Home > Basketball > Phoenix’s Season is Stretching Just out of Reach…

Phoenix’s Season is Stretching Just out of Reach…

When the Suns set out on their six game road trip, it felt like they needed to go at least 4-2 to stay afloat in the bloated Western Conference race.  With two Channing Frye overtime buzzer beaters the Suns did win four, which – I guess –  makes it a successful road trip, but looking at their remaining 21 games, it’s fair to wonder whether wins over Toronto, Indiana, New Jersey, and Milwaukee were enough.  On Sunday night in Oklahoma, the Suns almost won, while their chief rival for that last playoff spot almost lost.  That would have left the Suns half a game up for the eighth spot.  Unfortunately Zach Randolph hit a last second shot to give Memphis the win, while Vince “Not Quite Clutch” Carter missed two free throws sending the Suns’ game to overtime.  The Suns lost in overtime, probably because Channing Frye had been forced to leave the game with a shoulder injury that will keep him sidelined for a couple weeks.  Or maybe it was just because Oklahoma’s a better team.  Who can say?

After another Memphis win last night (in successive nights they beat the Mavs and Zombies, I don’t think they’ll be relinquishing their playoff spot), the Suns sit two games out with 21 to go.  Of course, because the West is so clumped in the middle, the Suns are still only 3.5 out of fifth, which means they don’t have to catch the Grizzlies.  The Suns could catch up to any one of Denver, Portland, or New Orleans, for that eighth spot, but…

Of the Suns’ final 21 games, 14 are against opponents who currently sit at, or above, .500; this includes two games against the Spura and Mavs, and a deadly five game road trip begining in April that sends them to San Antonio, Chicago, New Orleans and Dallas.  The Suns currently have a 14-23 record against .500 teams, which presents a fairly ominous barrier to the playoffs.

Perhaps most concerning for Suns fans is whether Steve Nash is running on fumes.  Robert Sarver’s idiotic stripping of the team has meant that even at 37, Nash is the team’s single most important player.  And Nash hasn’t shied away from that role; he’s been putting up numbers to rival his MVP years, except, that is, until this recent road trip:

Fri 2/25 Raptors – 30 min, 2-12 FG, 0-3 3FG, 11 A, 7 P
Sun 2/27 Pacers – 43 min, 5-14 FG, 0-4 3FG, 13 A, 10 P
Mon 2/28 Nets – 40 min, 3-13 FG, 0-3 3FG, 15 A, 10 P
Wed 3/2 Celtics – 27 min, 3-7 FG, 1-3 3FG, 7 A, 8 P
Fri 3/4 Bucks – 28 min, 3-7 FG, 1-1 3FG, 13 A, 8 P
Sun 3/6 Thunder – 40 min, 5-11 FG, 0-2 3FG, 14 A, 11 P

So, over the last six games, the man some have reasonably dubbed the greatest shooter in NBA history has shot 33% from the floor and 12% from three.  Trust me when I say that those numbers are down a touch from his career norms.  Now, over those games he did average 12.1 assists, so it’s not as though he wasn’t still pumping the engine, but if those 37 year old legs are leaden and his shots falling short, the Suns playoff hopes will remain stretched just out of reach…

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