PHOENIX — Suns head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson would be the first to tell you that luck has played a role in the Phoenix Suns’ unprecedentedly healthy 2011-12 season. As he said in my...

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We've got some good news amid the Suns destruction at the hands of the Nuggets: Robin Gibb is out of his coma. Who's Robin Gibb? You've no doubt heard his voice before.

Bee Gees ? Stayin' Alive [High Quality] (via JayWesLeyroz)


Like Mr. Gibb, the Suns are not dead. Here's how things stand:

Screen_shot_2012-04-22_at_10

After last night's action, the Rockets are tied with the Suns for 9th, while the Jazz own the 8th outright by a game. These are all the games that mattered to the Suns last night:

Houston 99 Golden State 96

SB Nation-Courtney Lee scored 20 points, while Goran Dragic added 18 points and seven assists as the Houston Rockets snapped a six- game slide with a 99-96 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday.

Utah 117 Orlando 107 OT

SLC Dunk-This Orlando club was out gunned, smaller, and on the road -- but they played with a lot of heart and you gotta give them respect. Their best player is screwing them over, and screwing his own team mates over. Yet they still went out there, played their hearts out, and took us to overtime.


The Suns are still in control of their own destiny, 2 wins over the Jazz and Spurs and they make it in. Period.


Will we see these guys on the court together again this season?

For the first 49 games of the season, the Phoenix Suns had lost the fewest player-games to injury (4) in the entire league. Now Channing Frye is hurt while Grant Hill remains out as the Suns fight for their playoff lives. The Suns starting five of Gortat-Nash-Hill-Frye-Dudley boasted the league BEST scoring differential (+/-) in the entire league, but they have not played together since March 25, 2012 - 15 games ago.

The NBA offseason lockout left players to fend for themselves for six months and then, without warning, the league threw all players jam-packed an abbreviated training camp and 66 regular-season games into 4 months after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed.

Despite their health, the Suns played poorly before the all-star break. Channing Frye has reportedly commented he expected the whole season to be cancelled. As a group, the team was unprepared to play the season. The team, held back mostly by their unproductive second unit, started 12-19 with a handful of egregious losses on the docket (14-20 at the all-star break). Eventually, the second unit began to gel and the Suns started winning games. Since the all-star break, the Suns have gone 19-11 without losing a single game that they were supposed to win while chalking up several wins they were supposed to lose.

But the injury bug is starting to take its toll.

First, Grant Hill went down just when the long road trip kicked off. The Suns' best perimeter defender, who took on all comers from point guards to small forwards, has missed 14 of the Suns' last 15 games. His defense has been missed especially against teams with strong perimeter play.

Now, Channing Frye subluxed his shoulder again, and may miss much if not all the Suns' remaining games.

But even unofficial injuries are catching up to the Suns, just as they hurt other NBA teams, I'm sure.

All-star point guard Steve Nash has played - for him - poorly in the last few weeks. His assists per game have dropped from 11.8 in March's 16 games to 8.8 in this month's 12 games. His shooting percentages have remained strong, but he's taking 2 fewer shots per game since the all-star break. But even beyond the numbers, Nash has appeared "tired" more often than not.

Coulda-been All-Star Marcin Gortat has tailed off as well. After averaging a team-high 36.6 minutes per game in February and earning consideration for all All-Star bid, the Polish Hammer has appeared tired. In April, the Suns' best rebounder and pick-and-roll finisher is down to only 29.9 minutes per game. Some of that can be attributed to Robin Lopez' improved play, but I just know by watching Gortat that his fire from last year and early this year seems to be missing.

Somehow, the Suns have gone 19-11 in the second half despite a drop-off in production from their best players - Gortat, Nash and Hill.

And now Channing Frye is injured too.

The Suns need 2 more wins to earn a postseason bid, despite their mounting injuries and stars' tired legs. Can they pull off two more miracles?

Poll
Can the Suns pull of a win over Utah without Frye and Hill?

  464 votes | Results


PHOENIX — For a half the Phoenix Suns were every bit the equal of the Denver Nuggets, going basket for basket with them in a back-and-forth opening 24 minutes that severely taxed the scoreboard...

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It hurts.

