The Suns should have postseason dreams

Mar 14, 2012, 8:13 PM | Updated: 9:47 pm

Two months ago, when the Suns were 4-6, I wrote that they
would still be playing in May. Today (March 14th), they
enter play 19-22. Assuming they stick to their guns and
DON’T trade Steve Nash, I still believe they have a good
shot at the playoffs.

Before you start casting the first stone, hear me out.

First and foremost, they seemed to have found their
offensive touch. They’re averaging 101 points per game
over the past month and have climbed right back into the
Western Conference playoff race, winning seven of their
last 10 games. Nash has been the catalyst of course, with
some much needed help from Jared Dudley, Sebastian Telfair
and believe it or not, Robin Lopez. While Channing Frye
has yet to find any kind of consistency from long
distance, he has discovered there’s no legislation
prohibiting him from taking the ball to the hoop. Grant
Hill looks like his old self from mid-range, and the bench
isn’t getting overwhelmed on a nightly basis anymore.

The Suns are just three games out of the final playoff
spot in the West and four behind the number six seed. They
have four very winnable games this week starting with the
Jazz Wednesday at U.S. Airways Center. Utah is one game
ahead of the Suns; the Rockets – who currently occupy the
eighth playoff spot – come to town Sunday night. If the
Suns go 3-1 to close out the week, they’ll be within a
game of .500 and full of confidence heading out on a
grueling East Coast swing that begins with stops in Miami
and Orlando.

Let’s take a look at the five teams directly ahead of the
Suns as of today:

The Blazers are 20-22, a disaster on the road and in
desperate need of a point guard.

The Jazz (20-21) have dropped seven of 12 after a
surprisingly quick start to the season and find themselves
on the outside looking in.

The T-wolves (22-21), who just lit the Suns up for 127
points on Monday, are loaded with young talent. That also
means they’re loaded with inexperience, which could prove
costly down the stretch. It doesn’t help that Ricky Rubio
is out for the season, although Rick Adelman (in my mind
the most underrated coach in the NBA), and Kevin Love (the
best power forward in the game) could help offset some of
their flaws.

The Houston Rockets are currently clinging to that final
playoff spot with a 23-20 mark. They shocked the Thunder
last night with a last second win in Oklahoma City. They
did that without two of their top scorers, Kevin Martin
and Kyle Lowry. Martin has battled injury and
inconsistency all season long and Lowry is currently hurt
and out for at least another month. Chances are decent
they could fall off.

The defending champion Dallas Mavericks are just a game
and a half from being out of the playoffs altogether.
They’ve battled health issues and uninspiring play all
season long. Jason Terry isn’t happy right now and they
just don’t seem to have much direction.

While I’m not predicting a 2010-like playoff run for the
Suns, I do believe that if they hold on to Nash, and maybe
even look to acquire some scoring help by the trade
deadline, it’s quite conceivable US Airways Center will
more resemble a vibrant NBA arena again instead of a
mausoleum as we head into Spring.

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The Suns should have postseason dreams