Preview: Los Angeles Clippers (29-46) at Phoenix Suns (36-38)

Posted by on April 1st, 8:44 am

Phoenix Suns 111, Los Angeles Clippers 98

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PHOENIX — With the Phoenix Suns mired in a four-game losing streak that has dropped them 5 1/2 games out of a playoff spot and caused the Hollinger Playoff Odds to decrease their chances of reaching the postseason to an honest 0 percent, it begs the question how much longer will Steve Nash continue giving everything he has for a season gone awry?

Nash admitted after Wednesday’s loss to Oklahoma City that he doesn’t “feel good, but just trying to do what I can to contribute. It’s very difficult and it’s painful and I’m not moving very well. I’m going to try to play.”

Nash cited the fact that it’s a pretty long summer without a postseason appearance — and that summer could be longer this year with the NBA likely to encounter labor strife — and he wants to be out there with his teammates and hopefully feel better as the season drags to a conclusion.

On the other hand, there really is no need for Nash to gut out meaningless games while he’s ailing and the Suns really could use a look at Aaron Brooks as a starter as they ponder what kind of offer they should make him this summer.

Nash admitted he could be shut down at some point this year with a grueling five-game road trip looming although it’s not what he would prefer.

“We’ll see,” Nash said. “I think it’s hard to say what that point is, but I’d like to hope that I’ll start to feel better and be able to play out the rest of the games the way I’m accustomed to playing and try to get some wins.”

Although the Suns are resigned to the fact that their season ends in less than two weeks, they still want to build some momentum heading into next season as the Clippers come to town tonight.

In a way this is a matchup of two teams headed in different directions, with Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon headlining a promising Clippers future, whereas Suns fans could be watching their final games of Nash before a potential offseason trade and franchise makeover.

It must be excruciating mentally for a team that just a year ago was a couple bounces away from an NBA Finals appearance to be resigned to a postseason-less fate with eight games still left on the schedule. I think their fourth quarter ineptitude the past couple games stemmed in part from this feeling, as the Suns just lacked any kind of killer instinct down the stretch. (Then again it was an issue the rest of the season as well to put them in this position.)

At this point Nash wants the Suns to just keep playing “with class and effort and passion and see what happens.”

With many players fighting for rotation or roster spots not to mention extensions for next season, some of the Suns still have lots to play for in the grand scheme of things starting tonight with the Clippers.

“We have to get better,” said Marcin Gortat. “We have to show that we belong on this team, that we want to stay on this team. This is the time for a lot of guys to show that we are good basketball players. I’m still going to try to prove that I can help this team. I’m still going to try to rebound the ball, do my things in the paint, try to be a defender, and I don’t care if we’re playing for playoffs or not, I’m still going to do it. I’m not going to let anybody punk me every night. I don’t care if we play a scrimmage game or not, street ball game, I’m going to step out of it and try to win the game.”

UPDATE: Nash to sit with flu

Nash was a late scratch after suffering from flu-like symptoms on Friday, meaning Aaron Brooks will get the start. When asked an hour before tipoff if Nash had the 24-hour flu, Gentry joked that he hoped it would be a nine-hour bug. Apparently it is not, and with no reason for Nash to push it he will sit this one out.

And 1

Gortat said after Wednesday’s game he doesn’t know yet whether he will play for the Polish national team this summer in qualifying games for the 2012 Olympics. The Polish center said there’s “a big possibility” he won’t play if there is a lockout because of insurance reasons although he obviously would like to represent his country as the nation’s only NBA player. … Nash sparked some debate Thursday by posting on his Facebook page: “Man, this has been a really disappointing season. What do you think the Suns need to do for next year?” Channing Frye followed sut asking fans for similar suggestions.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Los Angeles Clippers · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Preview · Steve Nash

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Phx suns fan in la // Apr 1, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Ok lets get this win and get 8th seed and make a run for the finals

  • 2 Phx suns fan in la // Apr 1, 2011 at 9:08 am

    ^april fools lol

  • 3 Phx suns fan in la // Apr 1, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Does anyone else think siler has potential?

  • 4 auggie5000 // Apr 1, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Hahaha

  • 5 Freddy // Apr 1, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Honestly I maybe a fool but I really like Siler and hope there is a future for him. I would rather see Siler get minutes over Robin Lopez.

    I think Garrett has a hell of a lot more potential than Lopez. Taking into account that this kid has paid some dues to be where he is at even if it is a bench warmer waiting for the opportunity to crack the rotation.

    His Stats for his last couple games Played:

    Mar 30th OKC: 3 Min 1 Reb. 8 Points
    Mar 13th ORL: 3 Min 3 Reb, 1 point

    I think given the opportunity to play more minutes this kid can easily do 10 points 10 rebounds.

