ESPN needs to stop confusing location with domination
"The Suns just can't handle the Spurs". That's what I keep hearing from the "Worldwide Leader". I think its wrong. The Suns and Spurs appear to me to be evenly matched teams whose games were decided primarily by location.
Why can't ESPN's experts recognize this? Home court advantage is an obvious fact at every competitive level of basketball. In fact, if you had a gun placed to your head and you needed to site one uncontrovertable fact about the sport, you could confidently state the existence of the home court advantage. It is clear, historically consistent, and basically irrefutable (the New York Times recently reported that the all-time home winning percentage in the NBA alone is a substantial 64.2%).
That's why all these stories ESPN has been running (and having the annoying Stephen A. Smith comment bombastically upon) about the decline of the Suns and the improved play of the Cavaliers, and what not else, are all simple bunk. The only story worth noting coming out of the first round of playoff games was the impressive dominance of both the Jazz and the Celtics and the apparent crash course the two teams are on. But that basically went unmentioned.
Instead the chattering class wanted to put a premature tombstone on the Suns. I'll go so far as to state that the Suns would be up two-love right now instead of down two-love had they had the home court advantage. And I fully expect them to stomp on the Spurs in Game Three. (As will the "dead" Mavericks against the Hornets, for that matter).
At which time, ESPN can start a round of phony discussions about the "Resurgence of the Suns" and the "Awakening of the Mavericks". Oy.
I miss the days when Sports Illustrated, and not ESPN, set the national sports agenda. I really, really do.