The Suns road to the playoffs hit a big bump in the form of the Memphis Grizzlies but they're not dead yet. This week we discuss that, Grant Hill's pending return to the lineup, and "mow over" some other happenings in the NBA.
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It's Friday the 13th! Don't be scared, but I'd watch my back if I were you ...
Nothing scary to report on the playoff standings this morning, at least, as only the higher and lower seeds played last night. Memphis followed up it's big win over Phoenix with a loss to San Antonio, the Clippers beat Minny and Dallas beat Golden State.
Here's the standings today:
The Suns are still two games back of anything, but this weekend will tell a whole lot about the Suns' future. While the Suns are playing tough roadies, the other teams bunched around the Suns will play some tough games as well.
Suns face Houston, while Utah faces New Orleans (with Gordon) and Denver faces the Lakers. Hope for good news tonight.
Steve Nash has made it public that he wants to return to the Phoenix Suns. But there is a caveat. He wants some more talent to play with. Nash's feelings are clearly understandable. It would make very little sense for him to sign on for the remainder of his career carrying a .500 or less ball club on his creaky back for 82 games.
We have all understood that ever since the brief Porter/Shaq debacle that the front office has realized that keeping Steven happy is an excellent policy to maintain. Now more than ever the idea rings true. The Suns, with no starting PG waiting in the wings are stuck creating organizational decisions based on the desires of their 38-year old future Hall of Fame point guard.
It's pretty clear that Nash is as close to a player/GM as there is in the league. As such, this off season should be busy for the Phoenix Suns. There are a few dollars in the coffer and plenty of needs on the court. The question I am considering is:
"Who of the current Suns on expiring deals does Steve Nash want to bring back for next season?"
Well - As you could probably tell from my tone in last night's post game coverage, I feel with the loss last night to the Grizzlies - the Suns have severely damaged their playoff hopes. They now sit two games outside of the playoff picture in the 10th spot in the Western Conference as Utah's win last night over Houston leap-frogs them over the Suns into the 9th position.
There are only 8 games left in the regular season and all of them against quality opponents. You be the judge... I won't lose all hope until they are statistically eliminated but the Suns face the most difficult schedule to finish out the season among WC playoff hopefuls. Add to that the recent struggles of the starting unit and I'm not sure they have enough left in the tank to make a miracle push.
Believe me. I hope I'm wrong. More after the jump.
Here are your Western Conference Standings via NBA.com:
For a full scoreboard of last night's game - check out SI.com's cool little page here
Now for the pertinent West games last night?
Jazz Vs. Rockets Post Game Thread -- The only thing left was to dunk on Chase again, but Jeremy is injured - SLC Dunk
Game 59: Utah Jazz 103 @ Houston Rockets 91
As a team the Jazz shot 51.3 fg%, went 6/14 from downtown (42.9 3pt%), and were able to overcome Houston going 25/29 from their Free throw line. For the bad guys they were paced by Goran Dragic who finished with 19 and 7, and missed all 5 of his threes. Chase Budinger went 1/7 from downtown. Kyle Lowry went 1/3. Over all, I'll take it.
Rudy Gay was being guarded by Jared Dudley because Grant Hill, Phoenix's best perimeter defender, was out with an injury. While Dudley is a decent defender, he can't hope to contain Gay. However, prior to last night's game, Rudy had yet to break the 30-point threshold this season. As of late, the Grizzlies have relied on a balanced attack, would he be aggressive knowing that he could get anything he wanted against his defender? Rudy's line for the night: 32 points (13-20 FG, 6-6 FT), 7 rebounds (4 offensive), 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block.
Denver probably didn't need to knock out Kevin Love to pick up this win. Nonetheless, it was an important win for Denver, one that moved them into a three-way tie for the final three playoff spots in the West. In Love's absence, Anthony Randolph and Derrick Williams combined for 55 points. I am as terrified as you are. Nuggets win 113-107
On the Eastern Conference side of things... Who cares? Just kidding - if you're that interested check out Tom Ziller's great post at the hub -
NBA Playoff Picture: Do We Have Our 8 In The East? - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
What ramifications did Wednesday's action have on the NBA playoff race?
Aaaand if you have ADD - here's some shiny video for yesterday's action -