The Western Conference semifinals are about to begin for both the Spurs and the Suns, in a series that has been played for 3 consecutive seasons, with the victory always coming for San Antonio. The previous 2 seasons, Phoenix had a 2-game home court advantage, but they were swept; and this current playoffs, they also have such edge over the Spurs, the question is, would they be able to turn things in their favor this time around?
The first game of seven between the third-seeded Suns against the seventh-seeded Spurs will come on Monday night, and what is mostly interesting about this re-match is that these are certainly not the same teams of the past, with players like Bruce Bowen and Robert Horry not present in San Antonio, and new ones such as Richard Jefferson and George Hill taking on important rolls, and the Suns counting with an outstanding bench that includes players such as Jason Richardson, who ended up averaging 23 points and shooting for a 51% from the three-point range against the Blazers in round one.
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On the downside for Phoenix is the Robin Lopez situation, as this is a player that, when he was fully healthy, used to take on Tim Duncan and was able to defend against the Spurs superstar in a 1-on-1 type of rivalry, but the 7-foot , 2nd year professional who comes from Stanford is still affected with a recurring back injury that has prevented him from performing at his best, though it is quite possible that he might see some minutes on game one.
These Spurs will be able to beat the Suns if they manage to get Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker to play at their best, as it is clear that Ginobili is the one that takes the lead, followed by Duncan, and concerning Parker, he will always perform well when those other two players are also “in the zone”.
And, when Jason Richardson plays seventeen-point games, the Suns’ game really step up, which means that Phoenix’s coach Alvin gentry will try to get him as many minutes as possible during the second round of the postseason.
Now, a player that can be essential for the Suns is certainly Steve Nash, the 36 year old veteran that knows how to push the team’s offense and also knows very well how to set up the tempo, so, if Nash and the rest of the Suns put an extra effort, they might as well obtain their first recent postseason victory against the Spurs.
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