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Center of the Sun: Phoenix Suns still 2nd in reverse standings after a 1-3 week

The Suns are 17-38 with 27 games to go

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NBA: Phoenix Suns at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

@ New Orleans Pelicans L (111-106) Full Recap

@ Memphis Grizzlies L (110-91) Full Recap

vs Chicago Bulls W (115-97) Full Recap

@ Houston Rockets L (133-102) Full Recap

The loses to New Orleans and Memphis were expected. The win against Chicago wasn't and for a brief 24 hours Suns fans had something to feel good about before Houston completely crushed the Suns and those good feelings.

Welcome to the reality of being a Suns fan these days.

For the rest of the season we can hope that there will be at least a few games where some of the younger players do something special that gives us some hope for the future. The Suns are now 7.5 games back from the 8th seed with 27 games left to play. Post season hopes are dead and fans are left with only thoughts of possible trades before the trade deadline (Feb. 23) and the draft to look forward to. The Suns are still 2nd in the reverse standings and I'm starting to worry a little about Orlando perhaps taking that spot away from Phoenix. They have been dropping in the standings fast and are just 2.5 games behind the Suns for the #2 spot. The Lakers are closer but rumors are that Orlando is actively shopping several of their players and after their recent performance it's possible that they could go into all out tank mode for the rest of the season.

Key Stat

24 minutes, 14 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks

This is my shout out to Alan Williams and how he stepped up and played big in the Bulls game. Len was out on a suspension, Chander went out after 12 minutes with an injury, Chriss was limited after getting 5 fouls. Big Sauce had a big game in a win when the Suns really needed him. Yeah, Booker and Bledsoe were the guys in the spotlight with a combined 50 points but Big Sauce deserves recognition is getting that W too.

Stats courtesy of ESPN.

Quote of the Week

“I don’t care how old you are. When you enter the league, defense is the toughest thing because everyone on the court has a great offensive skill, even if it’s just a pass. Offensively, guys kind of flow easier into this league, they pick that up quicker. But defensively, the physicality, the speed … You go against a vet, they have so many counters and quick reads for any mistake. For young guys coming into the NBA, that’s the biggest (transition).” - Earl Watson

Rookie Report

Marquese Chriss - 23.5 mpg, 5.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.8 bpg

Tyler Ulis - 10.1 mpg, 5.0 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 2.7 apg, 0.3 spg (1 DNP-CD)

Derrick Jones Jr. - 3.1 mpg, 1.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 0.5 apg (2 DNP-CDs)

Dragan Bender - OUT INDEFINITELY

Stats courtesy of NBA.com

News & Notes

Phoenix Suns face heavy questions at NBA trade deadline. Dan Bickley/AZCentral Sports

Jared Dudley on Why Devin Booker Can Become a Superstar. The Ringer

Suns' Devin Booker focused on following footsteps of NBA greats. ESPN

Suns rookie Dragan Bender our 4-6 weeks after ankle surgery. Arizona Sports

Devin Booker Stars in Nike’s ‘Come out of Nowhere’ Film. SLAM

Are The Suns Rebuilding or Falling Apart? The Ringer

Solar Panel: Does DeMarcus Cousins to Suns Make Sense? Sports 360 AZ

10 NBA Teams That Should Trade For Eric Bledsoe. Hoops Habit

Suns rookie Marquese Chriss learning under Tucker's tough love. Doug Haller/AZCentral Sports

Devin Booker Is Quietly Making NBA History. Hoops Habit

P.J. Tucker: Suns Defensive Stopper and Trade Candidate. Basketball Insiders

Suns Trivia

Derrick Jones Jr. will be the seventh Suns player to compete in the All-Star Slam Dunk contest and first Sun since 2005. Previous Suns in the event were Larry Nance (1984 & 1985), Tim Perry (1989), Kenny Battle (1990), Cedric Ceballos (1992 & 1993), Michael Finley (1996) and Amare Stoudemire (2003 & 2005). Two Suns have previously won the event with Nance taking the crown at the NBA’s first dunk contest in 1984 and Ceballos winning after a blindfolded jam in 1992.

Previewing the Week Ahead

Monday, February 13th vs New Orleans Pelicans (21-33)

Wednesday, February 15th vs LA Lakers (19-37)

Just two games this week before the All-Star break and the subsequent trade deadline (Feb. 23rd). Both games are at home and both are winnable games... but we've seen how those have turned out badly for the Suns before.

First the Pelicans come to town on Monday night. Hopefully the Suns will have better luck playing them at home than they did in New Orleans. Call me an optimist but I think the Suns have a 50-50 chance to win.

On Wednesday the Lakers come to Talking Stick. The Lakers and Suns are in pretty much the same boat right now... one that has sunk and is laying at the bottom of the Western Conference waters. I'm betting that the Suns win this one.

And we kind of have another game on Friday, Feb. 17th when Suns Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss suit up for the U.S. team in the Rising Stars Challenge game on All-Star weekend. I'm picking the U.S. team to win this one. And don't forget that Booker is also in the Skills Challenge and Derrick Jones Jr. is in the Slam Dunk contest both on Saturday night. All coverage of All Star weekend events is on TNT.

I expect the Suns to go 1-1 this week.

How do you think the Suns will fare?