Wednesday , Apr , 09 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

The Phoenix Suns Make a Run at Home-Court Advantage in the First Round With a Drubbing of the San Antonio Spurs

The Phoenix Suns Make a Run at Home-Court Advantage in the First Round With a Drubbing of the San Antonio Spurs

First, let me say that I have mixed feelings about the zebras finally calling some fouls on Bruce Bowen.  The refs finally coughed up their whistles while Bruce “scissor hands” Bowen (thanks for that nickname, Phil Jackson) bruised-up Steve Nash.  That’s a good thing.  However, I was somewhat hopeful that Chris Paul would get the same treatment because I’m scared to death of him.

If the refs call the post-season consistently, then the New Orleans Hornets could very well come out of the West, with their MVP point guard leading the way.  Or, perhaps, the refs have just had enough of Bowen’s drop-kicks, knees to the groin and kicks to the heads of players on the floor.  I hope it’s the latter so that Raja Bell and crew and get away with murder if the Suns face the Hornets.

Now, on to the potential playoff match-ups.

Phoenix can win 56 games, if they win out.  They have to play Houston, Golden State and Portland.

The L.A. Lakers still play San Antonio and New Orleans and has 4 games to go.  I bet they go at least 3-1 for 57 wins with a shot at taking #1 from New Orleans.

New Orleans, though, most likely wraps up the West because they’ve got 5 more games, but only 2 against good teams (LA and Dallas).  They should end with at least 58 wins, more likely 59.

San Antonio plays the LA Lakers in Los Angeles and Utah at home with 4 more games.  If they go 3-1, they have 56 wins.

Utah has 4 tough games – Dallas, Denver, SA, and Houston.  They likely go 2-2, maybe 3-1.  That’s 54 or 55 wins.

Houston has 4 games with 3 against Denver, Utah, and Phoenix.  Houston likely goes 2-2 for 55 wins.

If Phoenix wins out, the worst thing that can happen is #5 win home-court against Utah.  There’s a decent chance that if they win out, they have the same record as the Sp*rs, but they have the tiebreaker against the Sp*rs to nab the third seed, which would give them a first-round series against Houston.

Even if I’m wrong with these predictions, there are only so many wins to go around.  Phoenix winning out most likely puts them in the top 4.

Now, personally, I really like a Phoenix-Utah series if Phoenix keeps the home-court advantage.  Utah simply cannot win on the road and Phoenix has the ability to steal a game in Utah.  So long as Amare Stoudemire stays out on Mehmet Okur on defense, the Jazz will have trouble scoring consistently.  Deron Williams’ jumper is not quite what it needs to be to keep his defender honest enough not to slack into the lane.  Without that threat, Boozer will not have a lot of room to operate.

Even better, I’m really looking forward to Phoenix winning the third seed and playing Houston or San Antonio in the first round.  Phoenix matches up very well with both those teams.  More importantly, Shaq continues to beat Tim Duncan (before in L.A. and now in Phoenix).  Go read other commentaries on Shaq’s second half – he was scoring and defending and TD was nowhere to be found.

It is still too early, though, to do much advance scouting.  Despite Bluntman’s doomsday prognostications following The Big Acquisition, the Suns look to have a good first-round match-up on the way.

Finally, after 40 years of needing a big man, the Suns are creating an epic journey to the end.