It started with a tweet from Suns analyst Eddie Johnson.
— Eddie A Johnson (@Jumpshot8) February 28, 2014
The Suns currently sit in the 8th seed in the Western Conference with 25 games remaining in the season. Johnson told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that the next two games are important, especially since the playoff picture is starting to take form.
“Yes it is a must-win,” Johnson said. “But as I said in my tweet, I said it’s too early to always say these are must-win games because they are in the 8th position. So even if they somehow lost these next two games, they aren’t out because they’ve beaten good teams all year.”
The Suns begin a four-game home stand, starting with the New Orleans Pelicans Friday and the Atlanta Hawks Sunday, two teams with worse records than Phoenix.
“The great teams just don’t lose to teams that bad,” Johnson said. “The Pelicans aren’t a bad team with Anthony Davis, even though quite possibly he’s out, and the Atlanta Hawks are not a bad team with Paul Millsap, and he’s had some injuries. They aren’t easy victories, but they are ones they should win.
“After these two games they have some tough ones. They got the Clippers a couple times, Golden State and Oklahoma City, I get it, but they’ve had success against good teams.”
To Johnson’s point, the Suns own a 3-2 record against the teams he listed, but with eleven of the remaining 25 games on the road, the team’s playoff push will be coming down to the wire.
The latter of the upcoming home games are against two of the top four Western Conference teams, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Suns will play seven home games in March, including stretches of five out of six on the road and a separate run of four out of five as the away team.
“For their psyche and to continue to try to move up in the standings, you don’t want to settle for 8th or 7th because that moves you to face two very good teams in either Oklahoma City or the San Antonio Spurs,” Johnson said.
“I think it is imperative they win, one, home games, and two, you beat teams you’re supposed to beat.”