Western Conference Playoff Report: April 3rd

Chubby Jared is Chubby - Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Blowing 17 point leads is not nearly as fun as most would think.

I'm Amy Santiago Scott Howard and I've got something to say.  As I feel that the English language cannot fully capture the depth and complexity of my thoughts I'll simply say that last night's Suns/Clippers game was cartoony thumbs down and made many of us feel face with Xs for the eyes.  But really folks this is no reason for all of us to start losing our minds.

The last two games have been admittedly rough, the Suns lost in two completely different ways - both painful in their own special way - and now again sit on the outside of the playoff race.  Because you know, tiebreakers.  Also there are just 7 games left in the season and you may have heard the Suns schedule is about as difficult as Case #52ABX-32QJ.  So why you ask am I so upbeat this morning?  These games are fun.

The Suns might not be in the playoffs yet, hell odds would suggest they won't make the playoffs at all but make no mistake, these last 7 games are playoff basketball games.  In these last 7 games we'll get the opportunity to learn more about this group of players than we have all season.  It will be a test of their mettle that the majority of the players on the roster have never faced before and if they want to extend their season more than a few of these guys is going to have to take their game up a couple notches.

If the Suns make the playoffs it will be because they earned it - if they don't it will be because they didn't.  So quiet your mouth sirens and enjoy the ride.  Eyes closed, head first, can't lose.

Wednesday April 2nd Key Western Conference Results:

Los Angeles Clippers 112 Phoenix Suns 108 (Recap) -  With 1:31 to go in the 3rd quarter the Suns led the Clippers by a score of 91-74 and had the ball.  Here's how their next 12 possessions went:

  • Eric Bledsoe turnover (throws the ball right to Chris Paul). 
  • Markieff Morris missed jumper.
  • Marcus Morris passes up an open corner three to dribble around and take a contested 17 footer he misses.
  • Gerald Green has his end of quarter 3 pointer blocked.
  • Gerald Green makes 1 of 2 free throws.
  • Markieff Morris attempts a hook shot for some reason.
  • Marcus Morris travels in the corner.
  • Gerald Green misses a three.
  • Marcus Morris misses a jumper.
  • Goran Dragic is blocked by Jared Dudley (in real life), ball bounces out to Channing Frye who hits a three as the shot clock is running down.
  • Eric Bledsoe misses an early in the shot clock 3 three. 
  • Miles Plumlee tries another hook shot. 

That was about 5 minutes of basketball.  In that period the Suns shot 1/10, turned the ball over twice, and saw their lead go from 17 to 6.  It wasn't that they missed - it's how they missed and the shots they took.  Ugly, unorganized offense rarely works.

Other stuff happened and you can read about it in Dave's recap (here's a link) but for me that 5 minute period was the game.

Minnesota Timberwolves 102 Memphis Grizzlies 88 (Recap) -  Just before the Suns tipped off their game with the Clippers, the T'Wolves were closing out a very helpful rout of the Grizzlies.  What a different time that was.  Kevin Love led the way for Minnesota with a 24 point, 16 rebound, and 10 assist triple double and settled nicely into the role of spoiler.  Memphis got a combined 11 points on 4 of 23 shooting from Mike Conley and Zach Randolph which qualifies as a recipe for a Grizzly loss.  Shabazz Muhammad had 8 points for Minnesota - which really I'm shoehorning in here because I still can't believe Shabazz Muhammad basically single-handily took a game from the Suns in late February.

San Antonio Spurs 111 Golden State Warriors 90 (Recap) - Maybe the Warriors were tired from playing an overtime game with the Mavericks the night before or maybe the Spurs are really just this dominant and this good.  Or maybe it's both.  As much as I make fun of the Full Squaders they were without Lee, Bogut, AND Iguodala.  That along with Steph Curry shooting 5/15 and Jermaine O'Neal playing just 4 minutes while he obtained an exuberance upgrade resulted in the Warriors getting smoked and the Spurs win streak ballooning to 19.  San Antonio hasn't lost a freaking game since February 21st against the Suns.

Current Western Conference Standings:

TEAM W L PCT GB L10 STREAK
1.San Antonio
59 16 .787 - 10-0 WON 19
2. Oklahoma City
54 19 .740 4
8-2 WON 2
3. LA Clippers
54 22 .707 5.5 8-2 WON 4
4. Houston 49 25 .662 9.5 5-5 LOST 3
5. Portland
49 27 .645 10.5 6-4 WON 4
6. Golden State
46 29 .613 13 5-5 LOST 1
7. Dallas
44 31 .587 15 6-4 LOST 1
8. Memphis
44 31 .587 15
6-4 LOST 1
- SUNS
44 31 .587 15 7-3 LOST 2

Thursday April 3rd Western Conference Games of Significance:

Mavericks @ Clippers  - Is anyone else just assuming Blake Griffin rests tonight and the Mavs cruise to a victory?  I can't be the only one.  My suggestion for your night is to spend it having a cheap dinner, watching basketball, and boning down.  Can I say bone down in this post?  I guess they said it on network television so I'm probably good to go.  Anyway.  My enemy is now my friend, go Clippers.


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