This game was never going to be a contest, as it seems the Suns waived the white flags before even leaving the locker room. Not only were the Suns without starting point guard Goran Dragic (ankle?), they were also without starting center Jermaine O'Neal (shin?). This left Kendall Marshall running the point along with Scola and Morris in the post, and Hamed Haddadi seeing extended minutes as the backup.
The Denver Nuggets were able to easily handle the Suns, with Wilson Chandler (21 points) and Andre Iguodala (20 points) leading the charge. The Suns were led by Luis Scola and his 17 points and 11 rebounds. Scola has been the one player who consistently gave their all even throughout this dire season, and it's only fitting that he continued his effort until the very end.
The good news is Kendall Marshall had a career high 14 assists as a starter, with zero turnovers...However, he also scored only 2 points on 1-5 shooting. Here's hoping Marshall continues to evolve his game in the off-season to become more than a one dimensional threat. Haddadi also contributed 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in his minutes...Definitely not bad for a third string center who was originally just trade filler.
With this comes the end of a long, painful season that many Suns fans will do their best to erase from their memories. The Suns finish 25-57, the worst record since their inaugural season in 1968-69.
As if the Suns' record isn't painful enough, the basketball gods saw fit to deal one more blow to Suns' fans tonight. Not only did the Suns fall to the 4th lottery position after the Cleveland Cavaliers
tanked lost to the Charlotte Bobcats, the Utah Jazz fell to the Memphis Grizzlies which now officially puts the L.A. Lakers in the 8th seed of the playoffs, regardless of whether they win or lose against the Houston Rockets tonight.
The Suns will now end up with the Miami Heat's first round pick instead, which is likely to be the 29th or 30th pick in the first round.
Hang in their Suns' fans...and stick around! We at Bright Side of the Sun will be covering all of the off season excitement of the coming draft and free agency period. We'll have a lot to talk about over this off-season, so be sure to check back regularly for all the latest news!
It's always darkest just before the dawn...and the Suns should be rising very soon.
The Suns head to Denver for their season finale. The biggest reason I can think of to watch is that this is the last time you'll get to see some of these players in Suns' uniforms and the last Suns' basketball you'll be able to watch for ~6 months. That's about it. This will be a matchup between teams with reciprocal records playing a largely meaningless game, albeit for completely opposite reasons.
When: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 5:00 PM local time (8:00 EST)
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
Watch/Listen: TV: FSAZ, Radio: KTAR will not have the game, check AM 860
The Nuggets won in Phoenix 108-93 on March 11th at US Airways Center. The game was actually close until Denver pulled away in the fourth quarter. Kosta Koufos led the charge with 22 points (on 10-11 shooting) and 10 rebounds. Corey Brewer added 20 points off the bench. The Suns were carried by Wesley Johnson (18 points) and Marcus Morris (16 points). Shocking that we lost based on those two providing the bulk of the scoring punch. Bewilderment abounds.
The Nuggets actually have even less to play for than the Suns, depending on one's perspective. While the Suns may still be able to improve their lottery odds with a loss, the Nuggets will either be the third or fourth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. Either a Nuggets win or a Clippers loss gives Denver #3. Danilo Gallinari is out and Kenneth Faried is unlikely to play while nursing an injury. This seems like a perfect rest game, since the Nuggets will have playoff games at home to give their fans an appropriate send off.
Phoenix Suns: 25-56
Kendall Marshall will start for the Suns tonight as Goran Dragic will sit due to injury - and this time it has been verified by Dragic that this is a legitimate injury (as opposed to the "fatigue" malarkey). Exit interviews are done and the Suns are probably looking forward to the end of this season just as much as the fans. Sometimes a good mercy killing is in order. After the brio and vim displayed by the team in its final home game, where they closed out the campaign in exemplary fashion, there is only damage to be done by a repeat effort tonight.
What To Watch For:
Kendall Marshall? He will be making his third career start and went for double digit assists in the first two. Can he extend the streak? That's all I've got.
2013 Lottery Watch
Real simple. If the Suns lose and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Charlotte Bobcats the two teams will split the combined lottery odds of the third and fourth positions. Either a Suns win or a Cavs loss will leave the Suns in fourth.
Real simple. The Suns need a Los Angeles Lakers loss to the Houston Rockets AND a Utah Jazz win over the Memphis Grizzlies to get the Lakers lottery pick. Not the most likely scenario considering LA is at home and Utah is on the road. The difference between #14 and #30 will be decided tonight.
The Final Word(s):
The season has mercifully come to an end. After plodding along on their road to infamy this inferior incarnation of our once beloved Suns will never take the court again as presently constituted. Now (hopefully) comes the good part. More attrition of the malignant tumor this team has become should come in short order. Player and personnel decisions are likely to be made with haste. The draft lottery will have a level of intrigue that most Suns' fans have never experienced. The draft will be captivating. The free agency period will likely have the activity of a whirling dervish. The offseason should be a blast.
The season is finally over. Time for the fun to begin.