I've been having a hard time paying attention to the Association's playoffs this year.
Partially, it's just the host of distractions; Where are LeBron/Bosh/Wade going? Who's goanna win the draft lottery? Is there hockey on? (note - we apparently are continuing our reverse jinx of the Hawks here at ACSS due to the kidnapping of our head hockey writers.)
Mainly, though, it just hasn't been a very exciting postseason. Derrick Rose and the Bulls got bounced in five. The Celtics manhandled the Cavaliers, and are poised to do the same to the Magic, despite tonight's game effort by Orlando, who won 96-92 on the road.
The Lakers had some exciting matchups in their road to the Western Conference Finals, but neither Kevin Durant and the Thunder nor Deron Williams (The Flyin' Illinoisian) and the Jazz looked like much more than a speed bump in Kobe and Co.'s way.
Yawn. For somebody that loves basketball like I do, this is torture.
My friend (and occasional ACSS contributor) Alec Kinczewski and I have been having an exchange on Facebook, where he asked me for my predictions on the Suns-Lakers series. I predicted the Suns winning in six games.
This of course was immediately followed by the Suns getting stomped in Game One, leading to...
Alec Kinczewski So, Suns in 6 games? I'll give you a chance to reconsider. Also, with a close enough score at half Kobe puts down 21 in the third. James scored 28 in all of game 6. Thoughts?
Mark Fodor My primary thought is this : If it's the Lakers in the Finals, I probably won't be watching the finals, despite my love for Lamar Odom and like for Pau Gasol. The rest of the Lakers just annoy me that much. Including Smug Phil. It's just not the same when he's not YOUR Zen Master.
And, two days later...
Alec Kinczewski So, despite Grant Hill playing like the advertising departments for Fila and Sprite were watching ('I'll show them!'), the Suns are in the hole 2-0. Change your prediction?
And, another two days later...
Mark Fodor Suns. Suns. Suns.
My point is this. We finally have ourselves a potentially interesting series in the NBA Playoffs, and I'm coming down hard on the side of the Phoenix Suns. There are a number of reasons that the average pro ball fan should be rooting for the Suns here:
5. Owner Robert Sarver got out the "Los Suns" jerseys as his team took a bold stand against Arizona's anti-immigration laws in the early going of the playoffs. The ability to make a statement without being maudlin or painfully obnoxious about it demonstrates class and intelligence.
4. Steve Nash had his eye blacked by Tim Duncan in Round Two as the Suns finally dispatched their longtime rival Spurs. Then, last night, he finished the game despite a broken nose! He's having surgery on it and will play in Game Four. No doubt inspired by playoff hockey (and Los Hawks!), the Canadian is all toughness and passing ability, even at his advanced age.
3. Amar'e Stoudemire and Lamar Odom have engaged in a mostly one-sided war of words throughout. On the court, both big men are entertaining as hell to watch. Odom, with his well-rounded skill set, is one of my favorites to watch, and he was the stud of my NBA 2k5 dynasty (along with Arenas, Wally Sczcerbiak, Nene, and Marcus Camby). He had 19 and 19 in Game One and another double-double in Game Two.
Amar'e openly attributed Odom's great games to his being "lucky" (if he was that lucky, he would have landed the hot Kardashian sister, no?), and then went out last night and backed up his big talk, notching 43 and 11 in a sick, sick game. He one-upped Kobe Bryant's near triple double and made up for an awful game from most of the Suns' bench.
Also, Amar'e is bringing back the RecSpecs.
2. Robin Lopez. Everyone thought his brother was going to be much better. Well, Brook and the Nets won, what, ten games this year? Eleven? Robin dropped twenty last night, many of them in the face of All-Star Pau Gasol. He's a crazy looking dude and adds extra entertainment factor, for sure. SI.com's Chris Ballard has a nice feature on Lopez today. Here's one highlight from the season, if you've been missing out.
1. Aren't you sick of the Lakers? It's not that I don't admire their style of play. I really do. And Odom, when he's on, is one of my favorite guys to watch in the league.
But Jack Nicholson, Kobe Bryant, the Laker Girls, those awful yellow and purple uniforms... I have had enough. It's time for some real excitement in the NBA finals, not the same ten teams we've been seeing since the seventies. So I say, Viva Los Suns! Time to hit the comeback trail.