“The Phoenix Suns are in the eight playoff spot in the Western Conference but not for long, look out for the Thunder cause they are coming.”
Those were the words of Stephen A. Smith on Sports Center Saturday morning while commenting on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s chances to make the playoffs. The provocative Smith could have just said the Thunder would make the playoffs after an injury riddled start to the season but he didn’t. He went a step further by singling out the Phoenix Suns as the team the Thunder would replace in the playoff bracket.
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Is he right? Will the resurgence of the now healthy Thunder supplant the Suns? Or will the Suns be able to rise to the occasion and move up in the playoff seedings?
The 19-20 Thunder are currently 3 1/2 games back of the Suns for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference. The Thunder are also 2-0 against the Suns this season, both of those games were played in OKC.
There are two games remaining between the two clubs and the Suns can help themselves by winning both of those games at home. But the streaky Suns can also help themselves by winning consistently and cutting back on the losing streaks.
It seems when the Suns lose they always lose in pairs. The Suns are 6-11 in games following a loss including a six-game losing skid in early December that threatened to derail their season. If the Suns are serious about contending for a playoff spot, they have to learn how to bounce back after a loss.
The Suns have won the first two games of a crucial eight-game home stand with games remaining against playoff contenders from both conferences. The Portland Trailblazers, L.A. Clippers, Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls will all visit US Airways Center in the coming weeks.
If the Suns can get wins over these teams and avoid a losing streak, they could go along way to solidifying their position in the Western Conference. Now is the time for them to make their move.