty solid this year and although their overall rebounding is poor, their defensive rebounding is probably adequate enough. Even so, I am not real sure how he could just gloss over the Mavs, and say the Suns are easily the favorite in a playoff series.
Um Bill, the Mavs have the best record in the NBA, have been equally as hot, and oh by the way...the Mavs are 2-0 vs. the Suns this year. And during their recent hot run, it is interesting to see the one team to trip the Suns up besides the Wizards, were the Mavs. Random chance during the regular season? I don't think so.
Also, the Suns are 2-8 vs the Western elite this year (Mavs, Spurs, Lakers, Jazz, Rockets), and the Rockets are the only team they beaten, although they struggled to put away a Yao-less, McGrady-less Houston this week. One of their two losses to the Jazz was without Nash, so I guess that cancels out the recent Houston game.
Plus, the Suns have to prove they can translate their solid defensive play over to the playoffs, something they have not proved in the last two years. Their defense was middle-of-the pack in both the '04-'05 & '05-'06 reg. season, then was awful in the playoffs, especially in the interior for both years. And the Rockets, Lakers, & Spurs all have the ability to punish questionable interior defenses.
The Suns still have much to prove in the way of ratcheting up their defense in the late stages of tight games. I remember in their first meeting vs. the Mavs this year, they could not get stops & let up some crushing off. rebs. down the stretch that killed them. The Suns are just no way that much better or even better than the Mavs, and not much separates them from the Spurs & Rockets right now, either. Also, the Jazz & the Lakers are capable of giving tham problems in a 7-game series. The Suns lack of size behind Amare is still a minor issue that needs to be addressed.