The off-season is upon us. While Bright Side of the Sun will continue to bring you all sorts of Phoenix Suns news and notes until training camp starts, feel free to discuss all your Bogdan Bogdanovic, peripherally Suns-related or straight up non-NBA-at-all topics here in the Madhouse. Like maybe how you are planning on attending Summer League next year because it's the best?
All-Star Game, check... Time for the Phoenix Mercury to get back to where they left things in the regular season, which was a 12-game winning streak.
Record: 18-3 (.857)
Place In Standings: First (+2.0 on Minnesota)
Points Per Game: 85.57 (1st)
Points Against: 75.52 (3rd)
Wow. The 2014 WNBA All-Star Game was about as good of a game of basketball that the league could have ever asked for on the national stage of ESPN giving them a terrific advertisement. More of that here, but let's talk about the Mercury at that event on Saturday.
With Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner starting, Candice Dupree off the bench, the Phoenix Mercury were represented in the event they hosted.
For Taurasi it was a quick wink and hello of a game. She logged just 16 and a half minutes, threw up seven shots, grabbed four rebounds, and dished out two assists. After that, the warm-ups went on and the night ended early for Taurasi as she watched the young gun Skylar Diggins lead the way. It was not about Taurasi, but about the event and letting stars shine. It was not Taurasi's night to let her star shine, saving that for the final 13-games of the season.
On the other end of the spectrum there was Candice Dupree with 12 points (on nine shots) and rebounds coming out of the box with all the smooth energy we have come to appreciate here in the Valley.
Then there was Griner. And, this:
She filled up the stat-sheet with 17 points 5 rebounds and 3 blocks as a starter. She played well overall and had a blast doing it as evident by the permanently plastered smile on her face no matter the situation in the game. That is what All-Star Games are all about. In the end it was a loss for the West and for the Mercury three inherently, but they had fun doing it where having fun was what mattered the most and the serious games start again here now.
How do the final 13-games of the season look for the Phoenix Mercury? Well, if they are anything like the last 12-games then they will be harmonious for the team.
To close out the season the schedule has Los Angeles Sparks (10-12, thrice), Seattle Storm (9-15, twice), New York Liberty (8-13, twice), Minnesota Lynx (17-6, twice), Atlanta Dream (15-6, twice), Indiana Fever (11-12), and San Antonio Silver Stars (11-12) each once. What does that mean?
There are four games against teams above .500 and in fact they are against the two teams closest to the Mercury's league best record.
There are nine games against teams under .500 at the moment, but four games with teams that are just two wins or less from being in the category above this.
There are six road games and seven home games left. Six of those games are on National Television between NBATV and ESPN.
Last, but certainly not least, the Mercury are one more victory away from clinching a playoff spot and that could be as soon as this Tuesday against the Storm. So as the final leg of the WNBA season kicks off here in 24 hours for the Mercury there are various goals on the table. A 15-game, historic, winning streak. A playoff birth. A championship.
Who were the Phoenix Suns at the All-Star Game Weekend break this year?
At the break the Suns were 30-21 with 10 more wins than the Las Vegas predicted them to win for the entire season. So, just with that, they had accomplished a seasons worth of success. They were in the mix as a playoff team at that point in the muck with Memphis, Dallas, Golden State, and playing some up-and-down basketball at that point. They headed into the All-Star Game Weekend break with a loss to the Miami Heat while the Mercury...
Burst through their own doors hosting the game with a 12-game winning streak. They are three off of the Houston Comets mark of 15-games in a row from the 1998 season. That journey starts on Tuesday, as you see with the schedule below.
Tuesday vs. Seattle Storm at 7:00 p.m. AZ Time
Thursday @ Los Angeles Sparks at 7:30 p.m. AZ Time
Saturday vs. New York Liberty at 7:00 p.m. AZ Time