Star-crossed Suns sinking out of sight in West

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PHOENIX (AP) -- A five-game losing streak has the Phoenix Suns five games behind eighth-place Dallas, entering Wednesday night's play, for the final Western Conference playoff berth.

With just 18 games to play, and Cleveland coming to town on Thursday night, the Suns are in imminent danger of missing the post-season for the first time since 2004.

Interim coach Alvin Gentry met with his players on Wednesday, a day after Phoenix's devastating 122-117 home loss to Dallas, to emphasize that all is not yet lost.

In the first two games under Gentry, the Suns clobbered the Los Angeles Clippers 140-100 and 142-119.

But Phoenix went 0-4 on an eastern road trip. The losses to Orlando, Miami, Houston and San Antonio were competitive.

In the end, as was the case Tuesday against Dallas, the Suns couldn't keep their opponent from scoring when it mattered most.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)