Suns Preview: Gerald Green Wants To Play Well For Fans In Finale

November 15, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Gerald Green (14) moves the ball up court against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
November 15, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Gerald Green (14) moves the ball up court against the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix — Here we are.

The final day of the 2014-15 regular season for the Phoenix Suns (39-42), a season filled with negativity and disappointments. There will be no playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, which makes the year seem like a failure considering the expectation was to make the playoffs after a 48 win season last year.

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Major changes to the roster before the season, and during, is the main culprit to the possible nine game reduction in wins from the prior year. Add in the long list of immaturity issues that plagued the team throughout the season and it has left a bad taste in the mouth of many Suns fans.

Tonight it mercifully comes to an end with a home contest against the playoff bound Los Angeles Clippers (55-26). The Suns enter tonight having lost 10 of their past 11 games, while the Clippers need a win for home court advantage in the first round, and could be seeded as high as two in the Western Conference.

For being on a team that is playing out the string, Gerald Green seemed very motivated this morning to end the season strong.

“We are not out here trying to lose,” Green said. “Our motivation is playing in front of our fans which are the greatest fans in the NBA. I know it’s the last game of the season but we want to close it out on a good note.”

Green is one of the few, if only Suns player to be closing out the season strong

The Suns guard is averaging 19.4 points per game in the last five contests while shooting 48% from the field. He has been the main source of offense and the team will need him to score tonight if they want to be competitive against a Clippers team needing a win.

Another bright spot during this long losing skid is Eric Bledsoe, who is getting better at managing his turnovers. The Suns point guard has turned the ball over two times or less in four of his last six games, which he has done only two other times this season.

Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said after shootaround on Tuesday that there is a lot to like from Bledsoe’s game this season.

“He has had to play big minutes this year and this is his first year of playing major minutes,” Hornacek said on Bledsoe’s season. ” That is something that your body figures out how to deal with as the years go on.

“Everybody is different. As the season goes on some guys may look for more rest while others put in extra work and you find that balance of how you can be at the top for as long as possible. He has leveled off his ups and downs I think. In his games he is not turning over the ball as much and taking care of the ball and is having a better year.”

Bledsoe is averaging 17.1 points per game and a career high in rebounds (5.2) and assists (6.1).

Let’s take a look at some keys for tonight’s game.

Playing for the pride

As Green stated, the team has a lot to play for other than closing the season. They have pride for one thing, after losing 10 of 11 a win would put a nice taste in the mouth of the players heading into the offseason. The players owe it to the home fans to play hard and put on a good show in the finale, and they have some say in the Western Conference playoff picture. A Clippers win assures them home court in at least the first round, while a loss would likely drop them to a 5 or 6 seed.

Let the youngin’s loose

Archie Goodwin was let loose in the finale last season and scored a career-high 29 points. Now the situations are different, as the finale was the only game the Suns played while eliminated from the playoffs, meaning Goodwin hardly had a chance to play many minutes. This year, Goodwin and Warren both have played important minutes, and have essentially been let loose all year. My hope is they each play 30 plus minutes and have a positive night for confidence purposes heading into the offseason.

Injury updates

The Suns will be without Alex Len, Brandan Wright, Brandon Knight and Marcus Thornton for tonight’s game. Reggie Bullock may go if he passes the final step of the concussion protocol. Jerel McNeal will play as long as he is on the active roster sheet… Too soon??

Next: Jeff Hornacek Not To Blame For Suns' Struggles

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