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Playoffs? Suns will have to really earn spot

Suns coach Alvin Gentry, in a late-March interview with
our own Burns and Gambo
, said the team needed to
approach its final 15 games as if they were playoff
contests.

“We’ve got to treat every game as a playoff game,” Suns
coach Alvin Gentry told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and
Gambo. “It has to be almost like a playoff game for us.”

The Suns have gone 5-1 since, fighting their way into the
conversation for one of the Western Conference’s final 8
spots.

As it stands, even the most ardent pro-lottery guy (cough…
myself…cough…) can appreciate the evolution this team has
gone through and the fight they have displayed. The team
that slumped to a 12-19 mark in mid-February is gone,
replaced by a squad that competes every night out.

Are they perfect? No. This is still a team that lacks a
go-to scorer and struggles to put points on the scoreboard
late in games. They rely heavily on the three ball and
have needed great games from guys like Shannon Brown and
Michael Redd to come out with wins against some of the
league’s lesser teams.

But, unlike earlier in the season, they are getting those
wins on a consistent basis, which is why there is renewed
optimism on Planet Orange.

No longer is Shannon Brown the worst player to recently
don a Suns uniform; Pat Burke, Paul Shirley and Sean Marks
can go back to fighting for that honor. The guy has been a
perfect fit in the team’s starting lineup, providing a
spark the team lacked — and needed.