… you can hear the whining in Phoenix from wherever you are. The Suns need someone to pull a Don Corleone, slap them and tell them to collectively “act like a man.” The way they’re reacting, you’d think that Robert Horry shanked Steve Nash in the tunnel after the game.
Call me old school, but I’m not a big believer in suspensions. A game at most for Robert Horry, who delivered what might be the most clutch play of the series so far. Not only did he floor Nash and shake him up (he missed two free throws), he got Diaw and Stoudamire suspended without even throwing a punch. Plus, he stole any momentum the Suns were going to take home to Phoenix. Talk about a master of the “dark arts” of NBA head games. 15 years ago, I don’t even know if he gets a technical foul but in the hyper-sensitive, demasculinated NBA, he’s Public Enemy #1. I’m not some macho, Cobra Kai disciple of John Kreese but you’ve got to allow these guys to: a) show some emotion and b) police themselves to a certain degree. In pick-up games, there are no suspensions, guys call their own fouls and things rarely escalate to the fight level. While the stakes are significantly higher here, with refs and coaches it would work itself out.
There are 3 main things the Suns got/continue to get wrong:
1. If you’re going to leave the bench, do something:
When I asked my wife about it, she accused Stoudamire and Diaw of “frontin’,” as she so eloquently put it. By leaving the bench, doing nothing and then being restrained by their coaches they wasted a suspension. Use your fouls, fellas. This is made even funnier by the fact that my wife is as white as can be. I think she can literally trace her ancestory back to before the Mayflower. But she was right on.
2. Steve Nash was left to defend himself
I imagine him getting back to the locker room and asking his teammates “where were you on that one?” He’s gotta feel like Bluto from Animal House right now. When your 6’1″ point guard gets cheap-shotted by a power forward and nobody does anything, that’s not a good thing. Especially since two teammates got suspended anyway.
3. They should WANT Horry to play
Instead of lobbying for a jail sentence, they should beg the NBA to get Horry on the court ASAP. Not only would that show the mental toughness any Sun not named Steve Nash needs to demonstrate, it would also also them to shake the physically “soft” label that will plague them until they show otherwise.
If the Suns come out fired up, blow away the Spurs and win the series, they will have taken a huge step in becoming NBA Champions. But, they haven’t shown anything that tells me that they will.