When it comes to truly historic pants shits, they’re generally known simply by the name of the place where they took place. Say “Belo Horizonte” to any fan with any knowledge of football and they’ll know it was Germany 7-1 against Brazil. That being said, a deeply flawed Brazilian team was lucky to even get that far and Germany was the best team in the world (they eventually won the thing). Wrigley Field is known for many things, but for a long time it was the name that started 2003 against the Marlins. But again, the Cubs were just a good-to-good team that actually won fewer games than the Marlins. They still threw up a chicken, but you could see the cracks. Shea Stadium? Game 6, except the Sox were out when the Boulder of Shame began to roll downhill.
Much of what happened in other places at other times can usually also be explained. Some just balanced these special matchups. Others weren’t home.
What the Suns did very well on Sunday evening should stand on its own for a long time to come.
Players will tell you that they play the 82 for the right to have a game of 7 at home. Even in the NBA, where home court doesn’t do you much good, there aren’t any last chances, last attacks or conditions you might be more used to. You’d think after six straight home wins, the Suns felt pretty good about adding a seventh.
They were the top seeds. The defending champions of the conference. They should have a great advantage in coaching and the knowledge that they had done it all before. And they were thrown into orbit and then hit in the face with various satellites and space debris.
While Dallas certainly played masterfully, it takes every effort to drop by 30 points in the first half of a game you’ve reportedly been working on all season. Chris Paul got all the credit for going nuclear against an 8-seed, which the Suns should never have needed for a while, even without Devin Booker. The Mavs aren’t an 8-seed and have made him look good all the 97 years he’s lived.
These weren’t the Warriors who knew exactly how to win a series and basically kicked Game 5 against the Grizzlies while a home game awaited. You’re supposed to bring your A-game to winner-take-all. Not even suspecting hope, the Suns were doubled 10-5 in the opening moves of the game and never came close.
A word about Luka Dončić, who certainly practices making faces and looking in the mirror before every game. Like that time Rickey Henderson would swing naked in front of the bathroom mirror before every game and say, “Rickey the best!” His game can be tough, and he’s likely to annoy his opponents, but no one seems to have enjoyed it, the heart of an entire town to rip out and eat while still (barely) beating in front of them. Dončić appeared to be having the time of his life as he stomped the Suns’ skull to a pulp. Sure, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan always loved being the cause of heartbreak as visitors. But it was more business for her. It was a deal well executed. For Luka it was more original. It doesn’t bode well for anyone who faces him in the future if he gets that much of the stones. You can never feel good playing someone who takes so much pleasure in pure annihilation. Even in his 40s, Dončić emptied threes like the Mavs really needed them and reveled in them like it was a ritual. His thirst may never be quenched.
It’s probably a market correction in some ways. The Suns always felt like a transitional candidate. They seem better suited to be the foil for more institutional power, the ones who light the way for a true champ along the way. They just rose to the top when there weren’t any of those teams for a season. The Warriors seem to be rebuilt, the Grizz are coming and the Mavericks are making a mark. This likely won’t be the last time the Suns work for a Western team performing before the brightest lights.
But hey, congratulations Phoenix, not every team is going to be known for something for years. Before Sunday, the Suns were the team to lose the Finals a handful of times and nothing else. Now we’re all hearing “Phoenix” and thinking about a team shitting their guts out in a game 7 on their own floor by the end of the 1st quarter. That’s not nothing.
Milan’s Theo Hernandez dazzles
Let’s hop around and see AC Milan’s Theo Hernandez giving a pretty mean impression of Connor McDavid on a soccer field:
It was a monumental goal as it sealed a victory for Milan that kept them just a draw away from the Serie A title next week. You rarely see a player go coast to coast like this, let alone a full-back who has less to do with slicing through the middle of the field than a border collie. Usually someone hacks him down and gives up the free kick and yellow card to allow the defense to reset. Nobody comes close enough to Hernandez to do that. And to pull off such a cool and clinical finish when your lungs were burning in the final minutes of a game running 70 yards is just as impressive. It’s the goal every kid dreams of, and the asshole in your pickup game is always trying to score. Hernandez did it against one of the better teams in Italy with a scudetto.