--The Suns have moved Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley into the starting lineup for the past two games, it's turned that group into a much more productive quintet. All five starters scored at least 13 points and combined for a total of 87 at Sacramento.
But the Phoenix bench, which led the NBA in scoring when Dudley and Gortat were reserves, is now a wasteland. Josh Childress had a rare offensive night with 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting, but the bench accounted for only 26 points. Aaron Brooks and Robin Lopez were a combined 1-for-10 from the field, and four of the five players who came off the bench had negative plus/minus numbers.
--Since it's still mathematically possible, here's where the setting Suns sit in the playoff race. Now back under .500 at 36-37, the Suns remain 10th in the Western Conference, four games behind Memphis with nine to play.
The reality? It's time to start scheduling early tee times.
"You have to play your way into the playoffs," Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said. "Right now, the way we are playing, we don't deserve to be in the playoffs. Memphis is playing great. Houston is playing great. New Orleans is playing great. All the teams we are chasing are playing really good. And we are not. We are still alive in the playoff race, but we are basically on life support."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"We can't go inside really, and we don't really have a leading scorer, that player on our team. We play with ball movement, pick-and-rolls and try to get people in rotations. I think it is just a little one-dimensional. We are lacking dimensions to our team." -- Suns guard Steve Nash.
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