A few years back, before I discovered Twitter and the power of 140 character blogging, I wrote a longer piece for Suns.com about a 9-game road trip. The idea behind it was that the Suns were in the midst of a 5-game trip, with one game back in Phoenix before taking off for a 3-game roadie. If you can follow along with that logic, Phoenix is currently on a freakishly long 15-game trip. Starting with Tuesday’s heartbreaker in Miami, the Suns play 15 games (12 away from Phoenix) without having consecutive home games. 15 games, all with airplane flights, bus rides and hotels in between.
Tom Leander wrote earlier today about the crazy schedule this season and how it wears on players and broadcasters alike. And I couldn’t agree more on his thoughts regarding Michael Redd being such a great addition. One of the hallmarks of the Suns over the last several seasons is how much each team has improved as the season progresses.
Recall the 2009-10 squad that surged in late January to make an improbably run to the West Finals before being done in by Future World Peace. That team took time to gel, figure out how to play together and discover their identity. And that’s something that Steve Nash, Grant Hill and Alvin Gentry have done so well in their time together. They assess their situation and find a way to get all 13 players headed in the same direction. The improved play of Robin Lopez, Sebastian Telfair and Shannon Brown have been HUGE to the Suns’ recent success. And the chemistry set forth by team leaders is paramount to that. Ronny Price doesn’t play for a month, then is a critical part of last week’s road win in LA. That doesn’t happen on too many NBA teams.
So after a couple of tough losses to Miami and Orlando, keep in mind that the Suns are 9-4 since the All-Star break and came through an incredibly tough stretch (6 games in 8 nights) with a 4-2 record and the distinction of being one of only 4 teams that have swept a triple-dipper this season (Miami, Chicago, OKC were the others.) And while fans look towards the playoff possibilities and we all want to skip ahead to the last chapter and know the ending, sometimes it’s helpful to step back, look at the big picture and listen to words of the great tennis player Arthur Ashe: “Success is a journey not a destination. The doing is usually more important than the outcome.”
On a side note, the best part about the day off in Indianapolis today is the chance to hit up White Castle! Anyone want to help me go in on a franchise in Phoenix?
For more frequent (but shorter) posts, you can find me on Twitter at @badlhoch and @sunstv.