Three more games left in this incredible roller coaster of a season. It's hard to believe the end is so near - mostly because the end isn't near.
The playoffs await and there's no sense of finality. Instead the general mood is one of anticipation, excitement and a twinge of nervousness. And that's just from Robert Sarver's accountants who are banking on the extra couple of million each home playoff game adds to the bottom line. You think you are rooting for home court advantage?
Here's where the standings stand as of this morning's stand to (bonus points to you if you know what a "stand to" is) and here's how it all could play out in the final few days of the regular season:
#4 Utah (52-28) face the Warriors and Suns
#6 Thunder (49-30) face Warriors, Blazers and Grizzlies
#7 Spurs (49-31) face the Grizzlies and Mavericks
#8 Blazers (48-31) face the Lakers, Thunder and Warriors
I was going to predict possible outcomes but there's too many and it just makes my head hurt. It does seem clear that the Suns can land the 3rd seed if they win out and finish with a 54-28 record and both Utah and Denver finish with 53 wins.
Its seems more likely that the Suns beat Houston and Denver and lose to Utah (in Utah) and finish with 53 wins and tied with Denver. In this case we would actually want Utah to get 54 wins so they are the division champs and the Suns would own the tie-breaker over the Nuggets yielding a Suns 4th and Denver 5th finish. But if it goes the other way and Denver beats the Suns then the Suns would need to beat Utah to keep the 4th spot. Or if Dallas loses both of their last game they could drop to 4th or 5th.
Or....well you get the point. It's a mess so lets just ignore all that and focus on winning the last three games. That's certainly what Coach Gentry has the team thinking about and you can understand why and the first task is beating the Rockets tonight.
The Suns have beaten the Rockets three times this season but as we all know, and the good folks over at The Dream Shake celebrate, this is a team that is going to go down fighting. While other bottom feeders are making their vacation plans and fighting for more draft lottery ping pong balls, the Rockets are showing the kind of grit and determination that makes fans proud.
But that won't matter tonight. The Suns need this game and the Rockets don't and while they might try and put up a fight in the end one team has already started their playoff run and the other team is trying to figure out what they are going to do this summer to fill in their roster holes.
Not to mention, the better team is playing at home tonight.
Steve Nash vs Aaron Brooks
There are times when you might be a tad bit concerned about Aaron Brooks running Nash all over the court and wearing him down but tonight isn't one of those nights.
"I feel good. I had two month's there with the back that I felt terrible. When you're not moving well and you're struggling every minute is like two minutes. To feel healthy and to have some rest, I feel good."
Yippie! A healthy, happy Nash back!!!
Sorry, Aaron Brooks. You had better hope your outside shot is on because Nash is going to run you off the floor.
The Rest vs Them
Scola, Hayes, Ariza...they are nice players but when your best scoring option is Kevin Martin then you are going to struggle. That guy is 20th among all shooting guards in True Shooting Percentage (JRich, 12th) and 26th in Turnover Rate (JRich, 3rd). He's a nice player but when you look up "volume shooter" you are going to see this mug.
Amare should have another gorilla game. The turnovers should be back under control after a lack of focus in OKC. Jarron Collins is guaranteed to score more points than Chuck Hayes.
The Suns need this game. They want this game. And no scrappy, undersized kids from Houston are going to get in the way of that. Right?