Tuesday could make or break the Phoenix Suns’ playoff hopes

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns have a big day on Tuesday, both when they take the court and afterward when they will be scoreboard watching.

The improbable is right at the outstretched fingertips of the Phoenix Suns, and in just a few days’ time, we will know if the franchise’s decade-long playoff drought will come to an end. There is a lot that must happen between now and then, but perhaps there is no bigger day than Tuesday, August 11.

Because all the possible outcomes can get a little confusing, let’s break down what the Suns need to happen in order to land the 9th seed and compete in the play-in games.

First and foremost, they need to win their two remaining games. If they lose even one of them, they’re done (pretty much). The Suns will take on the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday afternoon in a game where Philly will likely be without both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Then they will play the Mavericks (on national TV, surprisingly) on Thursday.

Also, it is okay to ignore the San Antonio Spurs. Even if they win out, they will be narrowly behind the Suns in win percentage, so they would need the Suns to drop a game for them to play any kind of factor in the playoff race.

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The Phoenix Suns need to win and get help from the Grizzlies and/or Blazers.

The only two teams you need to watch are the Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Suns need either of these things to happen for them to make the play-in game:

  • The Grizzlies lose BOTH of their remaining two games.
  • The Trail Blazers lose ONE of their remaining two games.

That’s it. That’s what to watch for. If the Grizzlies lose two, then it will be the Suns and the Blazers in the play-in games. If the Blazers lose one, it’ll be the Suns and the Grizzlies.

The other possible scenario, I suppose, is if the Blazers lose BOTH games, then the Suns could still lose one as long as the Spurs also lose one of their remaining two games, but the chances of all that playing out are slim-to-none.

So, just focus on Memphis and Portland. They, along with the Suns, all play on Tuesday, so Tuesday is a big day for the Suns’ future.

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The Grizzlies play the Boston Celtics, who have solidified the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference. Suns fans will have to hope that won’t deter Brad Stevens from playing his starters most of the game.

Memphis has been in a freefall during the bubble, only winning one game thus far and losing Jaren Jackson Jr. for the season to a meniscus tear. It is possible the Celtics’ subs could even take this flailing team down, but with their playoff lives on the line, there is no doubt Ja Morant and his squad’s motivation to win will be high.

As for the Trail Blazers, their game could be even bigger. They play the Dallas Mavericks who will be playing their second game in a row after beating the Jazz Monday night. The major problem here is that neither Luka Doncic nor Kristaps Porzingis played due to various ailments, meaning there is a good chance they will sit out Tuesday afternoon as well.

This resting of stars (or playing it safe with minor injuries) is the exact thing that has both helped and hurt the Phoenix Suns. Month Williams’ team took advantage of a depleted Heat and Thunder roster, and hope to do the same against the 76ers, but unfortunately, the same benefit is afforded to the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers as well.

Still, in the NBA, you never know who is going to have a huge or an off night.

All the Phoenix Suns can do is what they’ve been doing all bubble long: just keep winning. The rest will play out as it will. Tuesday is a big day.

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