The Phoenix Suns had themselves a tough road trip this week, but they split the four games right down the middle. As a result, the team climbed back above .500 and has stayed near the playoff race. It seems like the Suns are coming together as a cohesive squad at the right time of the year. Let's just hope some of those regrettable early season losses don't come back to haunt them as the playoffs draw nearer.
Here is this week's player thermometer, in order of hottest to nottest. Each player's ranking for last week is in parentheses.
1. Steve Nash (2): The aging point guard had a tough time in the state of Florida, racking up 12 turnovers (as opposed to only nine assists) in losses against the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic. Nash rebounded strong during the second half of the road trip, though, with 30 assists in wins against the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers. He continues to be the anchor for this playoff-contending Suns squad. (Nikil Selvam)
2. Grant Hill (5): Mr. Hill had himself some nice offensive explosions this week, going for 19 points and 22 points against the Magic and Pacers, respectively. Besides his increased scoring, Grant is the closest things the Suns have to a utility player, and he does most things with above average skill; this has really come in handy for a Suns team just starting to gel. (Justin Burning)
3. Jared Dudley (1): Dudley's scoring cooled a bit. He had three 10-point games and a 17-pointer. But he has been "bouncier" and more active. He is everywhere on the court and seems to be part of every play. (Jess Root)
4. Marcin Gortat (4): The Polish Hammer finished the week strong, scoring 23 points against Indiana and 22 against Cleveland. Gortat grabbed 16 rebounds the final two games of the week and averaged eight rebounds this week. Gortat continued his strong shooting this week, going 25-49 from the field. (Ryan Bafaloukos)
5. Channing Frye (3): Frye had trouble shooting the ball, especially from long distance (3-for-14 from behind the arc). He's bound to bounce back (as all streaky shooters do), but the fact that he didn't grab more than five rebounds in any of Phoenix's four games is a bit alarming. (NS)
6. Markieff Morris (9): Morris made an impact this week while averaging 20 minutes per game off of the bench. He brings offensive firepower to the reserves, a fact that was on full display Sunday when the rookie scored 22 points in just 26 minutes. (NS)
7. Robin Lopez (7): In the context of his potential, RoLo hasn't had a great season, but he's come into his own as a backup big man. Though it was in a loss, Robin came through strong against Orlando (14 points, eight rebounds) when Gortat was having his worst game as a starter. He has been a consistently productive reserve player during the team's hot post-All Star Break run. (JB)
8. Shannon Brown (8): Brown had one of his best weeks as a Sun this week, averaging just over 10 points per game. Brown played over 20 minutes in every game this week and was efficient, shooting over 50% from the field in all four games this week. (RB)
9. Michael Redd (6): After his 25-point explosion against the Rockets, Redd went back to inconsistent. He shot only 6-16 for the week and somehow managed to play 12 minutes against the Magic without taking a single shot. That's odd for him. (JR)
10. Sebastian Telfair (11): Telfair does just what he needs to, and while his shooting is inconsistent, he is doing a great job with the second unit. He hits a big shot now and again, he passes the ball, he puts pressure on the ball carrier and plays with energy. (JR)
11. Hakim Warrick (12): The War Machine had himself an awfully quiet week, only getting playing time against the Pacers. But, he did make the most of those 14 minutes, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds. (JB)
12. Ronnie Price (10): Price played a total of 11 minutes this week. However, Price did shoot 100% from the field (1-1), and scored a total of four points this week. (RB)
13. Josh Childress (13): Childress did not play any minutes this week. (NS)