PHOENIX - MAY 23: Dancers for the Phoenix Suns perform during Game Three of the Western Conference Finals against Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 NBA Playoffs at US Airways Center on May 23, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
On a night when the Suns did themselves no good except for giving their starters rest in a blowout loss in San Antonio, they maintained their 9th place standing in the Western Conference due to a 103-98 Utah Jazz loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Neither the Rockets or Nuggets, each 1 1/2 games ahead of the Suns after last night's loss, played last night but they play a home and away back to back tonight and tomorrow with the first game at 5PM MST in Denver this evening. Whatever the result of that game, the Suns will gain 1/2 game and only be 1 game back going into tomorrow night's game against Portland.
Given that the Nuggets hold the tie-breaker edge over the Suns on the strength of their 2-0 record against Phoenix so far, with one game remaining between the teams, it would be best if the Nuggets swept the two games.
Over at Denver Stiffs, hey, they want to sweep these two games! Let's be friends, Nuggets. We both make it and the Rockets and Jazz are the odd teams out. Deal?
Rockets Vs. Nuggets preview: Nuggets face biggest back to back of the season
You see, the Nuggets can't afford to lose both. Splitting is also an iffy proposition. Truth be told the Nuggets need to sweep these two games to realistically cement their playoff positioning. Win these two games and you are a full two games up on the Rockets WITH the tie breaker. Split and you are no better off than you are now. Lose both and the playoffs start looking like a mighty grim hope. So ... no pressure right?
Current Western Conference standings, courtesy of nba.com: