Phoenix Suns’ slip vs. Spurs means a little pain in NBA power rankings

Phoenix Suns, Jae Crowder (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Jae Crowder (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Phoenix Suns had a nice week going, doing everything a good-almost-great team should be doing at this time of the season: winning home games.

The Suns beat the Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and Sacramento Kings before failing to answer the bell against the San Antonio Spurs.

Phoenix Suns fortunes among NBA power rankings took a dip following a disappointing loss to the San Antonio Spurs, breaking a 10-game home winning streak.

They passed the first test on a gruesome road trip, defeating the Milwaukee Bucks with some timely contributions from Torrey Craig to begin this week. On deck: the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets. Now that’s a full menu.

ESPN power rankings: Phoenix Suns are No. 3

That San Antonio stinker dropped Phoenix from No. 2 to No. 3 with ESPN, whose No. 1 team this week is the 76ers — the Suns’ opponent on Wednesday night.

"Phoenix’s 10-game home winning streak came to an end on Saturday against the Spurs, but the Suns still finished the week just a game and a half back of the Jazz for the top spot in the Western Conference. Also, there was another milestone achieved by Suns guard Chris Paul, who moved into fifth place on the all-time steals list, passing Maurice Cheeks."

The Suns will need everything Paul and Devin Booker have to emerge with at least a couple of additional victories this week. NBA power rankings: Phoenix Suns are No. 3

Dropping out of the No. 1 spot (the Sixers are’s new No. 1) and sliding to No. 3, the Suns now sit behind the Los Angeles Clippers. And warns of the road ahead.

"The Suns are set to play 12 of their final 16 games on the road, with the five-game trip that begins Monday pitting them against five of the top six teams in the Eastern Conference. Phoenix has the league’s best road record (17-7), along with the West’s second-best record (16-6) against the East. They’re 4-1 against the East’s top six, with the one loss having come when they blew a 24-point lead to Brooklyn.Though they remain in a tight race for the top seed in the West, there wasn’t a ton of urgency to bank as many wins as possible at home. But the Suns really laid an egg against the Spurs on Saturday. It was their worst offensive game of the season and just their fifth loss that wasn’t within five points in the last five minutes."

It was also noted that, in winning the four games prior to the Spurs debacle, the Suns scored more than 121 points per 100 possessions, with seven players averaging double-figures .

Bleacher Report NBA power rankings: Phoenix Suns are No. 3

The Clippers stayed at No. 1 here, with the Sixers pushing the Suns back one notch from last week’s position.

BR offers a glowing review, including the recent efforts from Deandre Ayton, but it starts with the team’s misfire in the Spurs game.

"What made that loss particularly painful was that it was an opportunity to pull within half a game of the Jazz and the best record in the NBA.This team has just about everything one could ask for. Devin Booker is its go-to scorer. Deandre Ayton is a double-double machine with 30 of them this season. Chris Paul is the maestro pulling all the right strings, and when it is needed, he pulls out his mid-range game to help close games. The Suns are getting key contributions from Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cameron Payne and Dario Saric. And in the end, they are well-coached by Monty Williams."

After the win over Milwaukee, though, the Suns have won 12 of their past 14 games.

CBS Sports NBA power rankings: Phoenix Suns are No. 2

The Clippers and Suns stayed as Nos. 1 and 2, but those Sixers closed to No. 3 in this week’s CBS rankings.

"The Suns were rolling and hot on the trail of the Utah Jazz for the league’s best record, when they were unexpectedly blitzed by a short-handed Spurs team on Saturday. Hey, these things happen, and Phoenix has still won 14 of its last 17 games despite the hiccup. Devin Booker and Chris Paul both shot below 40 percent from the field this week and the Suns still went 3-1, a testament to the depth of this roster and the reliability of the system. Deandre Ayton put up 17.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game this week on 72 percent field goals."

One last note about the Suns’ road trip. After beating Milwaukee and taking on Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn, Phoenix visits the New York Knicks.

New York was a relatively soft landing spot until recently. Today, the Knicks sit among the top 10 in the CBS NBA power rankings.

Next. Phoenix Suns best-case playoff matchups. dark