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24 May 2005

Mike D'Antoni is an Excellent Driver

Allow me to set up the situation. Shawn Marion makes a shot to bring the Suns within 3 with 32.3 seconds left. The Spurs have scored on 57 consecutive fourth quarter possessions going back to game 1. You're Mike D'Antoni. You're Kobe Bryant's idol. You're Coach of the Year. You're the "mastermind" behind the vaunted PHX offense. What do you do?

Don't look at me! I'm just a simple unfrozen caveman NBA blogger. You're fancy Xs and Os frighten me. But here's what I wouldn't do; this much is obvious:

You CERTAINLY don't foul the Spurs in that situation. You don't even think about fouling the Spurs. Because, as everyone knows, the Spurs are the best free throw shooting team in the league. Duncan, Bowen and especially Parker are well above average free throw shooters for their positions. Through out the playoffs the Spurs have shown that when a game is on the line they will knock down their FTs. They've never, EVER lost a playoff game solely due to FT shooting.

You also have to consider that the Suns can get that crucial stop whenever they need it. That's how the Suns win. Locking people down. They have all sorts of answers for The Sickness, Parker and Duncan. Steve Nash stayed in front of Parker all night. Q was giving Manu absolute fits out there. And Duncan just looked confused the whole second half. The Spurs were struggling just to get open looks.

Also, let's look back to game 1. The Suns were in a similar situation late in the fourth. They didn't foul, got consecutive stops down the stretch and ended up winning a close game. I'm no NBA coach, but even I know to go with what works.

Think about it, people. The Suns were only down 3 points. The Spurs are a horrible at defending the 3. They allow wide open 3s all the time. That's their achilles heel. The Suns have numerous guys that have proven they can hit the big three against the Spurs. Marion has been unstoppable. Q definitely wants the ball in his hand with the game on the line. These guys are money.

Also, PHX is a great defensive rebounding team. They rarely give up offensive rebounds; not to mention that the Spurs are a horrible offensive rebounding team. So when PHX makes that inevitable stop they will definitely grab the rebound. Write it down people.

Mike D'Antoni: your NBA Coach of the Year.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.