Suns face ‘challenge’ of Oklahoma City, Dallas

Mar 7, 2012, 12:06 AM | Updated: 12:20 am

The Oklahoma City Thunder are the Western Conference’s number-one team with the league’s best home record.

The Dallas Mavericks are the defending NBA champions.

The Suns will see both over the next 48 hours.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” said head coach Alvin Gentry of having two games in two days against two of the better teams.

“It’s going to be a great challenge for us, see where we are,” added Grant Hill.

The Suns are enjoying their best success of the season winning five of six, including a season-high tying three straight. However at 17-20, they still find themselves having to leapfrog four teams to be involved in the playoff discussion.

“I like where we are at this point in the season,” Hill continued. “I like going into these set of games with what we’ve been doing as of late. We just have to continue with that. We have to understand that the level of play is going to rise a little bit.”

Try a lot.

The Suns next three opponents are among the top eight in the conference; while 11 of their 14 remaining games in March are against teams with winning records. The Suns are 8-12 against teams with records above .500.

“We’ve had some quality wins this year against good opponents, against good teams,” said Hill referring to recent victories over both L.A. teams. “That has to give us some confidence. We’ll remind each other of that.”

The Suns have lost twice to the Mavericks, falling each time in Dallas. Their meeting Thursday takes place at US Airways Center.

Wednesday, the Suns will be back in Oklahoma City, where they were defeated 107-97 in only the fourth game of the season.

“We’re a different team than the team that went there earlier in the year,” explained Hill, who in that game held Kevin Durant to 4-of-11 shooting for 12 points, which remains his low for the season.

The first meeting notwithstanding the Suns have had success in Oklahoma City, winning last season with a depleted roster following the trade with Orlando and then two seasons ago when Steve Nash did not make the trip in order to rest his sore back and abdomen.

“Let’s see what we can do,” said Hill, “see if we can go in there and play well and play well enough to get a win.”

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