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Reporter’s Notebook: Suns could officially be eliminated tonight

A loss tonight and a Memphis win at New Orleans will officially close the book on the Suns slim 2011 playoff hopes.

At best the Suns would finished tied with the Grizzlies but Memphis owns the tie-breaker after taking the season series 2-1.

Steve Nash, Marcin Gortat both missed shoot-around because of illness. They are expected to play tonight. Mickael Pietrus will not. He will miss a fifth straight game because of a quad tendon strain.

Clippers center Chris Kaman is a game-time decision. He too missed shoot-around because of illness.

Robin Lopez turns 23 today. He was sung “Happy Birthday” to by rookies Zabian Dowdell, Gani Lawal and Garret Siler and presented with a strawberry shortcake.

Suns (36-38) vs. Clippers (29-46)

Suns have lost a season-high tying four straight games. They last lost five games in a row from 3/3-12/2009. They have won 7 straight home games against the Clippers and are 20-18 overall at home.

Clippers are coming off a loss Wednesday night to the Dallas Mavericks. They are 2-19 on the road against Western Conference teams.

Blake Griffin has 57 double-doubles this season. He averages 21.7 pts and 9.8 rebounds per game against the Suns. Yet Gentry believes Landry Fields is the NBA Rookie of the Year. Gentry calls Griffin the redshirt freshman of the year and Fields the true freshman of the year.