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Expect the inevitable: Phoenix Suns will finish with 4th worst record

The Suns win over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night threatens to worsen no less than two lottery picks in June's draft.

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Most Phoenix Suns fans threw their hands up in frustration at the end of the Suns-Rockets game last night as the final minutes of the fourth quarter unfolded and the wrong team won.

Fans have been frustrated for years now. Some would say it's just part of being an Arizona sports fan.

Once again, the Suns failed to do what they were supposed to do to stay ahead in a tight race to the finish.

In 2014, the Suns had the 7th spot in the playoffs with a week to go in the season, only to lose a few games over the weekend and drop to 9th and out of the postseason. In 2011 and 2012, the Suns had sniffs of the postseason only to come up short there too.

Now in 2016, the Suns are failing on the other end of the spectrum too. They have the 3rd worst record (equalling the 3rd most lottery balls for a chance at the #1 overall pick) in hand with a week to go in the season, only to execute a shocking comeback to beat Houston in Houston and threaten to lose a spot in the standings as a result.

The win gives the Suns 21 for the season - already the second fewest in franchise history - but it still might not be few enough to secure the 3rd most lottery balls.

The Suns are missing their top three scoring threats from the season opening lineup (Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Markieff Morris) and their top bench scoring threat (T.J. Warren), but they have not "shut down" their remaining veterans like the Nets have done.

Tyson Chandler (34), P.J. Tucker (30) and Mirza Teletovic (30) all are finishing the season strong and refusing to allow the Suns to get blown out night after night. Their consistency has been evident. The remaining healthy young players, Devin Booker (19), Alex Len (22) and Archie Goodwin (21) are understandably inconsistent but have shown promise, especially Booker.

Meanwhile, the Nets had injuries too, but are continuing to actively dismantling their team week by week. Why?

The Nets can't even keep their draft pick. They traded the rights to their pick three years ago in the acquisition of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce (neither of whom remain in the Big Apple), so the worse they play the better for the Celtics and the worse for them.

But yet the Nets have shut down their best players anyway. With a week to go, the Nets are apparently trying to pass the Suns for 3rd fewest wins by resting Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young. What are they resting up for? The seven month vacation?

The Suns, meanwhile, have some proud vets who won't be denied a win if they can help it.

"We don't have anything to play for," Tyson Chandler said to Paul Coro of azcentral.com. "So what it seems like on paper, but we've got everything to play for. We've got young players with great potential and vets with pride. We're going to finish the right way."

Chandler finished with 21 points (tied for his season-high) and 10 rebounds.

"We're not going to quit," P.J. Tucker said to Coro. "We've all had injuries. We want to teach these guys how to be pros, how to push through and give yourself to the team. It makes you hopeful for the future."

Tucker put up a season high 24 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. At one point, Tucker fell hard, grabbed his wrist and looked like he'd done some damage to himself. One timeout later, he was good to go and finished the game strong.

Mirza Teletovic was the player of the game on offense, pouring in 26 points to help the Suns score a season-high 124 for the game. He's got games of 24, 24 and 26 points in the last week, and just set an all-time NBA record for threes off the bench.

"That shows we have character and we're progressing," Teletovic said of the comeback to Coro. "We're getting better. Everybody wants to win and wants to fight. Guys showed a lot of heart."

From a players' perspective, it's difficult to hold a rare win against the veterans. They've suffered a ton this year. The Suns have won only 9 of their last 42 games and were riding a 7-game losing streak.

But that one win was the only separation between the Suns and a woeful, shameless and illogical Nets.

To make matters one bit worse, beating the Rockets dropped the Rockets below the Wizards by half a game in the standings with four to play. That means the Wizards pick - owed to the Suns unless they win the lottery - is now 13th overall, rather than 12th.

Good thing GM Ryan McDonough has shown an ability to out-draft his draft position to date. He's going to need it, once again.