The Phoenix Suns stayed alive in the hunt for a Western Conference playoff bid after two big weekend wins. On Friday night, the Suns edged out a good Indiana Pacers team 113-111, and on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, they demolished the Cavaliers 108-83.
The two wins give the Suns a 25-24 record on the shortened season, but they are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and just one game out of the playoffs at this point. Currently, the 26-23 Utah Jazz and 26-23 Houston Rockets hold the seventh and eighth seeds in the playoff picture. The Denver Nuggets also 26-23. The Suns are one game behind all three of those teams.
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On Friday in Indianapolis, the Suns used a dominating third quarter to pull ahead of the Pacers, who led by seven points at the half. In the fourth quarter, the Pacers chipped away at the lead they'd lost but, ultimately, it was the Suns' defense and rebounding that stemmed the Pacers tide.
Marcin Gortat scored 23 points, and Grant Hill scored 22 points for the Suns. Meanwhile, Steve Nash had 17 assists for the third time this season. The veteran leads the NBA in assists per game with just over 11.
On Sunday in Cleveland, there was far less drama, as the Suns scored the first 12 points of the game and never looked back. After three difficult games on their Eastern Conference road trip, they needed a laugher to close it out. Gortat had another strong game, scoring 22 points. Markieff Morris, who logged only six minutes of playing time in the Indiana victory, also scored 22 points. Nash had 13 assists.
The Suns will get the day off today, and will return to US Airways Center on Tuesday night to host the San Antonio Spurs, who currently have the second-best record in the Western Conference. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620 AM. More info: www.suns.com.