Western Conference Playoff Report: April 15th

Christian Petersen

All good things must come to an end.

I love the Phoenix Suns and I've loved the Phoenix Suns for the last 25 years of my life.

Some of my happiest moments have involved watching Suns teams win 50+ games and compete for championships, so for me the 2012-13 edition of the Phoenix Suns was basically the beginning of a dark ages for my basketball fandom.

Last night as I watched the final seconds of the competitive portion of the Suns season tick away my wife asked me how I was doing.  Without as much as flinching a smile came over my face and my response was direct and to the point - I feel great.

And there are so many reasons I feel great.

For one, those dark ages I referenced above?  They ended almost as quickly as they started.  I know a small faction of this community did think this was a good basketball team from the start - and bully for you - but the vast majority of us did expect somewhere in the neighborhood of 17-30 wins.  Frankly I didn't expect the Suns to be in a position like THIS until the 2015-2016 season at the earliest - and even then I thought we'd be fighting for the 8 seed with 43 wins and a gaggle of developed lottery picks, not nearing 50 wins with a dynamic backcourt.

Then there's Goran Dragic.  The Slovenian guard I used to watch dribble into the corner like a middle schooler in 2008 is now a fire breathing destroyer of worlds who's bound for his first All-NBA team.

And Eric Bledsoe.  From the shadow of Chris Paul, Bledsoe is a flashback to a time where Kevin Johnson would roam the backcourt for the Suns, knife his way through the trees, and slide in for a seemingly impossible layup.

Perhaps more important than any of that there are Ryan McDonough and Jeff Hornacek.  For the first time in seemingly forever, the Suns have a coach and GM who are on the rise and seemingly of the same mind.  Both guys seem ready to guide the Suns to the next level.

Really there is so much more - the meteoric rises of Gerald Green and Markieff Morris come to mind - so this morning I just want you all to be happy.  Be grateful.  The rosterbation and the endless summer discussions of what it's going to take to see the Suns go from good to great can wait a couple days.

Appreciate these guys.  Appreciate what they've done.

Monday April 14th Key Western Conference Results:

Memphis Grizzlies 97 Phoenix Suns 91 (Recap) -   For the first 22 minutes of the game last night it really looked like the Suns were a broken and defeated team. The quotes from the aftermath of the Mavericks game gave way to a matching effort and the Suns trailed 46-33 with 2:27 left in the 2nd quarter.  Then it what was probably the last of many "Suns flashes" we watched in the previous 80 games, the Suns went on a 20-4 run to take a 53-50 lead in the early part of the third quarter.

The game basically settled into a slug fest.  In the 4th quarter alone there were a ridiculous 17 lead changes - including one on an improbable Miles Plumlee jump shot (are those words allowed to be used together like that?).  In the end a few ill advised turnovers and a barrage of missed shots put the Suns away but they competed their asses off.

Zach Randolph led Memphis with a million points while Mike Miller hit every three pointer since the dawn of the three point shot.  Markieff Morris led the Suns with 21 points off the bench.

Current Western Conference Standings:

TEAM W L PCT GB L10 STREAK
1.San Antonio
62 19 .765 - 7-3 LOST 1
2. Oklahoma City
58 23 .716 4
6-4 LOST 2
3. LA Clippers
56 24 .700 5.5 7-3 WON 1
4. Houston 54 27 .663 8 5-5 WON 2
5. Portland
53 28 .654 9 8-2 WON 4
6. Golden State
50 31 .617 12 6-4 WON 1
7. Dallas
49 32 .605 13 7-3 WON 1
8. Memphis
49 32 .605 13
6-4 WON 4
- SUNS
47 34 .580 15 5-5 LOST 3

Tuesday April 16th Western Conference Games of Significance:

None.  As you may have noticed the Suns are eliminated from playoff contention. Since that is in fact the case, this will be my last Western Conference Playoff Report of the season.  I appreciate you all opting to suffer through my unique brand of ridiculous writing and go on this journey with me.  This is probably a good time to tell you that the last 3 days of "recap" links have just been stupid videos of things completely unrelated to basketball.  Good job not clicking them.

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