The Suns could not make their own luck when they had a chance to win their way into the playoffs. They also did not have any luck with just keeping postseason hope alive Monday night, getting eliminated with a 97-91 loss to Memphis at US Airways Center. The franchise's hard luck now lays claim to four of NBA history's six winningest teams to not make the playoffs. A three-game losing streak in the final week leaves the Suns (47-34) out of the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season, the franchise's longest postseason drought since 1971-75. "If we had three All-Stars and don't make the playoffs, then you go, 'Oh, my goodness,' but we had guys who proved they can play in this league and play at a high level," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "I thought we did the best we could." Memphis (49-32) clinched the final spot convincingly by sweeping the teams' four-game series. Three of those wins came when the Grizzlies were a below-.500 team without the services of Marc Gasol. Memphis is the type of team that has given the Suns problems all season because it keeps them from their fastbreaking strengths with a physical, grinding method. The Suns went 3-13 this season against the NBA's six slowest-paced teams, with Memphis being the slowest with a great half-court defense. "It makes it tough on the executing part," Hornacek said. "As a team, we're not quite at that point where we can play in the half-court and execute plays over and over. Our strength is getting out in the open court." The Suns were the ones crawling to the finish line Monday night, going scoreless on their final six possessions after leading 91-90 with 1:27 to go. Mike Conley was left alone for a go-ahead 3-pointer, his first of the game, and Goran Dragic got stuck in the air and threw away a pass that led to a Zach Randolph layup that continued the Grizzlies' 7-0 game-ending run.
Suns eliminated from playoff picture with loss to Grizzlies
Arizona Republic | Apr 15