Phoenix versus San Antonio: The Preview

At the start of the playoffs I predicted Dallas would meet the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.

Fuck, who knew the Lakers would have a hard time versus the Oklahoma City Thunder… and who the fuck knew that the Mavericks would have their asses kicked by the Spurs.

Now the Suns and the Spurs go at it! I can’t place a bet because I’m afraid to make a mistake.

First of all, please tell Caron Butler to change his jersey. I mean, back when Dallas was struggling after the demise of the Rolando Blackman / Derek Harper era, one man helped soften the blow as the Mavs struggled during the late 90’s… and that’s Mike Finley. Dirk Nowitzki, Finley, and Steve Nash were the best big three the team has ever produced. Number 4 should be retired to his favor. Butler likes single-digit numbers! Give him 5 or 6 or whatever’s left in the list!

For a team with a big bench, the Mavs only got 18 points from them. Rodrique Beaubois had 16 while Terry had 2. Jason Terry scoring only two points is a huge deal. Jason Kidd having three points sucks as well. To be fair, the Spurs only had 18 points as well but at least their starters played better than Dallas’ starters.

As if on cue, all the back aches, the sore shoulders, the hernia discs, the flu-like symptoms, and the various injuries that plagued Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and company are gone. This is where the real season starts and they understood this by making a mockery on the league’s most souped up team. Rick Carlisle, a good coach as perceived by many, was outcoached by Gregg Popovich. Popovich has victimized a lot of Hall of Fame coaches and in this series, Carlisle was no exception. With the help of his version of the Big Three, a core that has been with him since 2002, Popovich was able to sow the seeds of the Mavs’ end. While the team is without Finley, Bruce Bowen, Francisco Elson, Fabricio Oberto, and Brent Barry, key additions like Antonio McDyess and Richard Jefferson were the answers they were looking for. And you have to proclaim love for George Hill, the young upstart who’s getting the breaks when the defense attacks the Big Three’s offense.

The reality of the loss is basically Dallas getting owned by an older and less talented squad. The Spurs are less-talented in the sense that the Spurs can’t do much if they extend their seven or eight man rotation. When Dallas brought in Butler, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson to their fold, the Spurs had to let go of a disgruntled Finley. Dallas is knee-deep in their rotation and it should suck for them that their much-storied backcourt that’s not Rodrique Beaubois failed to deliver.

The Boxscores:

SAN ANTONIO 97 – Ginobili 26, Hill 21, Duncan 17, Parker 10, McDyess 8, Jefferson 7, Blair 4, Bonner 4, Bogans 0, Mahinmi 0.

DALLAS 87 – Nowitzki 33, Butler 25, Beaubois 16, Marion 6, Kidd 3, Terry 2, Haywood 2, Dampier 0, Barea 0, Najera 0.

Meanwhile Phoenix will be San Antonio’s next opponent after the Suns decked the Portland Trail Blazers to the tune of 99 to 90. Jason Richardson played like a madman and scored 28 points to relieve the pain caused by Steve Nash’s inability to create for the Suns. Nash had six assists to go with his ten points and seven turnovers and Nash certainly looked out of his element when they played Portland.

Portland battled to stay in the race even if their starters played questionable with Jerryd Bayless, Martell Webster, and Rudy Fernandez taking charge. Brandon Roy could only pop up 14 points of 4-of-16 shooting and their run was cut short when the fourth quarter beckoned. It looks as if the Blazers need to get something from Greg Oden next season because the big boy plays could have been helpful in their series.

I want to say that Phoenix will hurl San Antonio but the fact is, this is the Spurs’ bread-and-butter. Most Western Conference squads become their chew toys when this moment arrives. But looking at it, the matchups seem blurry. Tim Duncan will pit himself to Amar’e Stoudemire, Manu Ginobili will take on Jason Richardson, while Tony Parker needs to address his issue with Steve Nash regarding who is the best guard of the West.

Sidebars? The Richard Jefferson versus Grant Hill matchup could stun people. Hill can still go while Jefferson can break out when he needs to. Channing Frye will eat McDyess if McDyess’ veteran wiliness fails to express terror on the former Arizona star.

The Boxscores:

PHOENIX 99 – Richardson 28, Stoudemire 22, Dudley 12, Nash 10, Dragic 10, Barbosa 5, Amundson 4, Hill 3, Frye 3, Collins 2, Clark 0.

PORTLAND 90 – Webster 19, Aldridge 16, Fernandez 16, Roy 14, Bayless 12, Miller 4, Camby 4, Batum 3, Cunningham 2, Howard 0.

This Suns versus Spurs series should be one hell of a series!

Not as good as the Boston-Cleveland series though.

But still watchable.

Game over.


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