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Suns return to Madhouse on McDowell in 1st episode of new series

The Phoenix Suns really have come full circle.

In a season in which they can return to the postseason for the first time in a decade, the Suns will also be returning to the Madhouse on McDowell for the first time in nearly 30 years — for practice anyway.

On Sunday, the team dropped its first episode of “Don’t Sleep on Basketball” which featured a first look at the Suns’ return to basketball operations at the Madhouse on McDowell.

“Feels good to be back, except I don’t know what I’m walking into,” Suns forward Frank Kaminsky said while walking into the arena.

“It has a historic feel to it. It’s definitely different than any other NBA arena I’ve been in. I’m fascinated with the engineering of this building.”

Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, located on 19th Avenue and McDowell Road in Phoenix, was the Suns’ original home arena from 1968-92.

“That place was special,” former Suns forward and current broadcaster Eddie Johnson said. “It wasn’t like a pristine place to play [but] it was like our Boston Garden.”

Phoenix is returning to the practice court for the first time since the NBA season was put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak in March.

Talking Stick Resort Arena is currently undergoing previously scheduled renovations because the NBA season would normally be over during the summer months. The Suns’ new practice facility is still under construction.

The Phoenix Mercury were already slated to play the entirety of their 2020 season at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

“We had staff from [Talking Stick Resort] Arena come over and build the Mercury locker room out of the old Suns locker room,” manager of equipment operations Jay Gaspar said.

“Putting our court down, making it feel like the Madhouse on McDowell, feel like home.”

The Suns also converted a storage unit at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum into a weight training facility that head strength and conditioning coach Cory Schlesinger says is “actually better than most [when] you consider weight rooms in the NBA.”

Schlesinger highlighted that the makeshift weight room allows for certain workouts that weren’t possible at the Suns’ practice facility.

But after not playing competitive basketball for over three months, Suns forward Mikal Bridges and Kaminsky are willing to go just about anywhere to play.

“I’m just happy we have our court,” Bridges said. “We could be in a garage for all I care for. As long as we have our court and stuff, I’m fine with it.”

Added Kaminsky: “I’ll go to Saturn to play basketball at this point. I’ll go pretty much anywhere.”

Having been invited to Orlando for being less than 6.5 games out of postseason contention, the Suns will tip off “seeding games” from July 31 to Aug. 14 as they fight for a playoff spot.

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