The Elephant in the Room
In case some of you are unaware, Phoenix beat San Antonio tonight 107-101. Phoenix jumped out to an early 14-16 point lead but the Spurs fought back and kept the margin around 6 for most of the second half. Tim Duncan didn't play due to his sore ankle. The Sickness didn't play due a host of injuries, including a tightness in the groinal regions. The Spurs were without their two best players. Also, Nazr was unavailable, leaving the Spurs with 9 players suited up. In the interest of full disclosure, the Suns only got 6 minutes out of Q, who suffered a mild concussion in the first quarter. He's their fourth most important player.
So, given the above, and knowing how important the game is to the Suns (which I talked about earlier in the day), one would think the Suns would blow the Spurs out of the water. (Yes, I understand teams have let downs; the Spurs have them all of the time. But the Spurs let downs are almost always against much lesser teams and with much less on the line. For example, the Spurs went into Seattle in the end of January having yet to beat them in two attempts. Everyone knew it was a huge game for the Spurs. Both Ray Allen and Nate McMillan were absent, and the Spurs still beat the crap out of the Sonics. Given the Suns situation, they had no excuse for a let down.)
To be honest, the only evidence of a "let down" for the Suns was the final score. They definitely brought energy all night. They ran when they could and crashed the boards. But here's the thing... Phoenix doesn't play defense. They win by running relentlessly and hitting a bunch of threes. They have 5 extremely athletic players who are really good at doing the above.
But that type of offense doesn't work very well against the Spurs. Because, well, the Spurs do play defense. They get back in transition and they don't allow many three attempts. Phoenix averages 23.9 3P attempts per game. Against the Spurs they average 16.0 (and remember one of those games went into overtime). You think that's a coincidence? Here's a clue. It's not. The Spurs allow 15% fewer three point attempts than the team second in that category. Now, take into account the Spurs have the largest margin of victory. That should lead to more three point attempts. But it doesn't. Why? Because the Spurs make it a point to prevent 3PA. You don't have to be inside the locker room to know this. Just watch how aggressively they run at shooters. Watch how they play the pick and roll. Look at the numbers.
Gregg Popovich is a defensive genius: he understands 3 > 2.
The Spurs were missing their two best players. Amare scored 44 on 22 FGA. PHX shot 52% from the field and 40% from 3. PHX outrebounded the Spurs by 16. The Spurs shot 13.3% from 3. And the Suns won by 6 points. At home. With two more days rest than the Spurs. I'm sorry, but, uhh...
The Suns have absolutely no chance of beating the Spurs in a seven game series.