Last night's San Antonio victory honestly left me with mixed emotions. I picked the Suns to win it all, so naturally I'd like to see them manage better than a 1-win effort. Also, this season seemed like a "last hurrah" in many respects, considering the trade of Shawn Marion, the panic-signing of a washed-up Shaquille O'Neal, and the aging of Steve Nash; add the new reports of Mike D's departure, and it appears as though the Suns we've come to admire will be resigned to the history books alongside the turn-of-the-century Kings and Mavs--talented teams that consistently ran into better opposition. (Notice the irony here: It was, for the most part, Shaq who derailed both Sacramento and Dallas's title hopes; now, he's on the losing end of the spectrum.)
Yes, I was sad to see the Suns fall... but...
IS IT POSSIBLE TO OVEREXAGGERATE JUST HOW INSANE A TONY PARKER vs. CHRIS PAUL MATCHUP IS GOING TO BE??!!??!!
First, there's Parker. While his diminutive teammate was receiving 6th-man honors, and his more prominent pal was draining a helluva "first 3 of the year," Tony Parker not-so-quietly tore apart the Suns, averaging 30 points and 7 assists on 52% shooting during the five game series, including a 41-and-12 gem in Game 3.
Then, there's CP3. Although aided by a surprising dunk-a-beast who's finally showing his upside, a guy whose shots never seem to touch the rim, and a sometimes-forgotten former NPOTY, it's Paul who anchors the New Orleans ship. In five games against the overmatched Mavs, Paul averaged 25 points, 12 assists, and 6 rebounds; in game 2 he posted 32 and 17, and in the series clincher he notched a gawky triple-double, just for effect.
I've witnessed lots of series in which great players squared off: like this one, this one, and this one. (RIP, Shaq.)
But in my eyes, it's wholly unique and exciting to be treated to a series in which two point guards, capable of firing off 30 points and 15 assists on any given night, go toe-to-toe.
Will it be CP3 or TP9?
Will they be partying it up in France, or the French Quarter?
I, for one, can't wait to watch.