Hope is a funny thing. I think we all rationally know that the Suns' playoff hopes died last week at the hands of the Mavs and it wasn't as if that loss (being one of six straight) was an aberration.
Yet all it takes is one win over a mediocre (at best) OKC team that, frankly, played worse last night than the other 3 times we beat them this season. Combine that with an expected Mavs loss to the Lakers today and our boys are only 5 games back with a chance to cut that to 4 1/2 with win in Oakland.
The analyst side of my brain, which pretty much dominates 90% of what I do on a daily basis, clearly understands that 4 1/2 games with 15 to go is too much to make up for a team that isn't exactly hitting its stride. And yet, that little bit of hope still refuses to die.
Obviously, the team has the right attitude. One game at a time. You can't worry about anything else except the opponent in front of you. Go out and play hard and try and get a win and see what happens.
That opponent tonight is certainly one you can expect to beat and yet I wouldn't be surprised at all if the result is a loss. The Warriors are tough at home and certainly can and want to run with the Suns.
They look to be without rebounding machine Andris Biedrins tonight (ankle) but are seeing Scooter Ellis round back into form after his off-season incident.
Ellis had 29 points in 44 minutes to help the Warriors beat the Mavs Friday and you better believe that he's licking his chops to play against the Suns "defense".
The Warriors without Biedrins (and really even with) are very small up front, which will allow the Suns to feed Shaq in the post, but more likely we will see a lot of three guard lineup from Gentry with Barbosa, JRich and Nash. In fact, this is one game where I wouldn't mind starting with those three against Ellis, Crawford and S-Jax.
The difference in this game should be the Suns bench again. The Warriors right now only really have Azubuike and Randolph available to provide any meaningful minutes. If the Suns can strike the right balance between using Shaq and also running at a very high pace to wear down the speeding Warriors with depth this game very well should go our way.
The Warriors, however, would love to play the spoiler once again and certainly are looking to their future and haven't come close to packing it for the season. A win for the Suns will have to be earned.