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Four-Day NBA Playoffs Warning: The End of the Road, Or, Phoenix is Eliminated From the Playoffs

The NBA Playoffs start in four days (!!!!!!!!) so each day until then we’ll be taking a look at some of the most important storylines leading up to the best two months of the year.

The regular season hasn’t come to its conclusion quite yet, but when the final buzzers sound Wednesday night, the Phoenix Suns will find themselves in the exact position everyone predicted them to be in—the lottery.

Despite the Suns’ best efforts, they were eliminated last night by Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies, as they fell, 97-91 in the penultimate game of the year. Z-Bo, in particular, proved the most difficult to deal with, dropping 32 points on 15-25 shooting. Phoenix’s play wasn’t particularly poor; they just fell short against a far more experienced team.

In a sense, we all ended up being right about the Suns—they weren’t a playoff team this year. But it was only because the West was a tough as ever. The Conference will finish with seven teams reaching 50 wins, something only done by Indiana and Miami in the East. The Suns meanwhile, will miss out on the playoffs despite potentially winning 48 games, a mark that could find them third in the East. Phoenix missing out on the postseason this year is yet another reminder that the world is not a fair place.

One more meaningless game remains for this year’s Phoenix Suns squad, a team that exceeded all expectations and won over NBA fans across the world with their exciting, upbeat #brand of basketball. We’ll have to wait till November to see Eric Bledsoe dart around the court, making plays no one but he could have envisioned; to see Goran Dragic work his Eastern European magic; to see Gerald Green soar through the air for alley-oops; to see Miles Plumlee and the Morris twins operate down low.

It took me a few months to buy into the Suns as a playoff team. Even late into December I had my doubts, but week in, week out they proved me wrong, staying right in the midst of the playoff race, despite losing Eric Bledsoe for an extended period of time. It’s a shame that this is the end of the road for the 2013-2014 Phoenix Suns. They are deserving of a far better fate than another trip to the lottery, but there’s a good chance it’s the last team we see them there for a while.

In a few eons months when the playoffs come to an end, and the Draft Lottery is held, we’ll hear the Phoenix Suns name called once again. We were right about that when we made our preseason predictions, but when it comes to this unlikely, enjoyable, and entertaining group, that’s about all we got right.

jmaloney