Planet Orange was smiling after the Suns pulled off a nine-point victory Tuesday night in Phoenix. Some Phoenix fans were left broken-hearted after Thursday night's loss in Los Angeles. Either way, tonight's game is the first must-win these Suns have faced in this post-season.
After a thrilling game that saw its fair share of late heroics, Alvin Gentry and his team are faced with the prospect of elimination. Tonight, Suns fans, is the night that you will either celebrate one more win or agonize over what could have been.
Hopefully, even in a loss, you won't think about what could have been this year.
As opposed to those series in the past when Suns fans could have complained about injuries, suspensions, mysterious three-pointers, or any other cosmic forces depriving them of what they felt was rightfully theirs for the taking; this year, in this series, if the Suns lose, it will be because the Lakers won. That's right.
Read it again if you need to.
If we lose this series, it will be because the Lakers won. Does it feel awkward to think of someone other than the San Antonio Spurs eliminating us? Of course it does, especially those Lakers. But this year we'll be left with no excuses other than basketball.
I hope the Suns will win tonight, but if they don't I'd like to thank the Suns for a great season. I'd like to thank Grant Hill for his dedication to our team, coach Gentry for his calm, collected leadership, our bench for their inspired play throughout the season, and Richardson, Stoudemire, and Nash for giving us reason to believe. Sometimes that's all we have.
If we lose tonight, or go on to lose in seven, I'll consider this season a success and support our NBA Western Conference, Pacific Division rivals, and allies against Boston and I hope you will, too. That may be a little too much to ask, I know, but I'd always rather lose to the champions than anyone else.