Mike D’Antoni is extremely close to a crossroads concerning how to deal with Tim Duncan and who will play the pivotal role in doing it. The answer has to be Kurt Thomas. Although he might slow down the Suns fast-paced attitude, Kurt Thomas gives them the antidote to solving the Spurs ability to slow down the game.
The Suns must face facts and realize the only way they will speed up the game is to get a lead playing at the Spurs pace first. And the only way that will happen is on the defensive end, because the Spurs will run their offense through Duncan every time when he is on the floor.
The reason why the Suns play James Jones and Boris Diaw is that they want to play fast. Well, if those players only produce 7 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in 34 minutes combined in Game 1 the argument could be made that Kurt Thomas should have gotten a bulk of those 34 minutes, instead of only 13. Maybe he could have held Tim Duncan to 25 points and helped negate the 14 offensive rebounds the Spurs had in that game. But most importantly, he could have defended him one-on-one, thus taking away key three-point shots made by Robert Horry and Michael Finley – who by the way cannot and will not put the ball on the floor to create anything. So those two players only contribute if the Suns do help out on Duncan and give them open standstill shots. Also, it will allow Amare Stoudamire, who had 18 rebounds, to dominate the weak-side glass and stay out of foul trouble.
Key for the Suns if they are too win this series… Make Duncan score 50 and don’t allow Finley, Horry and Brent Barry to have an impact on the game. The Suns have too many offensive weapons to allow Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to beat them alone. Phoenix will win this series in six games if Thomas is allowed to be a factor.