Before yesterday's loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the Suns sat in 10th place in the Western conference, 1.5 games behind the 7th and 8th seeded teams, the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. After the loss that dropped the Suns to 25-25, Phoenix sits in 10th place, 2 games behind the 7th and 8th seeded teams, the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets.

In other words, the standings haven't changed much.

Standings via NBA.com

Wc_standings_032812_medium
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Key gamesTuesday, March 27:

- Memphis Grizzlies (6) BEAT Minnesota Timberwolves (11), 93-86

Wolves, Griz, Barnett Kia: An in-game preview review of the Wolves' win or loss vs. the Memphis Griz

OK, that about does it. This game is done. This loss hurts. Any loss against the Jazz, Houston, or Memphis just guts the team's chances of making the playoffs. The Griz entered this game on a bad stretch of ball and the Wolves were unable to close the deal because Kevin Love can't win games all by his lonesome.

Despite a recent stretch of poor play, the only way Memphis is going to miss the playoffs at this point is if Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay butt heads, or if Gilbert Arenas organizes a high-stakes card game.

Minnesota, however, now sits at 24-27, 1.5 games behind the Suns. We can't count them out completely at this point, even without Ricky Rubio, so this was the best possible outcome for the Suns.

- Dallas Mavericks (5) BEAT Houston Rockets (9), 90-81

According to Mavs Moneyball, The Dream Shake doesn't believe in recaps.

The Mavericks also seem to be pretty solidly in the playoffs barring a massive collapse, so a win by them doesn't hurt Phoenix.

Houston, however, is the team directly in front of the Suns in the standings after last night's games. Every Rockets loss is good for the Suns, who are still without their starting backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin.

- Oklahoma City Thunder (1) BEAT Portland Trailblazers (12), 109-95

Portland Trail Blazers 95, Oklahoma City Thunder 109 Final: Westbrook Destroys Blazers, Durant Cashes Too

Russell Westbrook destroyed everybody the Blazers sent against him and the defensive breakdowns he caused left the floor open for everybody else. The Thunder handle the Blazers like a long-haul trucker handles a ham sandwich.

The Trailblazers aren't completely out of the race just yet, but they do appear to be in full-on tank mode, and this loss brings them one game closer to the lottery.

So fret not, Suns fans. All is not lost. Falling to the Spurs may sting (a lot), but it doesn't mean the season is over. The Suns are basically in the same spot they were in before Tuesday's games. In the end, the loss is merely a missed opportunity. There will be plenty more to come, starting today against the Los Angeles Clippers. We're running out of time, however, and the Suns can't afford to miss on many more.

Denver, Minnesota and Utah are also in action tonight, so make sure to cheer on the Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Bobcats and Boston Celtics and hope they can give the Suns a little help.

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PHOENIX — The Western Conference is an unforgiving place. Aside from a defensive hiccup against Minnesota, the Suns’ only other losses since the All-Star break have come at the hands of four of...

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PHOENIX — Although it’s a bit presumptuous to assume that the Phoenix Suns would have won the 2007 NBA championship if Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw had not been suspended for leaving...

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Mar. 27, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward (21) Tim Duncan takes a shot against Phoenix Suns center (4) Marcin Gortat in the first quarter at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Tonight the San Antonio Spurs exhibited the divide between the Western Conference elite and the rest of the crowded bunch desperately fighting for a spot in the postseason. The Suns could have beaten many Western Conference foes tonight with their offensive output, but their defensive deficiencies were exploited by a clear NBA title contender.

Both teams came out gunning in the first. Tim Duncan scored the first 7 points for the Spurs with a variety of arc-less shots. Shannon Brown came up huge with 14 points. With the Spurs up 29-23, a 3 by Brown and a 2 by Nash cut the lead to 1 at the end of the quarter.

In the second, with the Spurs leading 42-36, Sebastian Telfair ran off 9 consecutive points to keep the Suns close, but the Suns defense couldn't stop a variety of Spurs from scoring at will. A Duncan bucket stretched the San Antonio lead to 52-43. But consecutive hoops by Telfair and Gortat reduced the Spurs' lead to 3. Both squads traded hoops until the midway break interrupted, with the Spurs leading 62-57. The trio of Gortat, Brown and Telfair led the Suns with 44 of the Suns' 57 first half points.

In the third, Shannon Brown continued his torrid shooting with a 3 and a 2 to start the quarter, tying the game at 64. The Suns went on 10-0 run to take a 69-64 lead. But the Spurs, led by Manu Ginobili, erased the Suns' lead. The Suns fought back, outscoring the Spurs 26-22, yet still trailed by a point at the end of 3.

In the 4th, the Spurs outscored the Suns 12-4, as the second unit led by Ginobili and Tony Parker scored at will while the Suns bench dwellers missed 8 of 10 field goal attempts. After a timeout Steve Nash and Channing Frye turned the ball over as the Spurs stretched their lead to 11. A Kawhi Leonard 3 gave the Spurs a 12 point lead with 5 minutes left. The Suns could get no closer than 5 for the duration.

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH BULLETS:

  • Jared Dudley registered 2 point performance tonight. And it wasn't due to anything he did or didn't do, but rather the the career night night Shannon Brown had. Dudley has stated that he lets the game come to him, but tonight he waited ... and waited ... and nothing ever came to him.
  • Shannon Brown went for a career high 32 points while starting for the injured Grant Hill, hitting on 5-10 3's.
  • Marcin Gortat scored 21 and grabbed 14 rebounds
  • Steve Nash hit for 16 while dishing 8 assists
  • Sebastian Telfair anchored the bench with 11 points
  • Grant Hill was sorely missed on the defensive end, which, of course, doesn't need to be stated

Alvin Gentry

"We weren't very good defensively ... we had a couple of crucial turnovers ... Tony's (Parker) been playing like an MVP. At the end of the games he does a good job of controlling games ... We over dribbled on too many plays ... We didn't do a very good job of flowing our offense ... down the stretch we gave up too many offensive rebounds ..."

This was a solid punch to the gut. The Suns could not stop the Spurs tonight. They competed, which constitutes a very, very, very small victory, but the outcome was a loss, which is a very, very, very large blow to their playoff hopes, especially on a night when 9th seeded Houston lost. There's no time to cry, no reason to kick the cat or give your girlfriend the silent treatment; the Clippers are up tomorrow night.




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