Meaningful basketball games in Phoenix have been as elusive as sweater weather in August. Playoff basketball might as well be a parka on the 4th of July.
But right now the Suns are 5-0 in the NBA bubble restart experience and, like, could actually make this play-in game that seemed to be such long odds just a few weeks ago.
The Miami Heat were shorthanded but jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, but the Suns scratched and clawed their way to a 60-60 tie at halftime. In the second half, Jevon Carter scored 13 points and brought the “bulldog” mentality on defense according to head coach Monty Williams.
The Suns are rolling, but how can they go from a feel-good story in the second half of the season to an actual shot at the play-in round to make the postseason?
All eyes look to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Yes, the Suns have to get the job done against Oklahoma City, Philadelphia and Dallas over the next five days, but there’s still a chance Phoenix goes a perfect 8-0 in the bubble and not get a shot at the playoffs.
Portland winning out would create that scenario.
The Blazers are coming off a 122-117 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday and have the Sixers, Dallas and Brooklyn left on their schedule. Portland is 1-4 against those teams, with all of those games being decided by 10 points or less.
The Suns are 3-3 against their remaining opponents.
NBA.com’s Matt Petersen breaks down what it will take for the Suns to make their first postseason in a decade:
POR wins out, Suns don't make it
POR goes 2-1, Suns need to win out
POR goes 1-2, Suns need to go 2-1
POR goes 0-3, Suns need to go 1-2
Any Suns loss could also see Spurs leap-frog if they keep winning
— Matt Petersen (@TheMattPetersen) August 9, 2020
The odds haven’t been in their favor, but they’ve shocked the world to give themselves a chance. With a few more wins, it might be time to dig through the closet for some winter clothes.