And that's it, folks.
What we've all known for the past week or more, including especially Steve Nash, the Suns are done. Officially, there's no mathematical way to make the playoffs now. Even if the Suns win all their remaining games (they won't) and the Hornets and Grizzlies lose all theirs (they won't), the Suns will still be out of the playoff picture.
That's why you didn't see Marcin Gortat in the 4th quarter. Hopefully, that's the reason anyway. And not the awkward fall out of bounds late in the third quarter. No one mentioned him limping off, so I'm assuming Gentry wanted to see more of Siler and Lopez even when the game got to 13 points.
Aaron Brooks had a nice game in 26 minutes (14 points, 6 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, 3 turnovers), while Zabian Dowdell did not (6 pts, 1 ast, 1 stl, 4 turnovers in 22 minutes). When Brooks was in the game, the Suns played even with the Spurs. The entire deficit occurred with Dowdell on the court. Of course, that doesn't tell the entire story but it DOES pass the eye test. The Suns were more competitive (early first, late second, most of third) when Brooks was on the floor.
Other bright sides after the jump.Bright Side #1:
For those who hate San Antonio, I don't see them going all the way in the playoffs. They rely too much on lower-level talent and Duncan is not the inside force he once was.
Bright Side #2:
In two games without Steve Nash (and while playing with the same flu), Gortat is still a double-double machine. 10 and 11 in 33 minutes against Clippers playing mostly against Kaman, then 10 and 9 against the Spurs while playing mostly against Duncan. No bad. Clearly his offense needs work, but early post-ups and moves on Duncan today were encouraging. It's up to Gortat to refine those moves over the summer - something he's already promised before we all asked.
Bright Side #3:
I love Jared Dudley. The dude just does everything right, and many of his best plays don't show up in the stats. Yet he still supplied 12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block in 32 minutes of play. His upside on a winning team might be as a super-force 6th or 7th man or a 5th-best starter, but that's damn good on 4.25 mil a year for the next 4 years.
Bright Side #4:
I can definitely see Grant Hill playing a couple more seasons with the Suns as a player/coach for young talent and stabilizing force on the court. As the Suns transition into a younger team, they will need a veteran leader who can SHOW them how to play the right way rather than just tell them about it.
Bright Side #5:
Only a few more games of Vince Carter and this lost season. Over/under on how many of those Steve Nash plays?