Spurs vs. Suns Predictions
Michael A. De Leon
The Spurs will have to play championship-caliber basketball to get by a legit championship contender in the Suns. It's going to take the big three all being on and the Spurs perimeter shooters have to be ablle to hit open long-range jumpers to have some success againsta much different Suns team than we saw in last year's playoffs. With a series this close, it could go either way, but I'm going to use the homer card and say Spurs in 7.
Here we go again. For the third time in four years, the Spurs and Suns will face off. The Spurs pretty much have made the Suns thier bitch in the playoffs, the Suns will have something to counter the Spurs this year...Shaq. Though a controversial trade when made, it had paid off recently for the Suns. With Shaq, the Suns are 2-0 against the Spurs, including a recent ass-kicking in San Antonio, and Amare is just a beast with Shaq in the middle. For years, the Spurs bullied the Suns in the paint and the Suns can now play half-court and push back the Spurs.
For the Spurs, they got the experience, the home court advantage, and the mental edge against the Suns. They also can hold the Suns running game to somewhat of a crawl, and can also close out on the Suns three-point shooters. However the Spurs have been struggling on the offensive end, lost the season series to the Suns 1-3, and Duncan has had a hard time playing against Shaq throughout his career. Also, the Spurs are banged up. Horry, Barry, and Manu have been suffering from various injuires.
For the Suns, they won the series against the Spurs 3-1, stomped on them in their last matchup against the Spurs, and more importantly, they got Shaq. Last year time they faced the Spurs, fireworks occurred and we saw suspencions for both teams in an epic playoff matchup. This year, the Suns are ready mentally since they got confidence going for them and this might be the year the Suns break through. They also got an injury to Grant Hill, who might miss the first few games against the Spurs. In the end, the Suns will finally get the Spurs monkey off their back and win this series 4-2.
The way I see it, Phoenix can't defend the Spurs' best players. Between Duncan and Bowen, the Spurs can at least slow down Stoudemire and Nash, which leads to an unfortunate fate for the Suns. Spurs take the series in five games.
With much turmoil this year in Phoenix, I don't think they're going to pull it off. They may have turned on at the end of the season, while San Antonio didn't fare so well down the stretch, but rare is the coach better than Popoivch at gearing for the playoffs. The Suns never went more than 8 deep against the Spurs until the last game, when they used a ninth man. The Spurs preferred to use as much of their roster as possible. This will all change now, and Pop will place his best 5 on the floor for longer stretches. Giving the big producers more minutes will give San Antonio an edge over the course of the series. Also, teams rarely gel so well in a year to win a championship, and the Suns haven't had a year. Marion was a disruptive force, and they will miss him. Shaq may help Phoenix in the half court game, and will probably gather them an extra win, but they still aren't a half court team, and San Antonio will be at their finest in this series, as the battle from last year will surely carry over. Spurs in 6, with a warning that more haters from Phoenix will come out of the woodwork for the next few months. Horry, Bowen, watch your backs.
Spurs 4-1 in a toughly fought series