Suns-Mavericks: Phoenix Loses...But Clinches Playoff Spot

Ian ZymarakisSenior Analyst IApril 6, 2008

In a day that started with what many would call a huge collapse against Dallas, only scoring nine points in the fourth quarter in a 105-98 loss to Dallas, the Suns definitely had their heads down.

At the end of the night though, their frowns might have turned into smirks as the Phoenix Suns clinched a playoff spot tonight.

Even after blowing what was a 13-point fourth quarter lead to the Mavericks that saw the Suns get outscored 27-9 in the quarter, their attitudes were lifted a bit later on when Denver lost in OT to Seattle, thus clinching a playoff spot for the Suns.

The loss however, moves the Suns from fifth to sixth in the Western Conference and what would be a matchup with Pacific Division rival LA Lakers.

The Suns seemed to be on top of their game as Mike D'Antoni pointed out and then, "the lights went out, and for whatever reason we couldn't get back in it."

The Suns seemed to leave the court after this afternoon's game more in disbelief then in anger.

Amare Stoudemire led the Suns in scoring with 31 and Shaquille O'Neal added 13 points and 13 boards for the Suns which led most of the way until the late stages of the fourth quarter.

Dirk Nowitzki, playing on literally one leg seemed like a man ready to carry the team on his back scoring 32 points and getting 12 rebounds.

The clincher for Dallas was late in the game when Dirk drove to the basket and seemed to be slipping all over the place, but he picked up his composure and put up a one-legged jumpshot over the outstretched arms of Grant Hill shutting the door on the Suns.

"I stumbled about 18 times," Nowitzki said, "But I was able to gather myself right at the end. Just that one little step at the end was all I needed, and I was able to knock it down. Definitely a little luck there, but we needed every second of it.”

Grant Hill seemed to put the way the Suns played best when he said, "It's kind of like when you have a sugar high and crash."

That definitely seems to be what the Suns had, but will that crash translate into more losses before the playoffs come around?

Can the Suns rebound after this tough loss and get back in it for the next game?

Chances are yes, the Suns head to Memphis on Tuesday for a game against the lonely Grizzlies.

It doesn't get easier after that game though as the Suns then head to San Antonio and then Houston before finally heading back home to face Golden State.

The Suns definitely need to forget this game as soon as possible because if they can't, it could be a rough stretch for them heading into the playoffs.

Time will only tell if this Suns team full of veterans can rebound and move on.

With the playoffs right around the corner they are going to have to or else it will be a short stay for them in the playoffs.