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Well, the Suns almost pulled out a game that I believe surely would have led them to a championship.  In the end the game was too much in the Spurs' style though.  Both teams made mistakes but the Spurs can win making mistakes better than the Suns can.  If it turns out that the Suns lose the series this will forever be an "almost" moment for their fans.  There's something about these Suns though, much like their early 90's counterparts, that says "almost".  Tonight was an opportunity for that to change and it didn't.  However they're sure to contend seriously next year.  This is more than I can say for the Spurs.  Last year everybody thought they were done when they lost to Dallas and I said they had another run left in them and picked them to win it all this year (which they very well might do).  But this is it...at least for the current incarnation of the team.  When you need an Horry hip check into the boards to make it you're approaching the end and I think they know it.  Don't get me wrong, they're still going to be great.  They'll be an upper seed for a few years yet.  But this feels like their last serious threat for a ring.  I'll be curious to see if and when Pop turns the reins over.  That will be a major sign also.

One thing that stood out clearly to me was that even with the semi-sloppy duel this level of basketball is light years ahead of where the Blazers are.  You could compare the two games but only the way you compare your Friday night home poker game to a high-stakes professional match.  Both the Spurs and the Suns are able to think and play twelve steps ahead of us.  I hope by the end of next season that gap is shortened to half a dozen or so.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)