It will be hours. Maybe days. But that face that mixed anger, disappointment and sadness will once again offer us the usual smile, the same as always. Facundo Campazzo’s first season in the NBA ended with a defeat that hurts, the kind that generates impotence due to the superiority of the rival. But the balance for the Argentine base must be positive.
The Phoenix Suns sweep of the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals was the end point for Campazzo’s long run in his debut campaign in the best basketball league in the world. That suffering to see how Chris Paul dominated with his ability to drive and score is the last image. But it is not the whole movie.
At the beginning of the season, Facu spent much more time sitting on the bench than on the court and had very little of the ball in his hands. In the last stage, especially since Jamal Murray’s injury, the Argentine had active participation and moments of prominence. Campazzo averaged 6.1 points, 3.6 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 21.9 minutes per game in the regular season. His playoff statistics grew notably: 9.3 points, 4.1 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. In 6 of his 10 postseason games, the Cordovan scored in double digits, with 14 points as a maximum mark on two occasions: the first and the fourth game against Phoenix.
“It was a long season, with many games. Everything was new to me so I tried to learn to the fullest. It was a tough loss for me too but what I think about now is to work as hard as possible and be ready for the next thing, “Campazzo said after the Suns’ 125-118 victory in the fourth game of a series that they dominated from start to finish. end.
The Argentine base added that the main objective in his debut year in the NBA was “to be aggressive in offense and in defense to cover very dangerous players like Lillard or Paul. That was my challenge, trying to compete against that type of player.”
In this key, Paul was the absolute owner of the game. The Phoenix guard averaged 25.5 points, 10.2 assists and just 1.2 losses per game against the Nuggets. It is the sixth series in his career that Paul has recorded at least 20 points and assists per game. Only one Magic Johnson, at 15, did it more times.
“CP3 played at a very high level. We were always behind him. We tried to change things but he always had an answer to everything we tried. I think I learned a lot from him during these playoffs,” Campazzo analyzed.
The last night of 2020-2021 for the Nuggets included the bitterness of closing it without their best player on the court. Nikola Jokic was sent off for a hard hit to Cameron Payne in the third quarter. The Serbian watched from the locker room how his team fought to the end but failed to reverse the story. Thus, the NBA MVP suffered a sweep for the first time since Magic Johnson and his Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in the 1989 Finals.
Campazzo was clear at the time of analysis: “We tried to change our mentality. We try to be brave, aggressive and not let them play comfortably. We did a good job in the end but it was difficult. It is unfair to say that the last game is the one that condemned us. Throughout the series we had a hard time stopping his tactical offense. They had an answer for everything. As the series progressed and we tried to give it a twist, it was always difficult. “
The end point has come on this Nuggets road. There will be time for Michael Malone to think about the future of the team. Sport always offers revenge. For Campazzo, the immediate will be at the Olympics. Then his second season in the NBA will come. Long before those challenges arrive, Facu will be smiling as usual again.