Ladies and Gentleman, your 2007 NBA Playoffs MVP, Big Shot Bob, Robert Horry. In a series featuring the new era of basketball, the upbeat, flowing, Phoenix Suns, and the old guard, the slow down, grind it out San Antonio Spurs, Robert Horry single handedly ended the series with one of his most clutch shots ever.
This series has featured three good games, where Tim Duncan has been virtually unstoppable with one of the classic performances of all time, Steve Nash has fought against the defense of Bruce Bowen to lead his team to two big wins, and Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Amare Stoudamire, Raja Bell, and Shawn Marion have all played crucial roles. This series has featured two coaches pushing each other to the limit, and has produced great basketball.
When it came down it, none of that mattered, as Robert Horry did what he has been known for all his career. He delivered the knock out blow. Though I'm not sure anyone expected him to do it quite like this. With Game 5 heading back to Phoenix with the series tied at 2 a piece, San Antonio faces a Phoenix team without Amare Stoudamire and Boris Diaw, as they were suspended for 1 game each for leaving the bench in Game 4, after Horry's forearm shiver to Steve Nash in front of the Phoenix bench. Phoenix, who has featured an eight man rotation of Nash, Bell, Marion, Thomas, Stoudamire, Barbosa, Diaw, and James Jones will lose two of their three inside players. San Antonio will be without Horry, who will miss two games for his shot, but Horry already plays a small role on this team, and with a 10 man rotation, San Antonio will hardly miss him.
Without Stoudamire and Diaw, Phoenix has no chance to win Game 5. The Commissioner's office should be absolutely embarrassed and ashamed to decide the outcome of this series with a rule that is meant to prevent the escalation of on court incidents. While the rule is good in its intent, the absolute nature of the way it is interpreted has always been questionable, but it is finally impacting what could have been one of the best series in the playoffs this year between probably the two best teams in the NBA. This ruling is ridiculous as Stoudamire and Diaw barely got off the bench and were forced back to the bench by their coaches before they got anywhere near the incident. This ruling hurts the fans and the Suns, that is it. It's bad for the NBA and hopefully will be a PR nightmare as the Spurs will play Game 6 at home with a 3-2 lead. This incident is a black eye for the NBA, as Stern continues to struggle with discipline and getting the rulings correct. The NBA is so concerned with abiding by the rules that they're missing the bigger picture.
By handing Game 5 to the Spurs, the NBA is making Robert Horry the MVP of the playoffs. His cheap shot not only gave him some satisfaction for Nash killing them down the stretch, but he also managed to knock out two key players for the Suns in the process. With one clutch shot he won Game 5 and locked up the series for the Spurs. Pretty impressive for someone who won't even play in Game 5 or 6. Be sure to keep an eye out for Beno Udrih's left hook to the face of Darren Williams in front of Utah's bench in Game 3 in about two weeks.