The road was not kind to the Phoenix Suns
When the Phoenix Suns set out for their recently-concluded road trip, the prevailing thought was that the difficult stretch would be very important.
Just one of the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks had a non-losing record at the time they met up with Phoenix, giving the surprising Suns a real opportunity to pile up some wins.
Instead, they went 1-4, with losses by five, five, two and two points. Their lone win was by one point.
"For the fifth game in seven nights against a team that's playing well, I thought they gave a heck of an effort," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said after the final game of the trip, a loss to the Knicks. "We didn't make shots. Don't know if it's because it's the end of the trip."
Regardless, you better believe the Suns are happy to be back home, where their next five games will be played. No more snow, no more travel delays and no more hostile crowds.
Unfortunately, though, still no Eric Bledsoe, either.
"It's a little bit harder now with Eric out. It's much easier when you're playing together and you have two ball handlers," point guard Goran Dragic said after the Knicks game. "But it is what it is and I have to keep my head up."
Besides the upcoming home stand, the good news for the Suns is that at 21-16 they still have a two-game lead over the Denver Nuggets for the Western Conference's final playoff spot, and are only one game back of the Dallas Mavericks for the seventh.
But as crucial as the five-game road trip was supposed to be, this cluster of home contests could be just as important. It should also be a bit more difficult, at least in terms of the quality of opponents. Starting off with the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday, the Suns will also host the Mavericks, Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards.
The Lakers are struggling, but the Mavericks and Nuggets, as previously mentioned, are in the playoff hunt, while the Pacers have the best record in basketball and Wizards are currently an Eastern Conference playoff team.
A good stretch here could solidify the Suns as a playoff team; a bad one could put them on the outside looking in.
Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
- Kentucky freshman Julius Randle to enter NBA draft
- Jeff Hornacek: We got it back to Phoenix Suns basketball
- Suns' Jeff Hornacek finishes behind Spurs' Gregg Popovich in Coach of the Year voting
- Phoenix Suns' vocal, emotional leader P.J. Tucker wants to return
- Suns analyst: Team would benefit from veteran experience, clutch performer
- Tim Kempton, Suns analyst - Tuesday April 22Suns radio analyst Tim Kempton calls in to react to the blast.
- Bickley Blast - Tuesday April 22Bickley blasts on postseason awards and how making it in the playoffs makes a huge difference
- Eddie Johnson, Suns analyst - Monday April 21Suns analyst Eddie Johnson talks about the NBA playoffs.
- Robert Sarver, Suns owner - Friday April 18Robert Sarver talks about possible offseason plans.
- Bickley Blast - Friday April 18Does Eric Bledsoe want to spend the prime of his career with the Suns?