Center of the Sun: The Phoenix Suns are a lottery team for the first time this season in the standings

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Suns got knocked down... Can they get back up again?

Is this where the team was supposed to be anyway? Did the media and fans create a self-fulfilling prophecy that took 63 games to finally come to fruition? After 62 consecutive games of mouth watering playoff action the Phoenix Suns (36-27) find themselves in uncharted territory, this season, with their backs against the wall and in the rear view mirror of eight other Western Conference teams...

Game Recaps

vs. Los Angeles Clippers - L (104-96) Full Recap

vs. Oklahoma City Thunder - W (128-122) Full Recap

@ Golden State Warriors - L (113-107) Full Recap

@ Los Angeles Clippers - L (112-105) Full Recap

All season, at least at the beginning, everyone that talked Suns Basketball have been fixated on the lottery. Now they have just that. The Memphis Grizzlies have leapfrogged the Suns for now and are in the playoffs as of today.

Does that mean the Suns are down and out?

Not necessarily. They are down for the moment, but they have a lot of positives in the very near future to lean on during this tough time. Two straight losses to quality playoff teams out west hurts them right now, but the return of Eric Bledsoe this week brings hope as does their next stretch of games that includes 8/11 opponents either at or below .500 right now.

Losing three out of four games to three different teams that are all solidly in the playoffs right now is nothing to be ashamed of. They played it tough and close in all three losses and easily could have gone 3-1 if it was not for a few horrid third quarters...

Key Stat

-40

The Suns were outscored 35-75 in the third quarter in losses to the Clippers and Warriors last week. In both games the Suns held substantial leads (up 11 on the Clippers at the half) only to squander them after the intermission. On the season the Suns worst scoring offense comes in the third quarter where they average 25.3 points per game. That is good for 14th in the NBA according to Team Rankings and the only non-Top 6 in the league scoring quarter for the Suns this season.

Quote of the Week

"It was a great win for us against the number one team in the West, them and San Antonio, one of the two. We needed this win, it's a much needed win. They came out strong in the second half, in the third quarter and I was just feeling it, man. Guys were finding me in transition, finding me off screens, and I was just being really aggressive." -- Gerald Green on his big night

2014 NBA Draft Update

Surrogate Watch continues and the Suns have three first round picks with the current projections, with one lottery pick, their own. A slight change of pace from pre-season projections. Here is the update on how the three picks look right now:

Minnesota Timberwolves (31-31) -- No. 13 Overall (Pick stays in Minnesota based on Protections) James Young

Phoenix Suns (36-27) -- No. 14 Overall (Pick stays in Phoenix based on Protections) Sam Dekker, Sophomore Forward Wisconsin

Washington Wizards (33-30) -- No. 18 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) Clint Capela, Swiss Forward

Indiana Pacers (46-17) -- No. 28 Overall (Pick goes to Phoenix based on Protections) Chris Walker, Freshman Forward, Florida

Keep following along here to get updates and information on the 2014 NBA Draft Class and more.

News & Notes

  • Gerald Green scored a career-high 41 points in a win over the Thunder
  • Eric Bledsoe was announced to return to action between the 10th-12th

Previewing the Week Ahead:

Wednesday, March 12th vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-40)

Friday, March 14th @ Boston Celtics (22-41)

Sunday, March 16th @ Toronto Raptors (35-26)

Well, that cast of opponents looks a lot softer than the week before. What do ya say?

This is the Suns time to regain some momentum and get back on track with their winning ways. The Cavaliers and Celtics are both struggling, going a combined 6-14 in their last 20 games combined. This season the Suns are 2-0 against both the Cavaliers and the Celtics. Nice opportunity to get back some in the win column. The Raptors have clearly been a better team since the Rudy Gay Trade as DeMarr DeRozan has become a legitimate All-Star level player on a night-to-night basis for them. That will be a unique challenge across the northern border.

Prediction: Going out on a limb and saying the Suns use last week as motivation, rise above with Eric Bledsoe on board, and run the pee-wee gauntlet 3-0 this week...

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