The Phoenix Suns have lost seven of their last 10 games, giving the impression that the clock may be about to strike midnight on this Cinderella season.
Now 36-28 after losing their last three games, the Suns are two games behind the Dallas Mavericks for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
“I’ve got to go back to the All-Star break and I don’t know what happened to the Suns’ players during that break, but this hasn’t been the same team since the All-Star break,” Suns radio play-by-play man Al McCoy told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday. “Whether they’re worn out — we talked about this so many times that the majority of the players on this team have never played as many games, they’ve never played the minutes. Maybe they’re worn out, I don’t know.
“But it hasn’t been the same team. They don’t have that spark; they don’t have that intensity.”
The Suns are 6-7 since the All-Star break, with big wins over playoff-bound San Antonio and Oklahoma City Thunder but with losses to struggling Minnesota, Utah and Cleveland.
Their defense has been virtually non-existent, with opponents scoring at least 104 points in each of the last 10 games.
But McCoy maintains the issues go back a bit further than the last 10 contests.
“I think the coaching staff felt they would come back really revitalized with those days off ready to roll, but that hasn’t been the case,” McCoy added. “And what’s happening with the team right now, those are the things that, really, coaches can’t do anything about.
“They just aren’t getting the effort, they don’t have the intensity, they don’t seem to have the same enthusiasm that they had prior to the All-Star break.”
Unfortunately, if things don’t turn around the Suns may find themselves watching the playoffs, which is something that may have been expected before the season began but seemed unlikely just a few weeks ago.
“We go back, we never thought this team would win as many games as they did; they’ve exceeded expectations,” McCoy said. “I think those of us that have followed them and certainly the fans realize that, but still you hate to see them get into this slump that they are right now in such a vital part of the season.”