Eric Bledsoe had his work cut out for him without Goran Dragic last night and he stepped up to the challenge. Bledsoe’s 30 points, 11 boards, and 9 assists just were not enough against the Spurs though. Aside from Bledsoe’s great performance, it was a battle of the Greens in San Antonio; with Gerald Green and Danny Green combining for 60 points. The Spurs were able to come back from being down as many as 20 to become 24-3 since the All-Star Break.
The hard fought loss dropped Phoenix to the 9th seed and a seat on the outside looking in for the playoffs. Whether the Suns will be playing in the playoffs or watching them will be determined in their next three games and a game on Wednesday night. That game Wednesday is the Mavericks-Grizzlies game which will be nationally televised on ESPN and all of Phoenix will surely be watching that one.
The playoff push is on now, and the Suns control their own destiny.
This should be a very interesting week of basketball.
The Suns woke up today with the seventh seed in the west today, and one game back from the sixth seed – following losses by the Mavs and Warriors last night. Although this position looks great for a team many expected to barely get to 20 wins, they still have work to do before they can pop any champagne.
Tonight Phoenix has to play San Antonio before wrapping the season up with two of their last three games against the two teams right behind them in the standings (Dallas and Memphis).
It’s hard to imagine Golden State missing the playoffs, especially with no games left against the Suns, Mavs, or Grizz, but if Phoenix wins out they could certainly pose a threat for the sixth seed. This next week is going to be a brutal one for one team and an exceptionally rewarding one for two teams. It should be a great week of basketball with everybody going all in for one last hand.
Iggy showing he’s still got it against his former team. The Nuggets are currently leading the playoff-bound Warriors behind a career night from Moscov. A great game from the NBA on TNT tonight.
The race for the 8th seed never seemed like must-see basketball, but the Suns are aiming to prove otherwise. Today they find themselves on the outside looking in with the same record as the current 8 seed Grizzlies. This just goes to show how close the Suns really are. While going 7-3 in their last 10 games, including a terrific outing against the playoff-bound Trail Blazers, the young Suns are facing the reality of how tough the Western Conference really is. To put things in perspective – if Phoenix took their current 45-31 mark to the Eastern Conference, they’d be the number 3 seed and about ten games up on the 8th and final seed.
Now of course it is notable to mention that Phoenix would be the 3rd seed in the East, but the solid play of both the Mavericks and the Grizzlies is just as notable. The Memphis Grizzlies have won 11 straight games at home and are 6-4 in their last 10 and the Dallas Mavericks are winners of their last two – which includes a quality win against the Clippers and a Blake Griffin triple-double.The Suns still have six games left to clinch a playoff birth, and in the NBA that’s plenty of time.
Phoenix has a very difficult schedule to close out the regular season, with a game against the Thunder tomorrow and a trip to San Antonio to take on the Spurs next Friday. Although their upcoming schedule is difficult, they still have a road game against the mathematically eliminated Pelicans and a home game against the Kings. For the Suns to make the playoffs, they will need to capitalize on those two games against noncontenders because among their final six games are crucial matchups against Dallas and Memphis.
The Suns will hope to see more games like their last win against the Trail Blazers where they outscored Portland 30-13 in the fourth quarter. Miles Plumlee and Markieff Morris each had over ten rebounds in the victory (16 and 11, respectively). Two very huge pieces to the victory were Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green. Bledsoe finished with 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists, and Green finished with 32 points and 5 rebounds off the bench.
Down the stretch look for production from every player mentioned above and of course Goran Dragic as Jeff Hornacek coaches this young bunch to a potential playoff birth in his first season in Phoenix. Whether or not the Suns end up in the playoffs, Hornacek certainly looks like as good a candidate as any for Coach of the Year.