PHOENIX — It's going to be a while before I'm able to shake what happened in the final six minutes of Game 4.
Two more wins will cure that heartache right away, but if this thing goes south, there's no telling how long that pain will stick around.
Luckily, these Suns players don't have the same scar tissue that Valley sports fans, and Suns fans in particular, have built up over the years. Well, actually, Chris Paul does.
Just like that, CP3 has become the biggest question mark moving forward in this, now, best-of-3 series. Monty Williams said, "he's fine, great players have games like that. We expect him to bounce back."
I agree that even the great players aren't immune to games like that, but this wasn't just a one-game thing. It was the worst of what has been a steady downturn since Game 1. Have the Bucks figured out the key to throwing off his rhythm by picking CP3 up in the backcourt and making him work for space? Is he hurt or just running out of gas after a grueling playoff run?
Fifteen turnovers in the past three games is a bad, bad number. He's the tip of the spear, but this isn't just on Chris Paul. They've got to be better as a team when it comes to ball security. Turnovers led to more way more scoring opportunities for the Bucks, and less for a Suns team that was shooting it well. Turnovers led to scrambling back on defense and foul trouble for Devin Booker, the only thing that could slow down his magnificent Game 4 performance.
Enough of the negative though. The sky isn't falling. This is the NBA Finals. The Bucks have their own big three of superstars that made big-time plays, and a home environment that is tough to play in. They did what they were supposed to do in Milwaukee.
Whether the Suns can compartmentalize their undoing in Game 4 and move on, we'll find out soon enough. If any team can though, it is this team. The one that preaches culture, locking in, and staying even keel. They'll need to because Saturday night will be a pressure cooker at the Footprint Center.
Booker needs help offensively. Maybe a return to downtown Phoenix will make Mikal Bridges appear again.
DeAndre Ayton needs more than nine shot attempts. The Suns are at their best when they get him going early. And I'd like to think Paul is going to come out and silence all the skeptics.
So much went wrong in Game 4, yet the Suns still should have won that game, even with Khris Middleton scoring 40 points and Giannis doing what he does. If nothing else, that should give them confidence that they're the better team, as long as they don't shoot themselves in the foot.
The Suns will play off the home crowd and come out with a purpose. The night will end with Phoenix one win away from its first NBA championship.
Suns 112, Bucks 104