PHOENIX – The Phoenix Suns will have to travel pretty far for their next stretch of games, but they hope they’ll find something special at the end of their trip.
The Suns, who did not practice Thursday, are heading out on a season-long six-game road trip that players believe will define the season.
They’ll travel more than 6,500 miles over the next 11 days with visits to Toronto, Indiana, New Jersey, Boston, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City. Fortunately, only the Celtics and the Thunder have winning records.
Suns point guard Steve Nash said that the road trip could define the season for the team.
“This is going to be a very important trip for us,” Nash said. “To go out on the road, obviously we have very little room for error. We have to got out on the road and play really well. This trip’s going to be defining, I think.”
Since the Suns don’t have many games left to make up ground in the playoff race, every game counts, according to Suns forward Jared Dudley.
“It’s big for us, because we don’t have too many more games to make up ground – I think there’s what 27 (games) left,” Dudley said. “A lot of winnable games, a lot of tough games. Going at Boston, we start off with Toronto, and I think Toronto, Indiana (and) New Jersey are all winnable games. We have to go in with a mindset to win those games. This road trip will tell us a lot (about) where we’re going to be at.”
Mickael Pietrus said that having so many veterans on the team, means that the squad is used to long road trips.
“We’ve been doing it for 10 years,” Pietrus said of the lengthy trip. “Vince (Carter) been doing it for 16 years. Steve Nash—like Brett Favre, he’s been doing it for 40 years. We have a bunch of vets who know what it takes on the road, make sure you take care of your body and make sure you come out hard.”
“We don’t want to take a step back, Pietrus said. “We want to move forward and come back at home and make sure we take care of business. We have a great schedule ahead of us so we look forward to play hard on our road trip and get as many wins as we can and try to be closer to the eighth spot.”
The Suns may have gotten some help at the trade deadline. They are hoping that the addition of Aaron Brooks will help the team, but the subtraction of key players on other teams could help as well.
Nash said that the trades of Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony could help the Suns gain in the playoff race.
“There’s a lot of teams that are capable in the West, so we’re going to have to play hard no matter what,” Nash said. “It could be favorable, obviously, if we play well down the stretch.”