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NBA Playoff Picture 2012: Suns Outlook Bleak After Loss To Nuggets

The Phoenix Suns had two chances left in the regular season to control some measure of their own destiny. They squandered their first such opportunity on Saturday night, as they fell to the Denver Nuggets and helped Denver clinch a playoff spot.

Now there is just one playoff spot remaining in the Western Conference that is still up for grabs and the Suns have slid out of that No. 8 seed for the time being. Phoenix is now duking it out with the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets for that final spot.

The Jazz defeated the Orlando Magic on Saturday night in overtime, which places them one game ahead of the Rockets and Suns in the standings. The good news is that the Suns visit the Jazz on Tuesday and will have a chance to tie them in the standings. The bad news is that will be the last chance for Phoenix to directly influence their postseason chances.

The Suns will need to win on Tuesday. After that, they'll need a lot of luck.

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