The Suns' primary competition for the final two seeds in the Western Conference playoffs (Denver, Utah, Houston) all had the day off, so Phoenix's victory meant they picked up a half game in the standings. Phoenix (27-26) sits just half a game back of the ninth-placed Utah Jazz (28-26), 1.5 games behind the No. 8 seed Houston Rockets (29-25) and two games behind the No. 7 seed Denver Nuggets (29-24).
Make the jump for a look at the Western Conference standings.
Standings courtesy on NBA.com.
Games of Interest Tuesday, April 4:
Once again, though, O.J. Mayo came up huge off the bench. This is exactly the kind of Mayo we ordered -- please forgive me for that one. He's knocking down jumpers, creating strong offensive sets, not getting out-played on defense... we could use more of this Mayo come playoff time. Same goes for Gilbert Arenaswho dropped 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting to go along with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals (0 turnovers) -- just what we signed up for. And did I mention how big Dante Cunningham was off the bench?
Phoenix is currently 3.5 games behind Memphis, so barring the high-stakes card game I talked about last week, it's probably safe to say the Grizzlies are out of the Suns' reach.
Tuesday was a slow night for the Western Conference.
Wednesday looks to be much busier, with all but two teams in the Western Conference taking the floor (Houston and Sacramento have the day off). Keep an eye on Denver @ New Orleans, Golden State @ Minnesota and Memphis @ Dallas.
But the most important game of the night is obviously Phoenix @ Utah. With a victory, the Suns would pick up a full game on the Jazz and would jump them in the standings. Conversely, a loss would put the Suns 1.5 games back of the Jazz and would keep them in the tenth spot.
It's a big game. A win puts the Suns one step closer to the playoffs. A loss would make it that much more difficult (perhaps too much so) for the Suns to secure that No. 8 seed.
Check back later for the game preview, and make sure to drop by the game thread after tip-off to cheer the Sun on with your fellow Bright Siders.