(SB Nation Arizona, Seth Pollack) After weeks of important games where Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry refused to use the "must win" tag, he broke down and admitted that he told his team that yes, Tuesday's game against the Utah Jazz, does indeed qualify. Of course, he also pointed out that while they might not be mathematicians, they had pretty much figured that out on their own.
Grant Hill suffered a setback with his knee after returning to the court on the 13th after missing the prior two weeks due to a minor surgery. He's not played since re-injuring his knee making a cut early in the San Antonio game on the 14th.
Hill was looking good to return Saturday against Denver but after his pregame routine he failed to pass several tests conducted by the training staff. He's experiencing pain in the knee and hasn't practiced since Saturday morning. He's officially being called a game-time decision for the Jazz game.
"We've been cautious and we'll continue to be cautious. If it feels good and passes a series of tests and there's no problems then we'll go, and if not I think it would be selfish of me to think that I can help the team if I'm not right," Hill said Monday.
Channing Frye injured his right shoulder in Saturday's loss to the Denver Nuggets in the second quarter. He suffered a subluxation similar to the injury that kept him out of seven games last March. Frye was not with the team on Monday because his wife went into labor around 3:00 a.m.
"That's one of those deals where in the next 36 hours we'll have a better feeling for what it is," Gentry said about Frye's shoulder injury.
Frye will be evaluated and if there's a chance he can play, he will join the team in Utah. If it's clear he won't be able to play, he will likely stay in Phoenix to be with his wife and new baby. Coach Gentry assumes that he would fly to Salt Lake City on Tuesday morning, if it looks like he can play.
Two games remain of 66 and the outlook is crystal clear for the Suns, win in Utah Tuesday then win again at home versus a Spurs team that probably won't have much incentive with the #1 seed wrapped up. The Suns could also potentially receive help from the Blazers on Thursday, but that seems unlikely since the Blazers have the look of a team that already has their cabana clothes packed for tropical vacations.
It's all very simple and it's all on the Suns to do it for themselves.
Standings and recaps from yesterday's games after the jump.
|San Antonio Spurs||63||47-16||.746|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||64||46-18||.719|
|Los Angeles Lakers||65||41-24||.631|
|Los Angeles Clippers||64||40-24||.625|
|Portland Trail Blazers||64||28-36||.438|
|Golden State Warriors||64||23-41||.359|
|New Orleans Hornets||64||20-44||.313|
The Miami Heat rallied in the 4th quarter and eliminated the Houston Rockets from the western conference playoffs on Sunday.
With Dwyane Wade and Chis Bosh out, LeBron James carried the Heat, scoring 11 of his game high 32 points in the 4th quarter and also added 8 rebounds and 5 assists in the victory.
In a game that had no direct impact on the Suns, the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Lakers, moving the Spurs one step closer to the #1 seed and hopefully allowing them to rest players and generally not be overly concerned with winning when they play the Suns on Wednesday.
It was the most unlikely of comebacks, so it makes sense that it came from the most unlikely of places. Down by 17 near the start of the 4th quarter, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to try a lineup they never tried before. Ramon Sessions and Pau Gasol joined Steve Blake, Devin Ebanks, and Jordan Hill as Mike Brown searched under every rock for just a little bit of energy. He finally found some. When Kobe Bryant replaced Ramon Sessions with 8 minutes to go in the quarter, the Lakers were still down 13. That lineup would play the rest of the way, and at game's end, the result was a 114-106 double overtime victory.
Of course, the game will be best remembered for Metta World Peace's cowardly cheap shot on James Harden and subsequent lame "apology" for it. A lengthy suspension is in MWP's future and he richly deserves it.
Four days left in this crazy season and it's all on the line for the Suns. Not bad for a team that was left for dead by pretty much everyone in February.
(This is a post sponsored by Adidas)
Steve Nash is known for being a great athlete. But for those of us who have watched him throughout the years, we have also come to know him as a man who takes great pride in the appearance of his hair. We follically-challenged often find ourselves either envious or complimentary of a good head of hair. Nash has good hair, good enough to experiment over the years:
(the young rook out to make an impression)
(the Spice girls years)
(little mullet action)
(look at the body on those flowing, locks! Steve definitely uses conditioner)
(mature yet stylish in a Roman sort of way)
Images courtesy of U.S. Presswire & Getty Images