Wednesday night, the Suns got Steve Nash (or some limited version of him) back in the lineup, but it wasn’t enough to get past the New Orleans Hornets. The Suns’ losing streak reached four games.
Trying to stop the skid from reaching five games Friday, the Suns will get forward Channing Frye back as well. Taking on the Golden State Warriors, the Suns once again feature a complete lineup, but how effective that group can be is unclear.
The Suns have beaten the Warriors three times this season, but if there were ever a chance for Golden State to avoid a season sweep and snap an 11-game Phoenix losing streak, it may be now.
Frye dislocated his shoulder March 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder but KTAR’s Craig Grialou reports that Frye will play against the Warriors, a few days ahead of the expected minimum of two weeks out.
Of all the times to get a team healthy, now is it as the Suns have dropped to 11th in the Western Conference and cling to diminishing playoff chances. It’s possible that a complete Suns team could go on another impressive stretch, but that still won’t guarantee a spot in the playoff.
Three of the Suns’ next four games come against sub-.500 teams (the other? Yes, the Los Angeles Lakers). Taking all three seems an absolute must if they want to avoid falling any further.
A loss to the Warriors might be grounds for panic, as the Suns would fall back below .500 for the first time since Feb. 10, when they topped Golden State to reach the even mark for the first time since Dec. 19. The Suns have, however, beaten the Warriors five straight times and been good recently about beating teams they should.
Strange as it is to say, the Suns’ post game has suffered with Frye out. Getting him back should boost their rebounding efforts and take some pressure off Marcin Gortat. Frye’s rebounding, as well as his clutch shooting, have played a key role in the Suns’ post-All-Star success.
With Frye returning, there might be a period of working back to form, as with Nash. If such is the case, the Suns will likely lean on Josh Childress. Childress has played some of his best basketball of the season recently and will be crucial to the Suns’ ability to stay alive.
With just 16 games left, the pressure is greater than ever for the Suns. More than a couple more losses could eliminate them entirely, considering the way other teams are fighting for the last playoff spot in the West.
Grant Hill said in an interview with KTAR on Friday morning that it’s the wrong time of the season to be losing games. Leave it to Hill to find the simplest, truest words for the Suns’ struggles.
There is little more to say about it than that; the Suns just can’t afford to keep losing games.