Monday, May 30, 2005

NBA: Why the Suns live on

Completing a hat-trick of sports posts for the day, I'm happy to note that the crowd-pleasing Phoenix Suns are still in business, having staved off the San Antonio Spurs in an elimination game (ESPN). While the Suns showed signs of an improved defense that double-teamed more aggressively, and came up with a game-winning shot block, the real story was the number of free throws that San Antonio missed. Phoenix had better hope for more of the same, or pull up their socks rebounding-wise, if they want to win Game 5. Because their offense has little room for improvement after shooting 57%.

BTW, one aspect of the Suns game that has been mostly ignored (with the exception of one ESPN article that I can't find any more) is the fact that they are a very non-traditional fast-break team that relies more on open 3-pointers in transition than on lay-ups. That explains why they're still able to fast-break so much despite modern defenses that quickly drop an extra man back to guard the lane (instead of letting him hit the offensive glass like they used to in the '80s). The extra man can stop lay-ups in transition, but can't really guard all the space around the 3-point line. Other Phoenix Suns wannabes, take note. You need 4 good 3-point shooters to make it work.

Finally, Paul "the funniest man in the NBA" Shirley of the Phoenix Suns, continues to post on his playoff blog. Some of his earlier playoff and regular-season posts have made me wish we could simply interview him during the press conferences instead of all those boring players and coaches.

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