The Phoenix Suns entered the season’s stretch run with a shocking playoff berth well within their grasp.
Then things took a turn for the worst.
Phoenix has now lost three straight, capped off by a 97-91 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday at U.S. Airways Center — eliminating the Suns from NBA playoff contention.
Here’s a closer look at the loss, by the numbers:
Not a single sports team from the Phoenix area made the playoffs in seasons beginning in 2013, meaning Arizona’s last playoff appearance came when the Phoenix Coyotes were eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2012 Western Conference Finals — a span of about 600 days.
Two Grizzlies set season scoring highs — Zach Randolph with 32 and Mike Miller with 21 off the bench.
The Suns managed their fourth sellout of the season in their biggest game of the year, announcing a crowd of 18,422.
Continuing a common trend from this season, five Phoenix players scored in double figures: Every starter but P.J. Tucker, and Markieff Morris scored a team-high 21 off the bench.
Suns guard Gerald Green managed just seven points on 2-of-4 shooting in the game, and was obviously a defensive key for each of the Suns’ final few opponents.
Phoenix used a 14-0 run between that spanned the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third to erase the Grizzlies’ 13-point lead and take a one-point lead of its own.
The Suns managed to drop 40 points in the paint against the Grizzlies — but Memphis did them one better, scoring 50 in the paint.
The Suns will finish the season with at least 47 wins — well over projections that had them finishing the season with somewhere between 20 and 25 and being one of the league’s worst teams.