Following the Phoenix Suns' 114-109 defeat of the Houston Rockets on Wednesday -- coupled with the Dallas Mavericks' 98-96 victory over the Miami Heat -- Planet Orange remains 4 games back from the eighth-and-final postseason spot, with 7 to go.
Can we say season over for the Suns? Not officially, but basically, yes. Unless the Mavs (whose magic number is four) start playing like, well, the Suns, Phoenix can start looking forward to who they might pick up in the NBA Draft Lottery.
Tonight, the Suns try to at least atone for their so-so-sorry performance against the Sacramento Kings on March 29 when Spencer Hawes and company visit US Airways Center. Sacramento is crap, but schooled Phoenix, 126-118, last weekend behind Jason Thompson's 21 points and Hawes' career-high 20.
Depending on the results of Suns-Kings and tonight's Mavs-Grizzlies matchup, PHX will stumble into Dallas' American Airlines Arena on Sunday anywhere from 3 to 5 games back. In what may be Phoenix's most important game of the season, they have to win this to, at the very least, throw a monkey-wrench into the Mavericks' playoff party. (If Phoenix loses to the Kings and the Mavs beat Memphis, Dallas can clinch with a victory.) Drop this one, and it's buh-bye to the Suns' dim postseason hopes, which could actually act as good offseason motivation for the front office to figure out why this team doesn't jive like it should. And make moves to rectify things!
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SHOW ME HOW
The Suns and Kings, scheduled for a local broadcast on Channel 45, tip here tonight at 7 p.m. Phoenix and Dallas square off in D-Town at 12:30 p.m. Sunday in a nationally televised game on ABC. Both contests can be heard locally on KTAR-AM 620. Info: www.nba.com/suns.