How the Phoenix Suns Created a Monster

Congratulations, Suns!

You killed the elephant in the room. The gorilla on your back. The skeleton in your closet.

Whatever it was, you finally vanquished your arch nemesis, the San Antonio Spurs.

And you did it with gusto.

When Steve Nash went down with a gashed eye late in Game 4, the demons of a tortured past came creeping out of the court, threatening to pull them into the abyss alongside the broken face of Joe Johnson, the fractured knee of Amare Stoudemire, the bleeding nose of Steve Nash, the hip of Robert Horry, and the 3-pointer of Tim Duncan.

The curse of the Spurs had reared its ugly head again, and the excuses for becoming the first team in NBA history to blow a 3-0 lead engulfed the franchise like a billow of smoke from hell.

But this time was different. The Suns out Spurred the Spurs, outrebounding, outdefending, and outgrittying their longtime rival.

This time, Steve Nash stared them down with his one good eye and launched shot after shot that would find the bottom of the net.


The ghosts had been exorcised.

So Congratulations, Phoenix. You just reached the high point of your season and, really, the high point of your decade.

Now it's time to face reality. It's time to face the monster that you created. The new and improved Los Angeles Lakers.

A lot has changed since the last time you played these guys.

In 2006, you became only the eighth team to recover from a 3-1 deficit. The euphoria that Los Angeles felt after Kobe's two buzzer-beaters in Game 4 dissolved into disorientation as the Suns put on a humiliating clinic to close out the series.

In 2007 you smacked us around, dismissing us both on and off the court.

That beatdown sent the franchise into a tailspin. Kobe was so frustrated he went on tour to plead for trades. Dr. Buss openly shopped him. October came and...

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