Down two games to none, the Phoenix Suns have one foot out the door, and into another disapointing off-season
If you like the Suns, well who are we kidding?, you like subjecting yourself to torture. Okay, so the Seattle Sonics who came into the league the same time as Phoenix are on the verge of moving to Oklahoma City. But, sans the horror of losing the Suns to another city, Phoenix has subjected it’s fans to crushing, devastating blows, that are making me think, they’re the Chicago Cubs of the National Basketball Association.
Let’s take a look at the checklist.
Agonizing playoff defeat: Where do we begin? With last year’s post-season and the suspensions of Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudemire? How about two years ago, when up 20 in the first half of game six against Dallas in the Conference Finals, the Suns blew it, and lost. How about game one against the Spurs this year? Double overtime, huge blown leads numerous times.
Horrible luck: the Cubs have the billy goat and Steve Bartman and 100 years of futility. The Suns have Tim Donaughey, Tim Duncan, and injury luck that could make one cringe. Let’s look, shall we? In the past few years alone, the Suns have lost Steve Nash to a gashed nose, Joe Johnson to an orbital eye injury, Raja Bell got hurt, and this year Grant Hill (who’s been healthy almost all year) comes up gimpy and is completely ineffective.
Inability to hold a lead: The Cubs have that epic eighth inning collapse against the Marlins in the 2003 NLCS, and countless other nightmares. The Suns blow huge leads on a nightly basis. They play with the heart and fire of a champion, garner up a huge early lead, and then just get all fat and happy, and wilt up in the second half. This is an all too familiar sight. In game one the Suns led by 16 in regulation, 5 in the first overtime, and still managed to blow it. Something about Phoenix, feels… cursed?
And so, 41 years, nine away from 50, and 50 away from 100, the Phoenix Suns play on. They better not take 59 years to win a championship, because I would be like… well, really old. Anyhow, Phoenix seems to choke, fall, and get hurt at the most inopportune times. Every year they pick themselves up, and make another run at it. But isn’t it funny, in a disturbing kind of way, that the Suns traded Kurt Thomas in the offseason (handed Seattle a 2008 and 2010 first rounder too) and then he ends up in San Antonio’s lap just when the Spurs need him to guard Shaq?
Shaq and Amare were fantastic… to start the game at least. They helped the Suns race out to a commanding 14 point lead. And they blew it… again. An all too familiar sight. I’m on the verge of forgoing watching Suns games in the first half. It’s so deceiving. They’re the only team in sports, that gets a humongous lead… only to watch it trickle away.
Their defense is soft, but they have flashes that make one wonder if it could ever be good. But then they somehow manage to play even softer then one thought possible, and it just destroys the psyche of the Suns faithful.
Planet Orange is down right now. Halfway to another crushing post-season departure to the hands of the Spurs. I love Charles Barkley, but just once, I’d like him to eat his words for the Suns. But every year he says it ain’t happening, and it’s year 41, and guess what, it ain’t happening again.
The toughest thing? With such heartbreak, comes the inability to love a franchise that has delivered a lot of great things. Like 16 playoff trips in the last 18 years. Like two finals appearances, one an unlikely trip against the Celtics in 1976. They’ve been to the Conference Finals eight times. They’ve seen some great players walk through that door.
But my lasting memory, as a Suns fan of more then 10 years, the title that’s never arrived. The ring that they’ve never achieved. And unless their fortunes change, Phoenix is looking at 0-41.
Yeesh. I hate being right, so please Phoenix, prove me wrong.
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