Suns return from road facing important homestand

Jan 26, 2011, 1:25 AM | Updated: 2:38 pm

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Suns will start a key five-game homestand this week after an up and down road trip.

The Suns seemed to be getting it together as they won five straight including the first three of their road trip before dropping the last two games to lowly Detroit and Philadelphia.

Phoenix (20-23) sits 10th in the Western Conference and 3.5 games back from the 8th seed and a spot in the playoffs.

The Suns need to string together some wins, but will face some difficult opposition during this homestand.

First up for the purple and orange will be the Charlotte Bobcats(17-25) who are currently the 8th seed in the watered down Eastern Conference.

The Bobcats are led by Stephen Jackson who averages 17.9 points per game and the energetic Gerald Wallace who averages 15.6 points and 7.9 rebounds.

The Suns have won nine of the 13 meetings overall with the Bobcats.

Phoenix will take on the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics(33-10) on Friday.

Phoenix swept the season series in 2009-10 and has won 22 of the last 35 meetings overall, including four of the last five at US Airways Center.

The Celtics have dominated their conference again this year with suffocating defense and the continued emergence of Rajon Rondo who is averaging 13 assists per game.

The Suns will face more defense when taking on the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday. The Hornets are ranked #1 in the NBA in points allowed only giving up 90.9 per game.

The easiest game on the Suns’ homestand will be taking on the Milwaukee Bucks(16-26) next Wednesday.

The Bucks have really struggled to score points this season, but do rank #4 in the NBA in points allowed.

Phoenix concludes its home stretch with a battle against the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder(28-16).

The Thunder are led by the overpowering Kevin Durant(28.1 points per game) who continues to elevate his game and Russell Westbrook (22.5 points per game) who is quickly garnering the reputation as one of the best point guards in the league.

The Suns will hope to get more continued great play from Grant Hill who averaged 17.0 points and 5.2
rebounds during the recent road trip.

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