Let me just start by saying that the mid-4th quarter collapse almost killed me. I kept walking around my room, my heart was racing, and I felt as if, for some weird reason this game was a must-win for me. It was crazy, but how could it not? The Suns have been in overdrive ever since the All-Star Break, and a loss in a game that virtually every Suns fan dubbed “beyond a must-win” would’ve killed everything. And yet, the Suns pulled off, and not without a hitch or two.
The first half was nothing short of a disaster at times, especially on the glass, Marcus Camby grabbed 18 rebounds in that half alone, while Marcin Gortat and Channing Frye stared aimlessly at each other depending on who was on the wrong end of the outback at that time. And hell, usually, they both were just that. But, as we learned after the devastating loss to Golden State (how much would the Suns give to have that one back? A lot I suppose), if Alvin Gentry starts screaming, the team responds, and respond they did.
Marcin Gortat got the biggest part of the screaming, and so… He did not allow Camby another rebound all game, fighting and scrapping on the board on the road to a 20-15 game of his own. Add to that 19 points from Jared Dudley and 18 points from Steve Nash, and the Suns were rolling. And despite a hitch (involving not one but TWO Luis Scola flops that were called the entirely wrong way altogether) when the Suns allow the Rockets within 2 in the 4th, the Suns still easily handled their business after a dagger three from the afore mentioned JD, and some Steve Nash free throws. And as the Suns joyfully walked off the court, hope flickered.
Let’s be realistic here for a moment, however. To secure a playoff spot, the Suns probably have to win 5 of their last 7 games, the two supposed losses being against San Antonio tonight and Oklahoma City Wednesday. In a stretch were the Suns will be facing 6 playoff teams, and a scrappy Portland team, is it possible? Certainly. But even if they win 5, they still have to count on some losses from the Rockets or Nuggets. While yes, these two teams face each other twice in the upcoming stretch, if they split the stretch, the Suns will probably still be one game behind both of them at the end of the day. You cannot count on other teams to lose, that’s why the Suns have to do everything to win… And I’m not sure that that is all that possible.
The Suns’ fates are in their own hands right now. No, really. And they have to make the most of it.