The Suns face a new crossroads before Game 7 against the Mavs

The Suns face a new crossroads before Game 7 against the Mavs

The sun is at a new crossroads. They are at the dangerous crossroads between survival and contempt.

For almost two full seasons, they were the object of our adoration. I’m a hardcore gang, boastful, stupid, fun-loving, barking in the hallway and dancing through the heat before the game. A team full of lifelong friends and legendary moments.

Lose Game 7 against the Mavericks and what do they become?

Many will be on the air on Sunday night: Chris Paul’s legacy; the validity of Devin Booker’s candidacy for MVP; the merits of the Monty Williams Coach of the Year award; and the recklessness that comes with losing to Luka Doncic in the biggest basketball game of the season.

Anxiety pervades the Valley. We all know the stakes.

For the rest of the NBA, the Suns became the team with the black hats. They flop. It’s playing dirty. I kick you in the face and push you down from behind if the referee doesn’t look. Nowadays, they rise to the level of their “try hard” team reputation, which has filled its record by giving too much of itself to the regular season. In a game that barely resembles postseason basketball.

But for the people of Arizona, this basketball team is special. It’s royalty. It’s a wild mix of great personalities and character. They arrive at the arena as a team of MCU superheroes, showing off their expensive transportation styles and methods. They have a servant leader at the helm, too loyal to blame.

Today’s suns also have a gross anxiety. It’s not always beautiful. Booker quarrels too often. And it is clear that it was not the best idea to make clowns Doncic and the Mavericks in the moments revealed in Game 5.

But for generations of Valley fans who have always been disappointed with those soft, lovely Suns teams who have been so exciting but have never played defensively, Suns 2021-22 are just what we want.

They win Game 7, they win the big noise and the big postponement and a chance to play against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

It gets lost and it gets really complicated.

In their debut season with Paul, the Suns won nine consecutive playoff games. They had a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals. That team stood up, meeting the moment, shining on top.

This year was a noise. The suns were explosive and pedestrian. They shouted 9-0 in their first two home games. They scored 40 points in the fourth quarter of Game 2. They allowed just 34 points in the second half of Game 5.

At times, they were two-way power that was simply too much for the rest of the NBA in the regular season. When basketball is a one-night stand, it’s not a series of adjustments.

This is also true:

Since defeating the Warriors on March 30, they have improved to 62-14 overall, the Suns have been a kind of impostor. It’s 9-9 since that distinct victory. In this series alone, they committed 56 business losses in three road games, allowing 16 thefts in Game 6.

After the first eight games of the playoffs, Paul was the NBA postseason MVP. Now it feels like another episode of a post-season curse. It seems too coincidental for him to lose his strength on his 37th birthday. However, Paul has not been the same since then. And you hope there’s something wrong, something that can be healed quickly. Hopefully this isn’t the age to finally catch up with a 37-year-old man trying to play NBA with a vegan diet.

One of the most alarming scenes on Thursday night came after the game, when Paul seemed grateful everywhere for the extra day off. Because you have two days off before a Sunday night meeting. Something is clearly wrong. Something weighs on him.

We all feel comfortable in the game we think we’ll see: a burst of energy in the second half from a Suns team, as they will be focused on the razors and fueled by one of the best home field advantages in the NBA. . Because role-playing games always play better at home. Because a 64-win team that barked so hard during the regular season simply can’t afford to lose a Game 7 to the Mavericks.

Otherwise, the love story will receive a serious blow.

Contact Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com Listen to Bickley & Marotta on weekdays from 6:00 to 10:00 on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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