(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

For the first time this season, the fast-breaking Suns have hit a snag. And guess what? That’s OK.

Or more accurately, it’s about time.

The end of the most recent trip to the East and Midwest didn’t end nearly as triumphantly as the previous one, with the Suns dropping their final two games — including Wednesday’s 107-90 loss at Cleveland, a loss in which they trailed by as many as 30 points.

On the previous night, the Suns were blown out by New York.

Of course, you knew all that already, and as a someone who cares about the team, you might be wondering if the wheels are starting to come off.

But I am here to tell you not to be overly concerned. I am here to tell you that the Suns aren’t on their way down, and I say it with complete faith. I am here to tell you that the Suns have only played six games at home — an excuse, of course, they themselves will never make.

Mostly, I am here to tell you I was in Cleveland and saw the looks on the Suns’ faces after the game. And it was far from panic. It was more like a little concern and plenty of resolve.

“We’ve got some work to do,” admitted Suns coach Alvin Gentry. “We’ve got to get some things solved.”


“But we’re a good basketball team,” Gentry said. “We’re just struggling right now. We have things that we have to get corrected, but it’s not anything we can’t do when we get a couple of practice days.”

The Suns played fantastic in places like Boston, Miami, Philadelphia and Toronto, but eventually, all that traveling is gonna have an effect on your legs. And therefore, your jump shot. Or in the case of the Suns, it will mostly have an effect on your ability to run and gun and keep opposing defenses on their heels.

Again, the Suns make no excuses. Nor should they. But they can also use the fact they’ve been on the road more than the Rolling Stones as a reason not to overreact.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to play 41 road games,” Gentry said. “But, we have been away from home a lot. The bottom line is, if you take away the two games at home, we’ve played 17 of 21 on the road. It gets to be a little bit tough. I don’t think we’ll ever use it as an excuse, but we are getting a little bit worn. We just need to get back home.”

Through it all, the Suns are an impressive 14-5. Considering the schedule, and the fact there’s a new starting center in Channing Frye, and a still-developing youthful bench, and that this is the team’s first full season under Gentry … well, most Suns fans will take it.

The good news is, just as the Suns must play 41 games on the road, they will also play 41 at home. It may not seem like it today, but in another month or so, they’ll get their shot at these same teams — in Phoenix.

As for the issues of the previous two games, don’t sweat it. The Suns sure aren’t. That’s not to say they don’t care. It’s just that they understand this is the NBA. No one goes 82-0, or 79-3, or even 77-5, for that matter.

“It’s just a little bit of adversity,” Suns forward Grant Hill explained. “Every team kind of goes through it. You have those valleys during the course of the season. This is part of it. It’s a test, that’s what coach said. You can’t get overly discouraged.”

No you cannot. After all, now is when the Suns will really show what type of team they are, and what type of team they can still become.

And after the first 19 games, you can’t do anything but continue to have high hopes.

Sam Amico writes for NBA.com and is a regular contributor to Suns.com. He can be reached at amico@probasketballnews.com.

  • Josh

    This is exactly what I’ve been telling other fans that have already hit the panic button. I am seeing a real competitive team out there and this is just a bump in the road. Keep up the hard work Suns!

  • Alan Werner

    What we needed in those two games were:
    A spark, more effective defense in the interior, and better rebounding.
    All could have been achieved by subbing Amundson for Amare for a short period as soon as we saw the problem. (and he didn’t play at all in Cleveland)
    Dudley provides a spark, but Dudley and Amundson together change the defense completely.
    None of our players provide great defense against monsters like Shaq, but Amundson and Chandler together are our best combo for that.
    Look at rebound per 48 stats and see who our best rebounder is.
    The players deserve some credit for essentially giving up in those games, but the lions share should go to the coaches.

  • jou

    Why Lou A.DNP he is de best defender in the team and DNP in the las game

  • terry singleton

    Hopefully you are being payed well for making excuses for the Suns lackluster performance. This is the NBA and it has been around for a long time. Everybody knows the season is long and grueling so the good teams make adjustments and the bad teams make excuses.

  • Charles Gilbert

    The suns played poorly, gave up, and got blown out. I for one am not please with the lack of effort. Yes, teams get beat and have bad games, but to just give up is an insult to the fans in my opinion, and I am a die hard phoenix fan.

