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I know this may feel like sacrilege, but the Phoenix Suns really, really, really need the Los Angeles Lakers to finish their home schedule with a win to give their fans a warm fuzzy for the summer... and help the Suns get closer to the playoffs despite losing two straight games.

The sitch

See, the Lakers play this little team called the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have the same number of wins as the Suns (47), but three games remaining vs. the Suns' two games.

Because the Grizzlies won the season series from the Suns, the Suns have to finish with MORE wins than the Grizz. That would require the Suns to win both of their remaining games, one of which is against the Grizz, while the Grizz lose at least two of three.

While the Suns can take care of one of those losses, someone else has to take care of the other.

The options are the Lakers and the Mavericks. But since the Suns dream scenario includes beating the Grizz, the Mavericks will have already sewn up the 7th seed before the two teams play on Wednesday night. That means the Mavs will (a) likely rest some guys and (b) lose the game, no matter what since the Mavs won't care about the outcome.

The Lakers

Unfortunately, the Lakers are running a bit short-handed. Even more short-handed than two weeks ago when the Suns laid an egg in the Staples Center and left with an embarrassing loss.

They have since lost Chris Kaman, who put up All-Star numbers in that game against the Suns - 28 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists. But even more disappointing, they have lost 6 straight games since beating the Suns and declaring themselves 'haters' and threatening to beat a number of playoff hopefuls.

They have lost to the Blazers, Mavericks, Clippers, Rockets and Warriors over the past two weeks. Unfortunately, it appears the only team they'd negatively impacted is the Suns. :(

The Lakers do have a bit of incentive to win because tonight is their last home game of the year, and they get a chance to mess up another team before bowing out and going on vacation early.

Lakers - Grizzlies

The Lakers have played the Grizzlies tight all year - losing by 3 in November, winning by 4 in November, and then losing by just 5 in late February.

Root for the Lakers tonight, as they try to go out with a bang!

Suns blow another double digit lead as Dallas puts Phoenix playoff hopes half into the grave.

Hey guys.  So that was tough, huh?

After losing to the Mavericks last night the Suns playoff hopes are basically on life support.  Barring a shocking Memphis loss to the Lakers tonight the only scenario that sees the Suns make the playoffs is this:

  • Suns beat Memphis on Monday night - something they haven't done all season even when Marc Gasol wasn't playing.
  • Suns beat Kings on the last day of the season.
  • Dallas beats Memphis on the last day of the season.  This will likely be made 10 times more complicated by the fact that a Suns win over Memphis on Monday would clinch the #7 seed for Dallas so they'd have almost no motivation to roll Dirk Nowitzki or Monta Ellis out for any real playing time. 

If like me you're a Cardinals fan you probably recognize that scenario as the basketball version of 'hope Mike Glennon can lead his 5 win Bucs to a win in the Superdome over the Saints who haven't lost at home all year'.

My advice?  Get in a good place with it.  This is a fun basketball team but by no means was a finished product.  If the Suns don't make it they basically traded 4-6 games with the Spurs for the right to move up 7 spots in the draft.

Saturday April 12th Key Western Conference Results:

Dallas Mavericks 101 Phoenix Suns 98 (Recap) - At the 5:56 mark of the 3rd quarter the Suns led the Mavericks 69-56 and things seemed all awesome.  Over the course of the next 1 minute and 13 seconds Dallas carved 8 points off the lead and continued until the Suns were up just 3 going into the 4th.  That 4th quarter saw Dallas open up a 8 point lead but the Suns hadn't quit quite yet.

Down the stretch the Suns had their chances.  After a missed jumper from Dirk Nowitzki with 52 seconds to go, and the Suns trailing by 2, Dallas fouled Eric Bledsoe about 90 feet from the basket.  But Bledsoe - who had his second straight awesome game (29 points on 11/15 shooting, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals) missed the second free throw and the Suns remained behind.  The door opened for the Suns again when the incendiary Vince Carter missed a three but with a chance to take a lead Gerald Green took an off-balance early offense 10 footer that missed.

Because torture if fun, Monta Ellis missed one free throw on two consecutive possessions and gave the Suns two shots to tie.  On the first try Eric Bledsoe had his layup comfortably rejected by Brandan Wright (who had 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks) while the second possession was a Markieff Morris three point attempt for some reason.

Game, set, match.

Current Western Conference Standings:

1.San Antonio
62 18 .775 - 8-2 WON 2
2. Oklahoma City
58 21 .734 3.5
7-3 WON 3
3. LA Clippers
56 24 .700 6 7-3 WON 1
4. Houston 53 27 .663 9 5-5 WON 1
5. Portland
52 28 .650 10 7-3 WON 3
6. Golden State
49 30 .620 12.5 6-4 WON 1
7. Dallas
49 32 .600 13.5 7-3 WON 1
8. Memphis
47 32 .595 14.5
6-4 WON 2
47 33 .588 15 6-4 LOST 2

Sunday April 13th Western Conference Games of Significance:

Grizzlies @ Lakers - Since the Lakers beat the Suns two weeks ago they've lost 6 consecutive games - 5 of them by double digits to Western Conference playoff teams (Portland, Clippers, Houston, Golden State, Dallas).  So you know, that makes me feel great.  Additional note that makes me feel good - Memphis hasn't lost to an under .500 team since losing the Cavs in overtime on February 9th.  I would be really, really surprised if the Grizzlies front line didn't eat the Lakers for lunch, blow them out, and come to Phoenix fairly well rested.

It’s the small things that decide games in the NBA. That has never been more true than in the Phoenix Suns’ 101-98 loss to the Dallas Mavericks tonight. Eric Bledsoe misses a free throw with a chance...

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Prepare to root for Mike D’Antoni and Steve Nash one more time. And for likely the first time, Phoenix Suns fans might find themselves rooting for the Los Angeles Lakers. With Phoenix’s...

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