Game two of this seven-game series started out just as game one did. Phoenix took control early, building a double-digit lead and clicking on all cylinders.
You still had the feeling that San Antonio would come back and eventually take control of the game. It was just a matter of time.
What has to be recognized is that this is a bad matchup for the Suns. What Phoenix lacks, San Antonio excels in.
Even without foul trouble, Phoenix was unable to effectively defend the paint against Parker and Ginobili.
Parker abused them for 32 points, and Ginobili took turns shooting threes and driving to the basket.
When it mattered most, the Spurs turned up the heat defensively and completely shut down Steve Nash and company in a way that seemed to stun the whole team.
The Suns are not built to do that. They are built to outscore their opponents and play average to below average defense.
If they can’t score consistently, they will not beat a good team like the Spurs. They don’t have the capability to turn it up a notch on defense.
When San Antonio needed a lift from someone other than Tim Duncan, Parker, or Ginobili, they got it from Steve Finley. His eight points at the beginning of the third quarter set the tone for the rest of the game.
Amare Stoudemire went cold in the third period and couldn’t hit anything. Nash was smothered by Bruce Bowen as the Suns committed one turnover after another.
No one else stepped up for Phoenix. They needed a spark but were unable to get one from Barbosa, Diaw, or Grant Hill, who is hurt and will not be a factor in this series.
If Stoudemire and Nash can't score, you get the feeling that no one else will be able to.
Shaquille O’Neal is a liability playing the pick-and-roll, and San Antonio will exploit that. The Spurs have had their lapses, but they do a much better job than the Suns.
When the Suns had control of the game, they couldn’t put the Spurs away. When San Antonio got control of the game, their defense kept Phoenix from overtaking them.
Few want to admit that this is a bad matchup for Phoenix, but that is the case.
They had better find some answers for Ginobili and company quickly, or they can book their tee times for early next week.
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