  • 6 Michael Schwartz // Apr 1, 2011 at 11:20 am

    But you have to keep in mind Siler got those points in garbage time when he looked to be the only guy out there trying, while the team was purposely feeding him the ball since he’s the 12th man. I do like Siler and think he has some nice touch around the basket, and he’s a good guy to boot. But there’s a reason TNT made a graphic of his head on a tree’s body during the first Orlando game.

  • 7 ClipperBlog.com Blog for the Los Angeles NBA Clippers Fans » Blog Archive » Los Angeles Clippers v. Phoenix Suns // Apr 1, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    [...] at Valley of the Suns: With the Phoenix Suns mired in a four-game losing streak that has dropped them 5 1/2 games out of [...]

  • 8 Zak // Apr 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Siler’s best “asset” is really that he’s just too big to be pushed around. His biggest liability is that he’s not very agile. I would like to see him get more minutes the rest of this season just to give him the chance to prove himself. Loosing some of his 305 lbs could make him more agile but he might not be very motivated to do that by spending most of his time at the end of the bench. Maybe more minutes during the rest of this season might be enough motivation for him to get in a little better shape. I do like him too. I don’t think he has the talent to ever be a starting center in the NBA but I think with a little work he could become a very good backup center eventually.

  • 9 Freddy // Apr 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Schwartz I understand that the production he brings is during garbage minutes but It would be nice to see what he does off the bench considering Robin isn’t bringing it.

    His college stats weren’t to bad his senior year iirc and his time in China or whatever it was and his Dleague tour weren’t that bad. I am not saying he is on D. Howards Level but I am sure he can be just as productive as if not better than the Robin “Lopez’es” of the NBA.

    I usually take anything TNT “analyst or commentators” say or do with a grain of salt. They are the First to Bash the Suns and the last to give them any credit when its Due.

    Maybe I am a Lopez hater. No take that back I am a Lopez hater. I had high expectations for Robin. After this season I don’t think he is a NBA Caliber type of player.

  • 10 Steve // Apr 1, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Siler is never going to be a regular rotation guy, but I do like him. I think he’s an asset for the team, if for no other reasons than he’s got a great work ethic (he looks a lot more fit than he did at the beginning of the season) and he’s another big body for practice. He’s good enough to be on an NBA team, for sure, but he’s not good enough to be a productive member of a good NBA team.

    But here’s to hoping he can change that by improving his game even more than he has already.

  • 11 Zak // Apr 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Freddy, Lopez’s lack of production this year is the main reason I say that Siler should get more minutes over the rest of this season. I’m not a Lopez hater but I’m a realist that see’s that Lopez has added little more than excessive fouls during his time on the court this season. I’d be very happy to see him traded to NJ where he can back up his brother Brooke IF we could get Chris Humphries back for him. Yeah, Humphries isn’t a great PF but I think he could tag-team with Frye very well and keep other teams off balance in trying to guard our PFs.

    It’ll never happen but I no longer think that getting a dominate PF should be our primary goal. With a good, solid rebounding PF to tag-team with Frye, we could look for a “go-to” guy at SG, SF or even PG. Yeah, I expect to catch some flak for the PG comment but who here wouldn’t LOVE to have D. Rose to take the helm of the team from Steve in the years to come?

    Brooks? He’s probably not that guy but I suppose management thought he was a better short-term option than Dragic. And it that light I agree. Brooks is more aggressive although inconsistent in his performance. As they say in the military, it’s better to have a leader who makes a bad decision than a leader who makes no decision.

    I hope the Suns do not trade Nash or Hill next season… unless they ask to be traded. Hopefully we will get lucky in the draft. Nash and Hill both have a lot that they can teach to younger players which might eventually take their places.

  • 12 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Apr 1, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    No, no. no. no. no.

    Anybody who still thinks that the Brooks acquisition was a good move is kidding themselves. People just don’t understand the mechanics of certain NBA players. Specifically, those who are being groomed to start and are currently stuck on the bench, (like Dragon was).

    You put Dragon with the starting rotation next season, (whoever it ends up being), night in and night out and you would have seen a phenomenal improvement because he was ready to begin leading this Phoenix team in its evolved philosophy [defensive awareness].

    Brooks was a terrible move. Two-fold really because he can’t be the point guard and we’re down one draft pick that we’ll probably have to go scrambling for later once everybody calms down and understands that it really is time to rebuild.

    Ugh – going to take a second to… just ugh.

    First. RoLo is bad, yes, but Siler is worse. He has almost no lateral movement and in a PnR offense… no.

    Humphries to go with Frye? D Rose being lured out of Chicago? What? Stop it.

    Reality time: Nash has to go. This off-season. Right now. I’ve been debating this for a year and a half with our esteemed DDL bloggers, and I know that they have to see it my way now.

    Nash is no longer strong enough to haul a franchise on his back by himself, (and really he never had to put a team on his back on his own in PHX or DAL), but on a team like ORL, MIA, POR, or NY, (which I don’t think is wise for the Knicks), he could be that floor general that allows for the destruction of enemies far and wide while also easily covering up for his defensive liabilities.

