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Western Conference Playoff Report: April 13th

Suns blow another double digit lead as Dallas puts Phoenix playoff hopes half into the grave.

Tom Pennington

Hey guys.  So that was tough, huh?

After losing to the Mavericks last night the Suns playoff hopes are basically on life support.  Barring a shocking Memphis loss to the Lakers tonight the only scenario that sees the Suns make the playoffs is this:

  • Suns beat Memphis on Monday night - something they haven't done all season even when Marc Gasol wasn't playing.
  • Suns beat Kings on the last day of the season.
  • Dallas beats Memphis on the last day of the season.  This will likely be made 10 times more complicated by the fact that a Suns win over Memphis on Monday would clinch the #7 seed for Dallas so they'd have almost no motivation to roll Dirk Nowitzki or Monta Ellis out for any real playing time. 

If like me you're a Cardinals fan you probably recognize that scenario as the basketball version of 'hope Mike Glennon can lead his 5 win Bucs to a win in the Superdome over the Saints who haven't lost at home all year'.

My advice?  Get in a good place with it.  This is a fun basketball team but by no means was a finished product.  If the Suns don't make it they basically traded 4-6 games with the Spurs for the right to move up 7 spots in the draft.

Saturday April 12th Key Western Conference Results:

Dallas Mavericks 101 Phoenix Suns 98 (Recap) - At the 5:56 mark of the 3rd quarter the Suns led the Mavericks 69-56 and things seemed all awesome.  Over the course of the next 1 minute and 13 seconds Dallas carved 8 points off the lead and continued until the Suns were up just 3 going into the 4th.  That 4th quarter saw Dallas open up a 8 point lead but the Suns hadn't quit quite yet.

Down the stretch the Suns had their chances.  After a missed jumper from Dirk Nowitzki with 52 seconds to go, and the Suns trailing by 2, Dallas fouled Eric Bledsoe about 90 feet from the basket.  But Bledsoe - who had his second straight awesome game (29 points on 11/15 shooting, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals) missed the second free throw and the Suns remained behind.  The door opened for the Suns again when the incendiary Vince Carter missed a three but with a chance to take a lead Gerald Green took an off-balance early offense 10 footer that missed.

Because torture if fun, Monta Ellis missed one free throw on two consecutive possessions and gave the Suns two shots to tie.  On the first try Eric Bledsoe had his layup comfortably rejected by Brandan Wright (who had 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks) while the second possession was a Markieff Morris three point attempt for some reason.

Game, set, match.

Current Western Conference Standings:

1.San Antonio
62 18 .775 - 8-2 WON 2
2. Oklahoma City
58 21 .734 3.5
7-3 WON 3
3. LA Clippers
56 24 .700 6 7-3 WON 1
4. Houston 53 27 .663 9 5-5 WON 1
5. Portland
52 28 .650 10 7-3 WON 3
6. Golden State
49 30 .620 12.5 6-4 WON 1
7. Dallas
49 32 .600 13.5 7-3 WON 1
8. Memphis
47 32 .595 14.5
6-4 WON 2
47 33 .588 15 6-4 LOST 2

Sunday April 13th Western Conference Games of Significance:

Grizzlies @ Lakers - Since the Lakers beat the Suns two weeks ago they've lost 6 consecutive games - 5 of them by double digits to Western Conference playoff teams (Portland, Clippers, Houston, Golden State, Dallas).  So you know, that makes me feel great.  Additional note that makes me feel good - Memphis hasn't lost to an under .500 team since losing the Cavs in overtime on February 9th.  I would be really, really surprised if the Grizzlies front line didn't eat the Lakers for lunch, blow them out, and come to Phoenix fairly well rested.

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