The surprising, upstart, when-are-they-gonna-come-back-to-earth, cant-win-a-playoff-round Phoenix Suns need to win more than they lose the rest of the way to safely make the playoffs. Can they do it?

Predictions are a fool's errand.  I'm pretty sure a few days ago I wrote that we should all burn our expectations for the Phoenix Suns since they keep doing their thing regardless of what anyone else expects of them.  But as Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote:

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by statesmen and philosophers and divines.

Foolish consistency has been the name of the game in Phoenix this season.  Noted philosopher P.J. Tucker himself said:

For the lack of a better word, we're just kind of stupid. We're just like, ‘We're going to win.'

And Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough was foolishly consistent in thwarting expectations by not making any moves at the NBA trade deadline.  With the team standing pat, the Phoenix Suns now officially are who we thought they were. ESPN's Playoff Odds predictor gives the Dallas Mavericks a 68.2% chance of making the playoffs by snagging the 8-seed with a record of 47-35.  They've got Phoenix with a 78.4% chance in the 7-spot with a projected finish of 48-34.

Armed with that speculative knowledge and the fuel of noted thinkers Ralph Waldo Emerson and P.J. Tucker, let's look at the rest of the Suns' season and see how they might fare coming into the home stretch.  I think 47-50 wins is going to be necessary to make the playoff in the Western Conference.  Phoenix needs to win 15-18 of their remaining 30 games.  .500 ball isn't too tall of an order, is it?  OR IS IT?

I'm making a couple of assumptions here.  No further injuries are sustained.  If and when Eric Bledsoe returns, his reintegration into the line-up will be seamless.  The Suns maintain their current level of play.  Let's dive in and see how foolishly consistent this team can be.

Holding Court

Phoenix plays 7 of their next 8 games in U.S Airways Center before finishing with 14 of their last 21 games on the road.  Here's my take on the magnificent 7.

Loss - San Antonio Spurs, Friday 2/21 - Phoenix has lost 2 games to San Antonio already this season, and I don't see how they win a third.  It's getting to be statement time in the west and I think Tim Duncan and company will be ready for the Suns.

Loss - Houston Rockets, Sunday 2/23 - The Suns' early win at Houston came against an injury-depleted squad with an injured James Harden.  In the rematch, the Suns got flat outplayed.  I think Houston's too good in too many places for the Suns to overcome.

Win - Minnesota Timberwolves, Tuesday 2/25 - Kevin Love is coming to Phoenix!  Hopefully that's the last time that gets typed this season.  The Suns won a nail-biter against the Wolves in Minnesota earlier this season.  I don't think they'll need Gerald Green heroics this time around.

Win - AT Utah Jazz, Wednesday, 2/26 -  Phoenix is 2-1 versus the Jazz this season.  Pepsi Center is a tough place to play.  12 of Utah's 19 wins have come at home.  Phoenix is only 7-6 on the second night of a back-to-back, including a loss to Utah.  Whatever.  Suns win against a Utah team whose every victory hurts their draft position.

Win - New Orleans Pelicans, Friday 2/28 - New Orleans might be a tough team to beat next season.  This is not next season.

Win - Atlanta Hawks, Sunday, 3/2 - Phoenix beats a playoff team handily!  Eastern Conference playoff team, but still.

Loss - Los Angeles Clippers, Tuesday 3/4 - Phoenix smoked the Clips in LA to close out 2013 on a high note.  Doc Rivers and the team will remember and bring their A-game to Phoenix.

Win - Oklahoma City Thunder, Thursday 3/6 - A win?  Against the best team in the west?  Why not.  The Suns played OKC down to the wire in Oklahoma earlier this season.  This time, the home team wins.

Results - 5 wins and 3 losses take the Suns to 37-24, just 10 games from the 8 seed with 21 games left.

Road Warriors

The going gets tough now.  Five of the next 6 Suns games are away from Phoenix en route to the aforementioned 14 of 21 on the road.  Phoenix has won 14 and lost 12 on the road so far so they travel fairly well.  And they will need to to make the playoffs.

Loss - AT Golden State Warriors, Sunday 3/9 - After winning a close first match of the season, PHX and the Dubs have traded big wins in their last 2 match-ups.  I think the pendulum swings toward the home team here.

Loss - AT Los Angeles Clippers, Monday 3/10 - Second night of a back-to-back? Against the Pacific-leading Clippers?  I don't like this one bit for Phoenix.

Win - Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday 3/12 - The Cavs are a mess even with Kyrie Irving and Luol Deng.  They might play sneaky close, but not well enough to beat the Suns at home.

Win - AT Boston Celtics, Friday 3/14 - Scrapfest Part 2!  This won't be as close as the first match-up.  Phoenix kicks off a 3-game road trip the right way.

Loss - AT Toronto Raptors, Sunday 3/16 - I know what you're thinking: a loss to the Raptors?!  Here's my caveat.  I started to type "Win", but then noticed the 10:00AM MST start time.  I think that's enough to throw a western team off its game against a competitive Toronto squad.

Loss - AT Brooklyn Nets, Monday 3/17 - Second game of a back-to-back on St. Patrick's day in New York City?  I'm favoring a Brooklyn team that seems to be finding its legs.

Win - Orlando Magic, Wednesday 3/19 - Orlando might be a tough team to beat next season.  This is not next season.

Win - Detroit Pistons, Friday 3/21 - Greg Monroe is coming to Phoenix!  To lose!  Tough size match-up for Phoenix, but they barely lost in Detroit.  They are not getting swept by the Pistons

Win - AT Minnesota Timberwolves, Sunday 3/23 - Phoenix puts a coffin nail in Minnesota's chances of keeping Kevin Love, spurring an offseason of Love to Phoenix fanposts.

