Tuesday , Apr , 29 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Feel That Pain in Your Back? That Tingling in Your Left Arm? It’s the Phoenix Suns Relying on Boris Diaw to Win Game 5 Against the Sp*rs

Feel That Pain in Your Back?  That Tingling in Your Left Arm?  It's the Phoenix Suns Relying on Boris Diaw to Win Game 5 Against the Sp*rsEvery time Boris posted up a Sp*r in the paint, my left arm tingled.  I knew it could not last.  It was too good to be true.  It was the Boris of the 2006 playoffs – the one that netted him that huge contract and all those croissants.  It was the Boris that Phoenix Suns were looking for all season long.  But could it last?

I haven’t read any article or looked at the stats, so this is my post-game rambling and frustration.  If I miss anything, hire George Karl’s lawyer and sue me.  Boris must have played close to the entire game.  He hasn’t put in 48 good minutes over the last two years.  How could we expect 80 good minutes in three days?

The Suns committed 4 turnovers in the last 3 minutes.  Diaw’s was the most costly.

The first was a Robert Horry “steal.”  For those of you with your eyes closed, Tony Parker grabbed Steve Nash’s arm and pulled Nash back, allowing Horry to get the steal.  Horry has not made a lateral defensive move since last year’s hip-check and the refs couldn’t figure this one out?

The next was a Steve Nash pass to Amare Stoudemire’s feet.

With Nash failing, the Suns went to Diaw on the block.  The same Diaw, on the same left block, that could not convert late in Game 1.  Diaw saw the double-team coming and panicked.  I guess I can’t blame him:


No, not that double-team.  Kurt Thomas came over.  You know, with Boris getting molested like this, you wouldn’t think that he’d mind Manu Ginobili and Kurt Thomas.  Anyway, he decided to throw the ball over to Greg Popovich.

That was the one that hurt.  Phoenix was down by one and San Antonio converted on the other end.

With about 27 seconds left and down by three, Raja Bell was in-bounding the ball.  Boris was open at the three-point stripe.  Perhaps fearing a replay of the pass to Popovich, Raja waited until Steve Nash came closer, being hounded by Bruce Bowen.  Bowen slapped the ball away and out of bounds.  Somehow, for some reason, the official decided that it went of Steve Nash.  Watch the replay, it wasn’t even close.

However, I blame Boris.  If Raja had any faith left in Boris, it would have been thrown into Boris.  Even if had had no faith in Boris, he probably should’ve passed to Boris (who had just scored on a post-up over Ginobili).

More whining on the refs:

They called it about as “even” as they called it last year.  Except this year, the Suns whined about it less and dished it out better.  This has led some Sp*rs fans to actually complain about the officiating (and I quote, “The league doesn’t want sweeps, especially over ‘golden boy’ teams,” with a recap of Game 4 by a Sp*rs fan).  Yeah, the league loves the Suns so much that Dave Stern and Stu Jackson have started to “interpret” some of the “bright line” rules (note the Sp*rs fan’s comment lamenting that the league said “screw you” to Suns’ fans).  Enough of that here, though, I’ll complain about that more in the weeks to come.

There were phantom calls each way.  Amare Stoudemire took a “charge” from Tim Duncan in the first period, even though his foot was clearly in the restricted area and the baseline official was right there.  I kind of figured that a call going STAT’s way was a sure sign of Armageddon for San Antonio.  Alas, I was wrong once again.

I’m also going to defend Ginobili.  Sometimes, he just makes such an athletic, twisting move that the refs must think that the only way he got into that position was via a foul.  However, in slo-mo, it’s pretty apparent the guy has amazing body control on the drive.  The old dudes who need Lasik Surgery just figure that he must have been fouled.  I’m actually okay with some of the “and 1” calls just to give him style points.

After defending Ginobili, I need to complain a little more.  How does tripping over your own feet count as a foul on the other team (Tim Duncan getting a call on Shaq and Manu getting a call on Stoudemire)?

Sadly, though, the blame for this loss does not fall on the officials.  It does not fall on Boris Diaw.  It falls on Steve Nash.  He hit about 25% of his shots.  For the last several years, he’s been hitting pretty damn close to 50%.  If he hits a few more shots and/or does not pass to Stoudemire’s feet, the Suns may have won.

Blow up the team?  Fire the coach?  No, there are a lot of reasons why that cannot happen, and some of them are good reason.  More about that later.  Let’s complain about the inconsistency in the “leaving the bench” rule.  Last year was the Suns’ best chance since Barkley’s first year (or that 3-1 lead over Houston).  For that, Suns fans will keep grasping at straws for the next two years, while Nash, Shaquille O’Neal and Mike D’Antoni are still under contract.

San Antonio still sucks.  The league seems to have changed the “leaving the bench” rule (albeit, unofficially) and there is now clamoring to change the Hack-a-Shaq rule because Jacque Vaughn just earned his salary by tugging on Shaq for five games (of course, if the “Most Dominant Ever” could 2 of 3 free throws, it wouldn’t have been a viable tactic).


The image “http://www.hoopsvibe.com/assets/uploads/2008/04/file_48393_2_1SASUXLogo-4.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

[top image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/blitheimages/]
[Boris Diaw image: thedirty.com]