    These teams know this and to them, his value is still penthouse-high.

    It G-Hill is attached to a Nash move then so be it. I’ll take J-Chill’s years remaining over G-Hill’s years past.

    For sure, that draft pick we laughed away to Houston would be made up and then some because we’d definitely get back one, (or two or three), picks for Two-Time.

    As a franchise, you can then look at the rebuilding process from a “most promising” approach instead of the “Nash” approach where we revolving-door the league every year.

    People are down on this draft, but people don’t know for sure until it’s concluded and the players are actually balling in the NBA. Oh, and don’t forget about Europe.

    I’m so cool with bringing in young guys to go with our remaining core, (which is also still young), especially if THORTAT?!!!!?! is the guy in the middle.

    You clean up the fatty ends [Siler] and the dead bits [Carter] and, without Nash, you’re left with a roster that’s going to be exciting to watch at the cost of around 38 wins next year.

    Big difference is, that’s 38 wins and rising instead of 38 wins and dying like this year.

    It has to be done. Seriously. Think about it this way: What if Matrix and STAT were buried around somebody as the franchise tried to hold onto something for too long? They would have never evolved. Got to give it to the young guys coming up. Might not need to go shopping for a stud. The stud could be here or could be coming in the draft.

    Let it go guys. SSOL is done. The Nash Era is done.

    It’s on to the next.

  • 13 Zak // Apr 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Rich Anthony, do you actually read what other people post here or just skim it and “decide” what they were “really” saying? There is ZERO chance that Rose will ever leave the Bulls to come to Phoenix. My naming him was just an example of the type of player that we need here regardless of position… especially since so many people seem obsessed with finding another Stat. And as I said, Humphries would make a good tag-team partner at PF with Frye but THAT will also never happen even though it’s more likely than getting Rose to Phoenix. The ONLY reason that I even thought of him was because I can’t help but think that Phoenix got the wrong Lopez brother and that MAYBE Robin might actually learn something by playing with and behind his more talented brother Brooke.

    And you can cry all day about what a mistake it was to trade Dragic but I will NEVER agree with you on that point. Trading him for Brooks – along with a first round pick – wasn’t a great idea. Most of all it’s the pick that really makes that trade bad to me.

    And you’re just foolish to think that by trading Nash and/or Hill that the Suns will get anything other than a few fairly good role players for them at this point in their careers. Every other team knows that they are close to the end of their careers and they won’t be willing to trade anyone other than someone like Vince Carter – oh wait, we already have him on our team – for either of them.

  • 14 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Apr 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Except what you’re missing in a Nash trade scenario is that the teams that want him actually don’t have any player-assets to send back.

    Also, when you’re the team that has something that others are drooling over, (because CP3 and DWill aren’t available this year … or are they…), you can ask for what you want.

    At this stage it’s youth and / or draft picks, and the teams will go looking for other teams to make it work. This is how the NBA has always worked especially in cities where stars grow impatient having to play with Jameer Nelsons and have eyes on the departure lounge.

    ORL, for example, is already beginning to feel this and will do what needs to be done. Plus, no way PHX is taking back Clark or Hedon’t so they’d have to cough up prospects one way or another.

    MIA has nothing PHX would want. Bibby? Sarver would be killed. They too would go looking for draft picks to entertain the Valley.

    Portland? Only if they gave up Oden and letting STAT go to NY, basically, because the warlocks probably forcasted his knees to explode half way through that 100 mil contract he wanted rules out B Roy. LMA isn’t going anywhere, so what else are they going to offer?

    NY gave up all it’s chips for ‘Melo. They too would have to surrender picks.

    Most important, if Nash is dealt, PHX would do right by him and would not send him to the Bobcats even if it brought back 5 first round picks.

    So yes, teams will have to cough up some picks.

    And no. In no way shape or form is Brooks the better solution over Dragon. Hell, I’d run Dowdell over Brooks at the point in our system. That trade was hot garbage, 100%.

  • 15 Steve // Apr 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I’m with Rich on those points.

    Nash has a ton of value remaining to teams who might find use for him, but I just think that those teams are limited, and I think what they can offer might be limited to picks as well. The best fits I see for Nash are Orlando and NY, but all they could possibly offer is picks (two or three unprotected first-round picks plus some cash isn’t far-fetched). MIA should have its picks for the next few years if they ever deciding to do an investigation on the tampering that went down, so who knows if their picks are worth anything.

    And the Dragic trade was a joke. We gave up a cost-effective option that had been bred in our system for a guy who is going to wear our uniform for a few months. Dragic is no all-star, and he’s never going to be, but I can definitely see him being an efficient starter on a good/great team if he had pieces around him. He produces when he’s in there, and if he didn’t have to be THE MAN like PGs in the PHX system seem to have to be, then he could do quite well.

    Phoenix just relies to heavily on its PGs, and that’s a shame. PGs don’t bring home trophies.

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