Brief for a reason
-I hope everyone's enjoying the playoffs. I watch what I can, but can't say I regret it. Luckily, I had the tv on when Amare hit Duncan with arguably the greatest block in NBA history (no Walton). Let's remember that, at best, the Suns were supposed to squeak into the post-season this year, not win sixty games and make the conference Finals. Seen in that light, the Block is all you could hope for--a fittingly dynamic cap on the upstart season that the gods crafted in their own two hands. The Spurs are headed to the Finals, but not without the Suns putting them on notice that the future is theirs. In their own house, where they're next to unbeatable, with the best power forward ever going up for a statement dunk that should have been effortless. . . Duncan, meet your new arch-rival. Easily the most technically impressive block I've ever seen, clinching a win that, while it means nothing now, will for years to come echo as the day the world really changed. The regular season accomplishments of the Suns may be easy to malign, but last night was a taste of what you can expect from them as this team actually matures together.
-If someone has a quality photo of the Block itself (the flash that bathed the play in light during the telecast was downright otherworldly), let me know. I've looked through most of the official photos and, while I learned that Amare's stills are more exciting than most people highlight reels, that one pivotal moment was nowhere to be found.
-Not that I want to make excuses, or spoil the split second revelation detailed above, but you can't tell me that Joe Johnson wouldn't have made an enormous difference (the difference?) in this series. Quoth the Recluse: "he's the only person on the Suns who actually looks and seems like a real basketball players, not some freak of nature."
-Enough already with the "Spurs can score and run" line, which, as I've said before, I find smug and a tad bit misleading. This story in the new ESPN mag captures yet another disturbing trend: "the Spurs are fun and have style." Sure, as with the offense thing, myself and others may have woefully underestimated this team's humanity. But, just as I'd rather watch the Suns' offense any day of the week, you can't for a second convince me that the Spurs are a cooler, more appealing collection of people than Phoenix.
-The Suns may be on the way out, but I don't think that discounts the fact that they single-handedly brought together the competitive, stylish, and silly parts of the Association for the duration of an entire regular season and playoffs. Considering the way things have been going, that's no small feat. For that alone, at the moment Amare is my favorite of the new breed.
-That and he said that Johnson had "the heart of a champion" in his post-game interview. And he sweats more than anyone but Shaq, and with him it's pure, molten heart leaking out his pores. Not the byproducts of exertion.
-I said this last week and no one responded; now, ESPN themselves have decided I'm right. Larry Brown to Cleveland's front office would be a tremendous mistake. He is the worst executive in modern NBA history not named Layden. He will strip that team bare and remake it in his own, rudimentary image. All someone will have to offer LeBron is the chance to breathe and play with some remotely fun, talented teammates, and that city can kiss its favorite son goodbye once his rookie contract is up.
-Suck on Wade all you want, I'd rather watch Kobe with Shaq.
-I hope that Miami or San Antonio enjoys their parade. I'll be in the lab preparing for FreeDarko's truly momentous draft coverage: our real element, and, along with some appropriately goofy FA decisions, where the real heart of my NBA lays for the next few months.