Grizzlies Clinch Final Playoff Spot; NBA Twitter Mourns Suns Loss

04.15.14 3 years ago 2 Comments
Goran Dragic

Goran Dragic (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

The Suns, after gaining the lead in the fourth quarter last night, eventually fell to the Grizzlies, 97-91, for the fourth time this season, eliminating them from playoff contention and bringing to a close one of the more remarkable runs in NBA history. Before the season, everyone (and we do mean everyone) thought Phoenix was headed for one of the worst records in the league as they competed for the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes. Instead, they’re everybody’s favorite League Pass team, and who should have made the playoffs in a more perfect world.

For the Suns, every starter but PJ Tucker hit double-figures Monday night, and Markieff Morris somehow made pull-up 20-footers look like a smart decision on his way to scoring a team-high 21 points off the bench. The balanced fast-break style of a more athletic version of SSOL, reveals how great first year head coach Jeff Hornacek understood what could work with this personnel.

But Mike Miller and his shorn locks, came in and scored 21 of his own points off the bench for the Grizzlies, providing the outside shooting they so desperately needed when they signed him this offseason. Aside from Miller, Zach Randolph scored a season-high 32 points, including the world’s slowest fast break following a costly Goran Dragic turnover in the final minute.

But Memphis wasn’t supposed to be here, either. They were 10-15 on December 18 this year, following the loss of Marc Gasol on November 22. They battled back under another first-year coach, Dave Joerger. When Gasol returned on Jan. 14, they won nine of their next 10 and now they’ll be playing the Mavericks for the 7-seed Wednesday night.

VP of Basketball Operations for the Grizz, John Hollinger, sums up Memphis’ turnaround as only the Godfather of PER can:

But NBA Twitter, that hyper-vigilant, amorphous mob with an ever-widening power to persuade opinions on the social networking site, mourned the Suns loss; they had become everybody’s favorite story this season.

Bethlehem Shoals of Free Darko fame, summed up the Suns nicely in his piece about them for Gentleman’s Quarterly:

“[The Suns] were a reminder that basketball isn’t an attempt to pin down absolute truth, but to watch a game—or a season—play out in all its half-chaotic grandeur.”

So with that, here is how just a few mourned and gave thanks for what the Suns did this season. Nobody can perfectly predict the NBA, and nobody saw this coming, which is why they’ve become the darlings of NBA this season.

So long sweet Suns, may you continue to burn ever brighter with all that cap space, the draft picks, a strong starting nucleus and a coach that knows what he’s doing.

How will the Suns do next season?

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