May 1, 2010, 10:59 AM EDT
The Phoenix Suns, despite what they will tell you, must be feeling a sense of dread. They’ve seen this script so many times, it’s etched into their memory like a bad family movie stuck on repeat. Robert Horry. The hipcheck. The Duncan Three. Parker bloodying Nash’s nose. Michael Finley. Burce Bowen. The hipcheck. The hipcheck. The hipcheck.
Sure, there are new players, mostly new rosters. But the franchise histories remain the same. So you can understand a certain amount of dread for the Suns as they approach the Spurs.
But Grant Hill? He’s probably a pretty happy old dude.
Something lost in the Suns’ elimination of the Portland Trail Blazers and subsequent advance in the 2010 NBA Playoffs is that this marks the first time Grant Hill has made it out of the first round. After Fif.Teen.Seasons.
15 years Grant Hill’s been playing in the NBA, and he’s never made it past the first round. The reasons are ones you can probably scream out instantaneously, a laundry list of injuries always seeming to crush any chance he would have of living up to his enormous potential. But in Phoenix he’s found a home, with the best trainers in the league (seriously, what do they put in the water down there?), and he’s not just some old player, providing coaching assistance and hoping for a few minutes. He’s starting for a Western contender (as much as any non-LA team is a contender), and making huge plays.
In the Portland series, he brought a defensive intensity at age 37 that the Suns may have never had. And granted, he was part of the crew that fell to the Spurs, so he’ll know exactly what he’s up against. But the fact is that Hill is more a reason to believe in the Suns than to doubt them.
Hill is known widely as a likeable player,and a locker room leader. For him to have had at least some level of success is a feel good story for these playoffs. And if, somehow, someway, the Suns can finally get over the hill? Grant will have made himself a legend in Phoenix, and finally found the NBA home he’s been searching for and has lost so many times in fifteen years.
Old man still got game.
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