The Phoenix Suns (26-26) had a three-game winning streak that finally put the team over .500 and moved them much closer to the fifth place New Orleans Hornets (33-23).
In the meantime, the Hornets played four more games than the Suns and if the Suns had done what was expected of them and beat the second worst team in the league (the Sacramento Kings), the difference from fifth place would have been only two games!!!
But instead, following the pattern this season has been going, the Suns keep kicking the bucket, losing games they cannot afford to lose.
The Suns lost last night, 113-108, to the Kings at home, again leading most of the game and falling in the last quarter.
The Suns have a good chance to get back in the "game" with their upcoming schedule; they could move to sixth place in two weeks.
Take a look at the upcoming schedule:
- Second worst team in the league, Sacramento Kings
- The falling-apart Utah Jazz
- Nash's favorite team to beat, Dallas Mavericks
- The unstable Atlanta Hawks
- Fourth worst team in the league, Toronto Raptors
- The Indiana Pacers (nothing to say about them)
- The wanting-to-be-Knicks New Jersey Nets
- The second best team in the league, the Boston Celtics.
With this kind of schedule, the Suns should have gone 6-2, maybe 5-3, but falling to the Kings at home cannot be accepted.
Especially with the Hornets also having an easy upcoming schedule, you cannot afford a loss like this.
The Suns need to remember the 2008/09 season, where poor play in the last two weeks of the season caused the Suns to miss the playoffs. It means that games that NEED to be won, HAVE to be won!
The Suns are still trying to find their identity. During their three-game winning streak they looked like they had done just that, but then came this loss. Steve Nash did his thing (and more), scoring 22 points and dishing out 18 assists with only 3TO. Channing Frye was hitting his shoots, 3-of-6 from downtown and 6-of-11 all around.
Marcin Gortat was 6-of-9 from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 from the line.
The amazing part of the stats are the shot blocks; the Suns had 10 blocks (Grant Hill two, Frye two, Mickael Pietrus two, Robin Lopez one and Gortat three), while the Kings had only five.
But the big issue, an issue I hoped we wouldn't need to talk about since the adding of Gortat, is (of course) Rebounds! The Kings out-rebounded the Suns 51 -36, grabbing 18 offensive boards!!!
With the Suns’ two big men (Lopez and Gortat), Frye, who has started to show some toughness, and Hill at five boards a game, the Suns can NOT allow this. Gortat and Lopez need to feel this loss harder than others so that next game they make sure this does NOT happen again.
The other issue is, of course, Vince Carter. Carter in the last three games has averaged 6.3 points a game, shooting 24 shots and making only 9, and from downtown Carter is 6-0. In the last 10 games Carter has been scoring 11.7 points a game. We were expecting this but it's not what we've hoped for.
My question regarding Carter: Is this all that he can bring, or is he still adapting to the Suns system? At the moment it looks like this is all he has, and it is not close to being enough.
Carter cannot be traded before the deadline, but the Suns have Josh Childress' big contract that they should try to get rid of and add a power forward that will help the Suns make a second-half run to be in the playoffs.
So next year, the Suns can add some key pieces with the money Robert Sarver has been saving thoughout the years and try to help Nash win a championship with the Suns.
Robert: If this is not your plan, let Nash go so he can try to get a championship before he retires.