  • Evan Jo

    Exactly, as a sun fan I just hope they make the play offs


    Look, we all know that there are bumps in a season, we all love the Suns, win or lose. With that said, don’t tell me that the Knicks game was a bump, no way. It was a total team collapse, a non effort. It was a disheartening display of why we fans become bitter with the money athletes make to give what we fans hope is their complete effort in response to our loyalty. The Cleveland game was against a top team, but to be honest, Suns looked flat, no motivation, no heart. Don’t get me wrong, if this was how the Suns had come out to start the season we would have been pepared. But don’t look like NBA contenders and then revert to pretenders when the road starts to get tough. Don’t give the indication that this team was all out every game this year and then boom, just go through the motions. Lets pick ourselves up, dust off the ho hum attitude and get back to being the talk of the NBA. Just because I love the Suns doesn’t mean they get a pass with this fan.

  • Kiki

    I still think they’ve got a shot at going all the way this season. Plus, we rock at home.

  • Ryan

    The Suns have already played 13 games on the road this season. More than any other team in the NBA. The suns will be fine. No one would have predicted a 14-5 start. It’s only going to get better as our team gets more familiar with each other. Gentry is the man for finally developing a bench in the last half of last season. Something Dantoni couldn’t do in 4 years…


    We (Suns)took a huge step back against New York and it was more than just the non effort alone. This team started the season by establishing grit, heart and tenaacity, not only with it’s fans but within the league. It’s an image, something teams strive for, some not reaching it for a long time. Suns didn’t show up against the Knicks, spin it all you want. Cleveland is a good team, but we were flat, and truthfully gave up quickly when we realized it. Suns have a good team, I truly believe that. However, there are alot of good teams in the NBA, it’s the next step that thins the ranks. Turbulence is expected in any season and can be overcome. Lack of heart and grit are harder to rectify. Image, it’s everything in sports. Suns can’t afford to tarnish theirs any further.

  • vjtoday

    man i must say, i watched the knicks game hoping to see two fast run and gun teams, all i saw was new york making everything and the suns not having any reply. I must admit it was New York’s night because even their shooters with 30% were hitting 3 pointers, thats all good but the suns offence started to really worry me. The offence seemed to have no ball movement, it was just amare at the post trying to beat his player, or nash dribbling, either nash was having a bad night or there was just no rotation on court for nash to set up assists. Just one last thing, the suns have to work on the rebounds, because we all know rebounds more than anything win games and championships, even an offencive team live the suns need rebounding.

  • moonwalker

    I think there was something else going on with the team – behind in the locker room. That may have been part of the reason Lou did not play against Cleavland and why others were left out there to grit it out in a sure loss. I’m sure Coach Alvin was trying to get a point across – makes it more likely that the players will listen to him in practice and work on not only their play but also their attitude/drive when playing even in games where they fall behind


    Yes, we beat the Kings, yes a win is a win, but you heard it here first. The style of play we exhibited tonight will not get us by the top teams in the NBA. It’s the Di’Antoni Suns all over again. Where has the aggressive rebounding, boxing out, floor communication, and defense when it counts, or for that matter any defense gone? Suns don’t resemble the team that was the talk of the NBA prior to the Knicks game. We allowed the Kings to score more 2nd chance points than in the first 12 games combined. What happened, did we have a team meeting and decide it was just to tough to play great all around basketball? Suns better find it fast because next is the Lakers, back to back on the road for the second time in the first 20 games. Who makes these schedules, Phil Jackson?

  • termione

    The Nets are 1-19 but don’t worry,they can still go 62-20 or even 50-32. Excellent logic! There’s nothing in getting blown out onthe road that suggests that just playing them at home will change everything


    Just watched the Suns, Laker game and you just can’t deny the gap between teams. One of the main reasons in my opinion. Amare can put up impressive numbers, but he refuses to play defense. Nash is the worst liability defensively at point guard in the NBA. For all their combined attributes, and they have many, all teams have to do is make us rotate and were in trouble. Obviously that message has been widley circulated in the league. Suns enjoyed early success because they busted their butts to compensate for these shortcomings. As soon as that stopped we have seen a complete turnaround. It’s back to no defense, standing and watching, were tired. Even Dudley looks like a completley different player. It’s not going to work, it’s the same old Suns from previous seasons. We as fans have had our 12 games of enjoyment, get ready for reality the rest of the season.

  • http://www.chrisfrye.com CW Frye

    Alan Werner is bang on (in his comment on Dec.3). We need Lou out there to be a contender. Can’t believe he could sit a whole game. Also, don’t forget Jarron Collins’ contribution back in that road win in Boston. I seem to remember him coming in and doing a few good things. I’m happy Lopez is back, but I think he’s seeing too much floor time. He’s had an impact for sure, but Lou really brings the energy every time.