Steve Kerr’s college teammate at Arizona doesn’t think the Suns have the mental toughness to win in the postseason.
Sean Elliott, a former Spurs star and now a color commentator for the team, told ESPN Radio that the Suns are doing the Spurs a favor if they still have last year’s controversial series and Game 4 ejections of Amaré Stoudemire and Boris Diaw on their minds.
“You have to get past that already,” Elliott said. ”To be honest, if they’re still harping on that, if they’re still talking about how they got (expletive) last year or how the series was taken away from them by the league or by David Stern, that all plays into the Spurs’ hands. You’ve not focused on doing what you have to do to beat the defending champions.”
Suns coach Mike D’Antoni rolled his eyes when told of the comment.
“The only time we think about that is when the media asks about it,” he said. “Two of our five starters (Grant Hill and Shaquille O’Neal) weren’t even on the team last year. Do you think they care?”
HILL READY TO GO
Grant Hill (groin) took part in a second straight day of practice Friday and told the Suns coaches and trainers that he’s ready to go for Game 1.
This is only the second time in nine postseason series under D’Antoni that the Suns will open on the road. The only other one was the 2006 Western Conference final, when the Suns beat Dallas in Game 1 but ultimately lost the series in six games.
But in the eight playoff series in which they have had home-court advantage over the last three years, the Suns held serve only twice — a first-round sweep of Memphis in 2005 and last year’s 4-1 stroll over the Lakers.
“You want home-court, you prefer it, but there is pressure that comes with it,” Stoudemire said. “I love the villain part of it, being the villain on the road and being booed and yelled at. And I love being the people’s champions at home.”
Four ties among teams that finished the regular season with identical records were broken Friday through random drawings to help determine the order of selection for the 2008 NBA Draft. Among those, the Suns won a tiebreaker with Houston and will pick 24th.