The Suns woke up this morning after taking a day off finding themselves 3.5 games behind the Mavs who lost last night to the Hawks and 5 games behind the Jazz.
With the Suns playing the lowly Wizards on Saturday and the Mavs playing again tonight in Indiana a 2.5 game deficit is a real possibility come Sunday. Sometimes not playing is a good way to make up ground.
The same holds true though for the Mavs next week. Between tonight and next Friday they only have one game against the Warriors while the Suns play three playoff teams (Nuggets, Jazz and Blazers) during that same stretch.
If the Mavs are going to show signs of the collapse these next two games will be important. Losing tonight on the second of a back to back and then again to the Warriors who always give them fits on Wednesday will re-open the door for the Suns. Assuming that is that we can go two out of three next week which will be a tall task especially since Barbosa will likely miss those games.
This seems like what the next few weeks are going to be like. Make up a little ground. Lose a little ground. Unless either team slips a bit this could be tight for a while yet.
Now that hope seems to be bubbling back up to the surface of Planet Orange after being crushed with a 6 game losing streak, we should revisit a critical question.
Are the Suns better off making the playoffs only to face the #1 seeded Lakers in the first round or is the lottery a better option?
I have always maintained that making the playoffs was the goal. Not only will it bring in a few extra million in revenue which will be important for next year's roster, it is vital for the team's reputation in the community that they finish strong. Don't you think season ticket sales, already under pressure due to the economy, will suffer even more if the team is left out of the post season?
You might not care about things like that but you should. Teams with higher revenue are more able to spend on players and the Suns have proved that over the past 5 years consistently being in the top 10 in salary and being a regular payer of the luxury tax.
Putting aside all the logical reasons, just imagine how much fun a comeback would be and if the Suns were to pull it off there's no reason to think there wouldn't at least be considerable excitement for the Suns.
Of course, those amorphous "some people" don't want any part of that. "They" want to see the team blow up so the rebuilding can happen faster and not making the playoffs will certainly hasten that result.
If the Suns are on the outside looking in the fans and NBA commentariat will be more likely to accept radical changes like trading Steve Nash for pieces, parts and picks. Whereas even a first round bounce will leave people talking about the unfortunate Amare injury and the improvement under Gentry. Many folks will want to give it "one more year" thus delaying the "blow up" that "some" feel is needed.
What do you think?