Suns' Playoff Hopes Quickly Fading After Home Loss to Mavericks
Despite the Suns best effort on Tuesday night at home, they were unable to stop both Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry from scoring and ended up on the losing end, 122-117. Nowitzki routinely shot over smaller defenders and led a second half surge that strengthened Dallas' position as the 8th playoff seed, while pushing PHX further into the 9th seed and out of playoff contention.
Steve Nash, Shaquille O'Neal, Leandro Barbosa and Matt Barnes all played solid ball and seemingly scored at will (at times), but they simply could not keep the Mavs from scoring and ended up losing on their homecourt.
The loss is the 5th straight for Phoenix after losing their previous four games on the road, but losing at home the Mavs is especially tough considering the playoff implications. This was arguably the Suns biggest game to-date this season and they still couldn't pull it out. Grant Hill called the game the Suns' "Super Bowl" and I guess it was... they just look more like the Arizona Cardinals than the Pittsburgh Steelers in that reference - on the losing end.
If the Suns do fail to make the playoffs, and at this point it looks likely based on theirs and Dallas' remaining schedules, they will be eligible for the NBA Draft lottery and the opportunity to win the #1 draft pick (ala Blake Griffin). While the odds are certainly not in the Suns favor, the higher probability moves for the Suns will include the possible trades and/or movement of virtually anyone on the roster. Amare Stoudemire could be traded during the summer to free up cap room in the future, but I hope they keep STAT onboard for a couple more years. They would be better served trading away Shaq's expiring contract and/or Nash's as well. Neither players value is exceptionally high these days, but there will be teams looking to acquire last-year type players who will help them free up cap room for the 2010 free agent swoon that is anticipated. I don't think the players are going to be out there like is predicted, since their own teams can offer them the most money on a new contract extension and since their value is quite clear - specifically, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Chris Bosh, etc.