This is torture. This is agony. This is madness.
This is great.
Why do the Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks keep doing this to us?
Or why do we keep doing it to ourselves is maybe the better question. Why do we keep watching this bonkers series?
Because if you’re a fan of either team you have to. No matter how much of a stomach ache it gives you. No matter how mad — or happy, depending — it makes you.
It is magnificent TV.
The Suns and Mavericks meet Sunday at 5 p.m. for Game 7 of their second-round NBA playoff series. Win or go home and all that. Whatever clichés you want to trot out, feel free. They probably apply.
Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas Mavericks:More about Game 7 of NBA Playoffs series
The home team has won every game, often by a lot. That can be frustrating. For instance, the Suns looked abjectly terrible in their 113-86 collapse in Dallas Thursday. Just ugly all the way around; even a chunk of the total homer crowd that haunts Suns Twitter during games seemed to tune out early.
Maybe Mavericks fans did the same thing on Tuesday, when the Suns blew out Dallas 110-80 in Phoenix. Sensing a trend here?
It’s a good trend if you’re Phoenix, since Sunday’s game will be played at Footprint Center, with Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller again calling the game for TNT. But after Thursday’s game, it’s hard to have a lot of confidence. Anything could happen.
Which is what makes this not only great TV, but — obvious alert — the most important game of the Suns’ season. Because if they don’t win this one, it’s the last game of their season. Duh.
Beyond that, though, it’s a chance to regain that confidence. There have been times in the playoffs that Devin Booker or Chris Paul have the ball and it’s magical. You just know something good is going to happen.
Unfortunately, there are also times when you just know it’s not. It’s bizarre. In Paul’s case, sure, he’s old, but for most of the Suns’ series against the New Orleans Pelicans he owned the fourth quarters. (After a subpar Game 3 against the Mavs on his 37th birthday, someone tweeted that they hoped whatever deal Paul made with the devil didn’t expire after exactly 36 years.)
You can pretty much always be confident that Dallas’ Luka Dončić is going to do something good every time he has the ball. You can be supremely confident that if something good doesn’t happen, he’s going to complain about it. A lot. He’s a whiner, but he’s also an offensive genius. It’s his supporting cast that seems to fall apart in Phoenix.
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Speaking of whiners, the way NBA basketball is currently officiated really plays into their hands. Floppers, too. It’s usually absurd to complain that officiating has cost a team a game. But no matter who you’re rooting for, the real absurdity is how players who get a light smack act like they’ve been hit with a sledgehammer.
Come on, people. It’s not soccer. This is not to say the NBA Playoffs should go back the the bad old days of the Detroit Pistons mugging whoever they played. A season wasn’t complete until Sports Illustrated had at least one photo of Bill Laimbeer going for a rebound while choking an opponent the way Homer Simpson chokes Bart. Still.
Of course, good TV is full of great drama. But the officiating is bad drama, real “Manimal” type stuff. And the constant march to the replay screen kills momentum for everyone, the TV audience included.
It is, however, another reason to yell at your TV screen, of which there have been many.
There will be again Sunday. It will be exquisite torment. Don’t miss a minute.
Game 7: Sunday, May 15, Dallas at Phoenix, 5 p.m., (TNT)
Reach Goodykoontz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: @goodyk. Subscribe to the weekly movies newsletter.
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