"We're still going to play to win games. I told them, 'We're all paid a lot of money and we're supposed to be professional, so we're going to play out the season right.'"
So said Phoenix Suns head coach Alvin Gentry previous to Wednesday night's game in New Orleans against the Hornets, which the Suns (semi-surprisingly) won, 105-100, to keep their remote playoff chances alive. Alas, the flame guttered out later that evening when the Dallas Mavericks kicked the crap out of the Utah Jazz in Big D, 130-101. The highly motivated Mavs are trying to avoid a certain first-round death sentence against the L.A. Lakers by wresting the seven seed away from the Jazz.
The Suns, on the other hand, have jack squat to play for, and they'll just be playing out the string in upcoming road games against a couple of teams with even less on their plates: the Memphis Grizzlies tonight and the Minnesota Timberwolves tomorrow.
What say you now, Alvin?
Since nobody's gonna be watching anyway, we say it's time to blow this mutha out. Bench the starters. Start the bench. Steve Nash, Shaquille O'Neal, and Amar'e Stoudemire may all be history come fall, so why not begin the painful process of seeing who your stand-up guys are now, in real-time game conditions, when you've got zero to lose?
Why not start Goran Dragic, Leandro Barbosa, Louis Amundson, Jared Dudley, and Robin Lopez?
No more thinking old, Alvin. Time to think bold.
The Memphis and Minnesota games both tip at 5 p.m., and will be broadcast on Channel 45 (cable 9) and KTAR-AM 620. Info: www.nba.com/suns.