Loss - AT Atlanta Hawks, Monday 3/24 - I'm really hating on the back-to-backs, I know.  But I think Phoenix will probably be gassed after a tough game in Minneapolis the night before.  And Atlanta is a playoff team after all (snicker).

Win - AT Washington Wizards, Wednesday 3/26 - Hello, Marin Gortat!  Remember what winning basketball was like? Because the Suns will remember that home loss and look to return the favor.

Win - New York Knicks, Friday 3/28 - By this point, the Suns will need to have figured out how to function against plodding, life-draining teams like the Knicks.  I hope.

Win - AT Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday 3/30 - At this point, beating the Lakers is almost no fun.  Just kidding!  It's still awesome if a little joyless.  Remember this when the Durant-Wiggins-Love Lakers are playing Godzilla to the Western Conference's Japan in a couple years.

Win - Loss Angeles Clippers, Wednesday 4/2 - I refuse to believe the Suns will get punked by Blake Griffin 3 times in a row.  Especially not with this game being at home.

Loss - AT Portland Trailblazers 4/4 - Phoenix has had Portland's number so far this season.  This will be a chippy-ass affair and advantage goes to the home team.

Loss - Oklahoma City Thunder 4/6 - A championship-minded Thunder put the upstart Suns back in their place.

Win - AT New Orleans Pelicans 4/9 - Unless that mascot suits up, I think Phoenix takes care of business.

Loss - AT San Antonio Spurs 4/11 - Maybe I'm traumatized from the Nash years.  I just don't like the Suns against the Spurs, least of all in San Antonio.

Win - AT Dallas Mavericks 4/12 - In a contest crucial to playoff seeding, Phoenix rises to the occasion.  On the second night of a back-to-back no less!

Win - Memphis Grizzlies 4/14 - What do we say to the Memphis Grizzlies team that has beaten Phoenix 3 times already this year?  Not today.

Win - Sacramento Kings 4/16 - Phoenix finishes strong, riding a 3-game winning streak into the playoffs and helping Sacramento secure a high draft pick.

Playoff Bound

Results - I've got the Suns going 13-8 over this rough stretch, bringing their season record to 50-32.  I like that.  To perfectly double their win total from last season is 100% improvement.  That should be good enough for the playoffs and maybe even for getting them to the 6th seed.  The Western Conference is just too stacked to hope for much higher at this point.  Regardless of how right or wrong this projection may be, the Suns don't have to overachieve to maintain a spot in the playoffs.  They just need to keep demonstrating that foolish consistency

Think I pegged win where there should have been a loss?  Maybe the other way around and Phoenix takes over the Pacific to snag the 4 seed?  Let us know in the comments!


PHOENIX – When the Suns lost to the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 4, forward P.J. Tucker seemed to take it personally. One of the last Phoenix players to leave the locker room as the media members worked to...

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In this week’s Throwback Thursday, I got the chance to talk briefly with former Phoenix Suns forward and current Boston Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty. He discussed his brief time in...

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There is a level of natural chemistry and camaraderie that you simply do not mess with...

When all the smoke and dust settled the Phoenix Suns opted to make the move to retain chemistry, flexibility, and the current roster that is responsible for the most surprising story in the NBA this season. In the end the Suns (32-21) did not have to make a move even though they had some cards in their hands.

The Emeka Okafor Card was a solid one to have, but in the end if there wasn't a great move to make did the team lose anything by not playing that card?

Obviously the answer is no all the while talking heads and radio hosts will have to fill time slots or airwaves with trade banter about the team that did not make a move with one if the better "assets" this season. They will question the team and float out their arm-chair GM theories that are golden and would have made the team an instant title contender, because of course they will. Why not? That is their job. Objectivity does not waste any precious moments in the world of sports.

Nearly every year the San Antonio Spurs and other wise contenders look around, ponder options, and maybe tweak things every so slightly. We saw that this year with the Nando De Colo trade that brought them back Austin Daye.

Those teams don't fret with the idea of the "big move" that steals the headlines. Rarely do those headlines pave the streets of a Championship Parade.

Over the off-season the Suns did their subtle tweaking by adding Miles Plumlee, Gerald Green, Ish Smith, and drafting Archie Goodwin. They made their splash landing Eric Bledsoe for a veteran role player and a pick. Like a thief in the night Ryan McDonough moved experience for youth and draft picks while forming one of the ten best teams in the NBA 53 games through this season. He was questioned then and proved to be ahead of us all. Again, he will be questioned, but this time for the lack of a move when he had more in his arsenal to work with this time.

This is not a video game.

NBA General Managers do not trade two 76 ratings for an 82, then trade the 82 with a pick for a 90, and then become a virtual contender off the couch.

What McDonough did was brave and in all likelihood the correct course. He sat down in the make believe fire the media created when he easily could have stood up. As a first year General Manager one of the hardest things to do is not make every move that presents itself as a potential season changing play. Look through history, even just recent history, first year or inexperienced General Managers like to swing big and often come up with nothing but air.

Sitting back with the sixth best team in the toughest conference in the NBA right now was the right decision. Especially with Eric Bledsoe potentially around the corner from a return to action.

The Thunder, Clippers, Trail Blazers, Suns, and Mavericks did nothing while the Spurs, Rockets, and Warriors made very subtle adjustments to their rotation. Who were the most active? The Bucks, 76ers, Kings, Bobcats, and Nets... There is a theme there.

Time will tell if the Suns made the right decision on sitting down and doing nothing, but I am trusting the guy that turned a 25 win roster into a playoff contender in less than a calendar year.

A rumor here, a whisper there, and suddenly silence. This 2014 NBA trade deadline was more active than the last, but aside from one surprise move between Indiana and Philadelphia, teams did little...

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