Wednesday 16 May 2007

Your time is now...PAT BURKE!

Phoenix and possibly the NBA's most loveable pine dweller is on the verge of being thrust into the most important game of his career tonight.

Burke who is famous for embracing his bench-warmer status with good humour through several short skits ('Vote Pat Burke for congress, cause frankly, he just isn't that busy right now') is certainly a talented player in his own right, leading Real Madrid to the Euroleague championship before departing back to the NBA for another shot at the greatest league in the world (TM).

I've had the pleasure of talking to Burke very briefly and he really is a very nice well humoured guy and has been a great servant to Irish basketball, having seen him play in person on a few occasions he is a standout athlete, and has remerkable shooting range for a 6'11'' center.

But tonight Burke is potentially about to play in his most important NBA game to date. Robert Horry aka Big Shot Bob for his clutch play, now aka Cheap Shot Bob for his closeline slam on Steve Nash in the dying seconds of game 4 of the already tension and aggression filled Suns/Spurs series has been banned for games 5 and 6 for his antics, but Suns stars Boris Diaw and 1st team All-NBA center Amare Stoudemire have also been banned by the unpredicatble VP of operations of the NBA, Stu Jackson, for game 5 for leaving the bench in the ensuing altercation - an automatic suspension offense - an issue which i could go on about ALL day.

But the reality now is that Phoenix have one player standing at 6'9'' - defensive stalwart and starter Kurt Thomas, after this the closest thing they have to a big man is 6'7'' combo-forward Shawn Marion, of course except for BIG PAT BURKE, it looks like Burke will be called upon to play key minutes, especially in the advent of foul trouble for Thomas, as the Spurs do possess 3 7 foot inside players, including the most polished low post force in basketball, Tim Duncan. In reality this is really a step beyond Burke's ability, but it will be intriguing to see can the the big irishman contribute and rise to the occasion, especially behind the support of his home crowd, as a fan favourite and cult hero.

A victory in game 5 tonight would put the spurs up 3-2, with the next game in San Antonio and then if neccesary a game 7 in PHX with a full strength home squad. Let's go Pat! Do it for the folks in Tullamore!

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