Phoenix Suns Play Might Burn Them


I'm a little worried.

The Phoenix Suns have the best shot at winning it all since the 1992-1993 season.

They have the best team chemistry, the most explosive offensive capability, the (knock on wood) healthiest team they've had in 13 years.

As a representative of Suns Nation, I've been giddy about their chances ever since Stoudemire returned, better than ever -- the missing piece from last season's disappointing Western Conference runner-up finish.

They followed the Mavericks to become the second team to clinch a playoff spot and, with a win Tuesday night against the Timberwolves, captured the Pacific Division title for the third consecutive season.

The only problem is that the Suns look beatable lately. The killer instinct that was gripping each player for the past four months seems to have mellowed to a polite drone.

I'm really worried.

Teams seem to have figured out their high-octane offense and are doing a better job of shutting them down.

Their inside game is severely lacking of late, causing them to rely too heavily on the three-point shot. When it's not there, they flail.

Detroit held the Suns to an uncharacteristically low 83 points last week, in a game the Pistons simply wanted more.

The Suns made only two three-pointers in the game -- a season low -- and failed to adjust their play to compensate for the poor outside shooting.

The next day, Denver embarrassed the Suns, leading by as many as 40 points and finishing off with a 24-point victory.

Iverson and Anthony played Suns' ball -- fast paced, scoring often, too quick to guard -- and beat the Suns almost by themselves.

Some might say I'm overreacting a bit. The Suns do have the second best record in the league at 51-16 and are on pace to have one of the best seasons in team history.

They eclipsed team winning streak records, twice by the All-Star break, and lead the NBA in scoring for the third season in a row.

Still, I'm not convinced.

I know the Western Conference is tough.

I know how bad the Mavericks want it after losing in the finals last year to the Miami Heat.

What happens next depends on how clutch the Spurs are in the playoffs and how desperate the Rockets, Jazz and Lakers are to have a shot at the East's finest.

The Suns simply have to want it more than everyone else in order to win a championship, this year especially. Teams are gunning for them and their two-time MVP Steve Nash.

So they have to try harder, fight every second and play with more heart.

Up until the last 10 games, they did a pretty convincing job of that.

Tuesday's game against the Timberwolves was a flashback to the devouring style of play to which Suns Nation have become accustomed. It's a positive sign.

Unless they've decided to take their eye off the prize, I hope they'll revert back to that team again. And until they do, I'll remain worried.

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