The Phoenix Suns kept their fading playoff hopes alive against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night before having them snuffed out for good by the San Antonio Spurs Sunday morning.
Friday's 111-98 win against the Clippers was almost a cruel April Fool's Day prank on Suns fans, however, as it only prolonged their inevitable elimination from playoff contention so that the hated Spurs could be the team to end it, 114-97. Planet Orange is officially eliminated from the playoffs.
San Antonio desperately needed the win to hold onto first against the surging Los Angeles Lakers.
Steve Nash skipped the weekend games with the flu, which had no effect on the team's effort against the hapless Clippers but caused them to get blown out by the Spurs. Even Friday's win was emblematic of the Suns' severe defensive problems, as four Clippers scored in the double digits. The Suns are the fifth-worst defensive team in basketball -- and the four teams ahead of them are within one point of each other.
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Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Randy Foye, and Brian Cook scored in double digits for Los Angeles. Five Suns did the same for Planet Orange, led by Grant Hill with 19 points, Hakim Warrick with 17, Jared Dudley with 16, Zabian Dowdell with 14, Aaron Brooks with 12 and Marcin Gortat with 10.
Amazingly, 7 Suns scored in the double digits against the Spurs -- but that game was over at halftime with San Antonio leading by 24. Four Spurs players scored in the double digits but their team was led by George Hill with 29 points.
The Suns next play the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night in Chicago. They'd better hope Steve Nash makes it back into the lineup or that game is going to get ugly, as the Bulls are playing their hearts out to hold onto first in their conference. Sound familiar?
You can watch it live Tuesday at 5:00 PM on My45 or tune in here Wednesday morning to find out how it went. Prediction: Suns lose.