For a team that obviously loves playing at home, the Suns have certainly spent enough time away from there this season.
Expect that trend to change… well, after yet one more road trip, anyway.
Just 15 hours after extending their NBA-best home record to 9-0 with a win over the Spurs Tuesday, Phoenix left for Portland as a precursor to this weekend’s start of a four-game homestand.
A .500 team on the road this season, Thursday’s match-up vs. the Blazers is a nationally televised game on TNT – a network that hasn’t exactly been kind to the Suns with 16 straight primetime losses. Of course, the Suns’ last victory on TNT came against Portland – in March 2008.
According to Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry, a last-second switch to a “hometown” broadcaster may help turn the tide. It certainly can’t hurt.
“We have Gary Bender announcing the game tomorrow night, so he’ll be our good luck charm,” said Gentry about the FS Arizona mainstay going national. “Marv Albert lost his voice or something, so Gary will do the game with Reggie Miller. He’s our hometown guy. Fox Sports Arizona we like… with TNT we struggle. Over the last couple of years, we’ve won 62 games, 54 games , 61 games in a season … we’re on there a ton and every game we lost had been on TNT (laughs). We’ll line up and see what Gary can do for us.”
The Suns have had the Blazer’s number, as of late, winning 11 of the last 13 against them. Those two losses to Portland did come in succession to close out last year’s season series.
“Portland’s been struggling off and on this year, but they are very capable at home,” Grant Hill said. “As long as they have Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge out there, they are a very talented team. So we have to come ready to go.
“We haven’t won a road game in awhile, so it’d be nice to go get one against a good team. We’ve been playing well at home and after this game, we’ll be home for awhile. We have a great opportunity tomorrow night.”
Following Thursday’s game (and their return charter to Phoenix), the team can officially unpack thanks to the start of their longest homestand thus far this season – a four-gamer featuring the Wizards, Cavaliers, Thunder and Clippers.
“We haven’t played too many here,” point guard Steve Nash said, “but what we have played we’ve won. We’ve beaten some good teams, and we’re getting some confidence at home. The crowd is getting into it, so it’s turning into a great environment.
“It’s tough on our families to be away so much. Luckily, our record is pretty good, considering, but it’ll be nice to be home for a little normalcy in our lives. Although we play on Christmas Day, we’ll take it, especially after being on the road so much. It’ll be great to be home for awhile.”