After a couple big victories over some top-tier opponents in Portland and Oklahoma City, the Phoenix Suns improve their playoff chances as the season comes to a close.
Of course whenever a team wins, their odds at making the playoffs should generally improve, but in this situation the odds are tipping in the Suns favor more every day.
ArizonaSports.com’s Craig Grialou predicted here on Bleacher Report on April 3rd that Phoenix would go 4-3 in their final seven games, with losses to Portland and OKC, a victory over New Orleans, a loss to San Antonio, and finishing out the season on a three-game win streak over Dallas, Memphis and Sacramento. I agreed with Craig’s prognostication, although maybe would switch a Portland loss and a Dallas/Memphis/Sacramento victory, since we’ve dominated Portland all year.
However, wins over both the Trailblazers and Thunder have put the Suns in an excellent position, along with a Memphis blowout at the hands of the juggernaut San Antonio Spurs.
In the bottom of the Western Conference playoff standings, Golden State sits in the sixth spot, Dallas is a game and a half behind them, Suns half a game behind the Mavis, and finally the Memphis Grizzlies are a full game behind the Suns.
Suns remaining schedule with predictions:
New Orleans- win
San Antonio- win
Mavericks remaining schedule with predictions:
San Antonio- lose
Grizzlies remaining schedule with predictions:
Los Angeles (LAL)- win
With my decently conservative predictions, the Suns would finish at 50-32, the Grizz at 49-33 and the Mavs at 48-34. The Suns would actually finish in the seventh spot in the super-competitive Western Conference if this happens. Basically, the Suns just need to take care of business. All their remaining games are away from US Airways Center (except the Memphis game) giving either hope of running the table for an automatic playoff spot or cause worry that the Suns might miss the playoffs. Depends on your outlook.
Fortunately, the Grizzlies are a full game behind the Suns. So at the final game of the season for both Memphis and Dallas, a Mavs victory could mean securing a postseason berth. However, if the Suns don’t take care of business, a Grizz victory could mean Phoenix is out of the mix. They have to win some tough games on the road to ensure that doesn’t happen. They don’t want their ability to make the playoffs determined by a Memphis/Dallas game.
Additionally, Golden State has five games left and could easily falter and make things interesting.