Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Tonight's do-or-die for Phoenix, plain and simple. Going down 3 games to 1 to a team such as Dallas? Well, might as well tuck yer' head between yer' legs can kiss the season g'bye!
If the Suns are to pull off a critical "W" then several factors MUST click into place.

Phoenix's 5 Keys to Winning Game 4!

1. As Steve Nash goes... so too go the Suns. After their 4 day hiatus, Nash looked rested, spry and quick. Game 3, though, was an entirely different matter, and we were again watching a heavy-legged and sluggish 2-time MVP. Marion, Diaw, Barbosa, Bell (out with the calf injury), Thomas... they all orbit around their leader, Steve Nash, and if that dude can come out with guns a'blazin', hitting his shots and sticking to Jason Terry's hip, then the Mavericks will have their collective hands full.

2. The officiating was bad, especially Steve Jaffe's missed call on Nowitzki's waning minutes missed shot, but ain't no way that contest was decided by 1 bad call. It seemed as if the team lost focus last game due to the iffy calls. Nash and Co. just can't give Dallas a mental edge to go along with their physical advantage.

3. The Suns lack of hustle was downright alarming, and that MUST change if the series is to go past Game 5. Constantly expecting one another to come up with the loose ball and Rebound, the Suns were left standing around looking slack-jawed and silly as the Mavericks notched 2nd and 3rd chance basket after basket. It seemed as if EVERY loose ball ended up in a Mav's eager hands. The Suns must jack-up their level of intensity and stop looking to one another to make the play.

4. "The Giant German" will get his points and 'boards, the Suns simply lack the big, nimble athlete needed to cover him. That being said, Phoenix... and more specifically Shawn "The Matrix" Marion, cannot allow Small Forward Josh Howard to run rough-shod. And when, exactly, did Center Desagna Diop become such a clutch player?
Bottom line? Much smaller than Dallas, Phoenix must box-out Diop and Howard if they're to keep the rebounding ratio below 2 to 1.

5. The Suns MUST sink their easy put-backs and lay-ups. How many "gimme" baskets have the Suns missed over the last 2 games? Further, the team desperately misses Raja Bell's speed and clutch shooting, and they are forced to start key backup, Leandro Barbosa. The fastest player in the league, Barbosa MUST slash to the hole and sink his under-the-hoop buckets. The 15-foot Jumper is NOT Leandro's game and Phoenix MUST capitalize upon his most deadly weapon; speed.

In a nutshell, the Mavericks have done a great job in putting the brakes on Phoenix's explosive style. If coach Mike D'Antoni's boys are to snatch a win, they MUST run and they must gun!