This week's schedule was brutal for the Phoenix Suns, who faced two top-tier playoff teams (Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder) and one team they're battling with for playoff positioning (Denver Nuggets). They split the week, but didn't gain as much ground against the Utah Jazz as a Suns fan might have hoped. Plus, they may have lost Channing Frye for the rest of the year. Ouch.
Here are the player rankings for the week, with their previous rank in parentheses.
1. Marcin Gortat (5): Gortat was only one point short of recording four straight double-doubles this week (he had only nine points against OKC). He's been consistent at center during this season-ending stretch, and he'll need to keep up the steady pick-and-roll play for the Suns to close the season with a playoff berth in hand. (Nikil Selvam)
2. Jared Dudley (7): Jared Dudley came up huge for the Suns this week as they push for the playoffs. Dudley had three games scoring in double figures and shot an impressive 26-50 from the field this week, and led the team in scoring against Oklahoma City with 21 points. Dudley cooled off against Denver, only posting nine points on 4-12 shooting. (Ryan Bafaloukos)
3. Steve Nash (1): Nash had himself a pretty solid week, though it wasn't quite up to his usual standards, and he's still ailing from his hip injury. He had a couple of outstanding games as a distributor and a couple of duds. It's probably no coincidence that his two duds came against top-tier competition. (Justin Burning)
4. Channing Frye (9): Before going down with shoulder injury against the Thunder, Channing had a much better week. He scored 19, 16, and 13 before his injury and shot over 50 percent from the field. (Jess Root)
5. Sebastian Telfair (2): As Nash's primary backup, Telfair has shown the ability to both distribute and score with the second unit over the last two games against the Clippers and Nuggets. He is an important player to watch this week when the Suns travel to Utah for Tuesday's must-win game. (NS)
6. Shannon Brown (4): Brown was relatively quiet the first three games of the week, scoring a combined 31 points. Against the Nuggets, Brown broke out for 28 points and six rebounds. Brown shot 10-24 against the Nuggets, including 6-12 from three. With Brown seeing extended minutes down the stretch, the Suns will need a few more big games from Brown. (RB)
7. Markieff Morris (3): It was a quiet week for Morris, especially considering last week's work. He only averaged 6.75 points, 4.75 rebounds, and 0.25 blocks. It'll be getting to the time of year, one assumes, that Gentry's rotation will get shorter and Morris may not have played himself into the playoff rotation. (JB)
8. Michael Redd (6): Redd struggled this past week, shooting only 29 percent from the field. He put up 21 points ... for the week. His struggles hurt the bench unit, who had come to rely on his scoring before. (JR)
9. Robin Lopez (8): Lopez will probably be remembered most this week for his Flagrant 2 foul on Blake Griffin, but he should also be remembered for his improved play in the post. He did a good job of establishing size and taking his time against the opposition: more of the same could help the Suns squeeze into the playoffs this week. (NS)
10. Josh Childress (10): Like most of the season, Childress saw limited minutes this week. Childress was efficient this week as he shot 7-11 from the field, and collected 14 points total this week. Childress scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds against Oklahoma City on Wednesday. (RB)
11. Hakim Warrick (11): The War Machine got some minutes in the Nuggets game, and he did provide some instant offense, as he's able to do every once in a while. Unfortunately, it was in a losing effort. (JB)
12. Grant Hill (12): Hill is still on the shelf with his knee injury. (JR)
13. Ronnie Price (13): Price did not play this week. (NS)
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