With nine days (five games) remaining before summer vacation — beginning early for the third straight year — the Suns are assured of finishing with no better than the second-worst record in franchise history.
Win out, and they will go 28-54, a mark established by the 1987-88 team.
Lose just once more, and only the franchise’s inaugural season of 1968-69, a team that went 16-66, will be worse.
Should the Suns lose out — a very real possibility with four of the five remaining games on the road for a team just 7-30 away from US Airways Center — they will carry a 14-game losing streak into next season, which would match the longest losing streak in franchise history.
“We’ve got to get some wins to finish this year off right,” Jared Dudley said.
Wins would be easier to achieve if this team could somehow find a way to play consistent basketball, a concept that has eluded them all season long.
Sometimes it’s starting slow in the first quarter. Other times it’s unraveling late in the fourth quarter. Lately it’s been entire third quarters.
In their last three games, the Suns have been outscored in the third quarter:
38-20 at Los Angeles Clippers
32-14 vs. Golden State
35-19 vs. New Orleans
Rarely have the Suns strung together four quarters of solid play in a single game.
“We can’t just play the game and pick out the good parts of the game and say we play well for a quarter or two or three. If you don’t play well for 48 minutes, you don’t play well,” Luis Scola said following the team’s most recent loss Sunday against New Orleans.
He was just getting started.
“We just don’t know how to play well,” he continued. “We don’t know how to play basketball and that’s why we lose. Until we learn how to play 48 minutes of basketball, we’re not going to win games. I’m surprised we won (23) games playing this way. Many of the games we won, we did the same thing. We just overcame it somehow. I’m also surprised we didn’t fix it. We saw the problem pretty much the first week and we couldn’t fix it. It’s very frustrating. It’s a bad year.”
Scola’s honesty is refreshing coming from a professional athlete.
Of course, words don’t change the course the Suns are headed on.
“We got to find a way to compete the last five games,” Scola said. “We got to find a way to get at least a little better or at least a little competitive and win a couple of games because, it’s not fun.”