As if they aren’t all big games, the Suns enter the new year with another slate of monster matchups this week with Wednesday’s visit from Kobe Bryant and Co. and a pair of familiar faces from New York making their return to US Airways Center Friday. Yup, it’s the bright lights of Hollywood and Broadway in the form of the Lakers and Knicks.
“They are two teams that are playing well,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “One are the world champs, and the other are playing as well as they have in the last six years. it’s a great challenge, but its something where we need to step up the plate and find a way to get it done.”
Phoenix looks to improve on a rough 3-7 record over their last 10 ballgames against a pair of teams that haven’t exactly set the NBA world on fire over that same span — combining for 11 wins total between the two.
“We haven’t fared well against the teams we were supposed to beat,” Grant Hill mused, “so…
“You always get excited to play the Lakers. They are desperate. They lost at home last night to Memphis. Their coach called out some players, so you know they want to come out fast. I can’t predict we’ll play well, but we will be up for it and ready to go. And the same will go for the Knicks when they come to town.”
Friday’s home game vs. New York will be the first of two vs. the Knickerbockers in the span of two weeks. As for opponent No. 1, the Suns have split the season series vs. the Lakers thus far, last knocking off the defending NBA champs on their home floor in mid-November, thanks to a franchise-best 22 three-pointers.
“We had some success the last time we played them out in L.A.,” Gentry said. “We made shots, but we’ll need to get better defensively and rebounding the ball. They can right the ship when the situation presents itself, and we need to step up. Until somebody beats them, they are still the world champs.
“You have to win those home games. Over the last six years, we’ve averaged 31 wins and 10 losses at home. We already have six losses here. Those are games you expect to win to keep pace. It’s crucial for us to start taking care of business at home.”