Suns Vs. Rockets: Phoenix Puts Playoff Hopes On Line In Houston

Mar. 18, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash (13) handles the ball against the Houston Rockets forward Patrick Patterson (54) during the second half at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Rockets 99-86. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE.

The Phoenix Suns have a difficult road ahead to make the NBA Playoffs. A loss on Friday night to the Houston Rockets certainly wouldn't help their chances at a postseason berth.

The Western Conference has been beating itself up all season and, as a result, the playoff standings are far from finished despite less than 10 games left in the regular season. The playoff picture could come closer to being resolved following Friday night's game between the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns, however... or it could get even more messy.

The Phoenix Suns are in tenth place in the Western Conference standings heading into Friday night's slate of 12 games, but could move just one game out of a tie for seventh place with a win over the Rockets when the two teams square off at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Conversely, a loss would help the Rockets jump the Dallas Mavericks, giving Houston sole possession of sixth place and a much better feeling about their chances of a postseason berth.

Friday night's odds seem to lean in Phoenix's favor considering the Rockets have lost their past two games at home and suffered a bad loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night -- another team in the battle for the bottom three playoff spots available in the Western Conference. With a win, the Suns could tie the season series with the Rockets, too, giving them less of a disadvantage if the season ends with a race too close to call.

If Steve Nash and the Suns aren't able to pick up a win on Friday night, they can almost kiss their playoff chances goodbye. Of the eight games Phoenix has left, seven of their opponents have records better than .500 -- a though draw considering nearly every game is going to be must-win if the teams currently in front of Phoenix don't give them the help they need.

For more on the Suns, be sure to check out Bright Side of the Sun. For news and views from a Rockets perspective, visit The Dream Shake.

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