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Artest Made Suns Fans Sick in Game 5, Hopefully It's Only a 24-hour Bug

PHOENIX - MAY 05:  Head coach Alvin Gentry of the Phoenix Suns coaches during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center on May 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The team is wearing 'Los Suns' jerseys on Cinco de Mayo in response to an anti-immigration law recently passed in Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Spurs 110-102 to take a 2-0 series lead.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Greg EspositoContributor IIMay 28, 2010

Fried avocado made Alvin Gentry physically ill in the first half. Ron Artest made the entire city of Phoenix sick at the end of the second half of the Lakers' 103-101 victory in Game 5.

While the loss may hurt right now, the bigger picture should make Suns fans optimistic for Games 6 and 7.

Lost in the craziness of an Artest circus shot off a Kobe Bryant air ball, is the fact that the Suns made a ferocious comeback from down 18 to tie the game with three seconds to go.

Lost right now is the perspective that the Suns proved once again that they can compete with the defending NBA champs. Lost is the fact that the Suns get to head home to Phoenix and their home crowd. Lost is the Herculean effort by both Steve Nash and Channing Frye.

Also lost right now is what history has taught us: Anything is possible.

Just look to 1976 Western Conference Finals and the little Phoenix Suns team that almost could. They were taking on the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors who were the heavy favorite. They lost the first game of the series. After the fourth, the series was tied 2-2 with the Suns heading to California for a pivotal Game 5. Sound familiar? Just like 34 years later, the Suns lost that fifth game.

Did it kill the '76 Suns and demoralize them? No. They returned to Phoenix, won at home and shocked the defending champs, winning Game 7 on their home court.

Why can't that happen now? Did the Suns do anything tonight to make you believe that they can't win the next two? They've only lost back-to-back games once since January, Games 1 and 2 of this series, and haven't lost four out of seven games since January.

The Suns have proven that they can compete with the Lakers at home and Thursday's game proves they have the ability to win in Los Angeles.

You can't blame Phoenix fans for feeling crushed though. Their fanhood has been defined by more crushing losses than the stock market in late 2008. Ron "Fried Avocado" Artest's shot ranks up there with Paxson's 1993 three, David Boston's Rose Bowl catch, the Yankees' 9th inning world series home runs and Santonio Holmes Super Bowl winning catch.

With that said, no matter how dismal things may feel for Phoenix fans, it's far from over. Unlike when Paxson hit his three for Phil Jackson, the Suns still have life and hopefully the Zen Master won't get the last laugh this time.

Ron Artest may have made all of us sick Thursday evening, but with any luck, like what happened in 1976, it's only a twenty-four hour bug.

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