The Phoenix Suns have been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA to begin the 2013-14 season. Along with the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix was expected to be a potentially historically bad team this season with tanking on their mind, but have come out of the gate winning games and looking miles better than almost anyone could have expected.
One of the huge reasons behind the Suns’ early success has been the Eric Bledsoe living up to the expectations place upon him as he came to Phoenix in a trade and was finally given a starting job. Bledsoe has been a dynamic scorer, playmaker and overall contributor from the point guard position and it has vaulted this Suns team to the level that they’re at right now.
Though they have undeniably been playing well on their way to five early wins this season, the Suns have also benefitted from coming out victorious in close games. In fact, almost all of the games that the Suns have been a part of have been close contests, including their one-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night. On Wednesday, the Suns weren’t able to get some last second shots and tip-ins to fall, which gave them their third loss of the year.
Of their eight games this year, only two have been decided by double-digits and the other two games were decided by fewer than 15 points. It seems as if the Suns have been on the positive end in close games, getting shots in clutch situations to fall that swings games in their favor down the stretch. Though it’s worked out nicely for them early on, that’s a dangerous place to live in for an entire season.
The thing about playing in close games against NBA-level competition is that it’s sometimes out of your control. Sure, they could continue to hit big shots, but who’s to say that their opponents won’t start coming down the floor and answering later in the year. Then there’s situations like Wednesday when those shots don’t fall. The Suns clearly have a hand in winning close games, but there’s also a bit of chance involved as well in close games.
When it gets down to it and the 74 games that still lie ahead of the Suns, they still have work to do to prove that their hot start is no fluke. Perhaps they are this good and we just failed to realize it. However, there’s also the chance that Phoenix has been on the right end of some lucky breaks. Either way, it will be interesting to see if they improve and if those close games continue to swing their way going forward.