Drain the Dancing Porpoise
Before I get on to writing the business at hand, a few words on the Suns. Actually, first some words on this part of the season. I don't see how we can put much stock in anything happening to the marquee teams at this very moment. If they roll, it's because they can't help it; if they falter, it's out of rest, boredom, or anxiety. Especially after what Nash said a few weeks ago, which inevitably colored the way I watched Suns/Spurs. Put simply, I'm not buying that this was a definitive pounce by San Antonio; in fact, I don't even think a Laker loss tomorrow can predict anything about what Kobe might do in the postseason.
Yet despite all Thursday's mishap, the Suns nearly emerged with the victory. While I go on record every day of my life as abhorring the "basketball only matters in the [second half of the season, second half of the game, playoffs]" postulate, the Suns seem to actively embody this. Once I believed it to be something along the lines of "they aren't playing the same game, watching the same narrative arc, looking for the same symbolic cues as other teams." Now, it seems far more snide than that. If the Suns can't blow a team out of the water from the outset, they sulk and wobble until the opponent thinks the game in hand. And then, they pounce. Not because they haven't been able to until then, but because for the Suns, the runs come when they come. No reason to force them, or deign to press their arrival.
In some ways, this makes them the ultimate playoff threat. That or spoiled malcontents who don't know how to respond to context or stimuli. Nothing about the Suns in close games is cold-blooded—they're plain inhuman. And that's exactly why I wonder if it's not impossible to gauge their chances against anyone, or the likelihood of their ultimate demise. If most other teams play through the ebb and flow of runs, when the chips are down Phoenix counts on their god-given ability to get lucky.