The Denver Nuggets continued their mastery of the Phoenix Suns, riding a dominating third quarter to a 118-107 win in Phoenix today, their sixth in a row over the Suns. Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with a season-high 29 points and 10 assists, his backcourt partner Arron Afflalo scored 19, Denver forced 17 Phoenix turnovers, and Kenneth Faried ruled the paint with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Shannon Brown led the Suns with 28 points including 6 converted 3-pointers, Marcin Gortat put up a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Steve Nash dished 13 assists, passing Oscar Robertson for fifth on the all-time assists list in the process.

Unfortunately, this game looked similar to the Suns' previous meetings against the Nuggets: Denver is too athletic for Phoenix to keep up, they force the Suns into turnovers and convert them to easy transition baskets as the Nuggets beat the Suns 26-2 in fast break points. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The Suns lost Channing Frye late in the second quarter with a "subluxed right shoulder" and the Nuggets holding a 48-47 lead. Whether due to Frye's absence or not, things went south in a hurry after that as Denver's lead ballooned to as many as 21 in the third quarter, and the Nuggets had 93 points on the board after only three quarters of play.

Even with the loss, the Suns continue to control their own destiny in the playoff race. Since they hold the tiebreaker over the Jazz, a win over the Jazz plus either a Suns win over San Antonio or another Jazz loss would put the Suns in the postseason.

The loss of Frye hurts about as much as the loss of the game. Last season, the Suns were making a strong playoff push before Frye's shoulder injury effectively finished their season. His basic stats aren't anything special at around 10 points and 6 rebounds per game, but he's a valuable player as a stretch big man to give Nash spacing to execute the pick and roll.

Next game is Tuesday, the pivotal matchup at Utah versus the Jazz.

Follow the jump for the roll call.

Roll Call: NashMV3, Toon Army Sun, lux200, shawndy, The Solution, Suns R Us, HarunSUNS, WaveOcean, REneeR, toto_l2003, HarvMel, MMotherwell, SteveNash, QuantumPhysicist, brian13, Jim Coughenour, PhoenixSons, rainmann, the new Bradfather, haremoor, Juac, wedge1039, Beavis 25, JoeWisco, raxado, phxpurple, Antwuan, ThatOtherCanadianKid, troglodytes, SUNS PORTUGAL, Dickwan Sasser, sunnydays, PHXgp, Piotr Szczesniak, East Bay Ray, suns68, PolishHammer, Omaha Sun, sonicking, sports_dude33, quixilver, Stanley B, ericscholwinski, Spit_Fire, Suns2flyy, ArizonaCactus, Gnurrgard, MJ5, sidepart, fandbacks, KC_Suns_Fan, fanoftheunderdogs, NIRVANALOGIK, jatrex4suns, NashIsBeast, Not Disclosing My Name, nashtyish, ScottHowardsOffspring, Aztiramtempe, tameszu, modernage13
Total Users: 60
Total Posts: 1470
Total Threads: 2

Name # of Posts
PhoenixSons 142
NashMV3 128
Suns R Us 104
SteveNash, QuantumPhysicist 99
shawndy 93
Antwuan 68
Omaha Sun 60
Jim Coughenour 56
phxpurple 55
brian13 52
MMotherwell 47
Beavis 25 44
WaveOcean 41
HarvMel 37
raxado 37
PolishHammer 33
East Bay Ray 27
haremoor 24
NashIsBeast 23
sonicking 22
the new Bradfather 21
ThatOtherCanadianKid 20
Juac 19
rainmann 18
NIRVANALOGIK 17
JoeWisco 17
wedge1039 14
HarunSUNS 13
PHXgp 13
lux200 12
troglodytes 10
Toon Army Sun 10
fanoftheunderdogs 9
SUNS PORTUGAL 8
Dickwan Sasser 7
The Solution 7
Not Disclosing My Name 6
Gnurrgard 6
sports_dude33 5
Suns2flyy 4
ericscholwinski 4
ArizonaCactus 4
modernage13 4
Piotr Szczesniak 4
Stanley B 4
Spit_Fire 3
suns68 3
jatrex4suns 2
KC_Suns_Fan 2
toto_l2003 2
tameszu 1
ScottHowardsOffspring 1
nashtyish 1
Aztiramtempe 1
sidepart 1
sunnydays 1
quixilver 1
MJ5 1
fandbacks 1
REneeR 1


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