It’s only November, but the Suns will face a measuring stick week in the next seven days, starting with tonight’s showdown against the Pistons.
After 7-3 Detroit, the Suns face the Jazz (6-4), Lakers (7-1) and Blazers (6-4). All four should be playoff teams and all except the Blazers are legitimate championship contenders.
The Suns enter the week as the only Western Conference team besides the Lakers with seven wins, but if the Suns play like they did in so-called “showdowns” at home against the Hornets and Rockets, they could be a .500 team by week’s end.
The first two are important enough that the Suns have decided not to rest Shaq in either tonight’s game against Detroit or tomorrow’s in Utah, despite previously planning on resting him in one game of back-to-backs. This could be a good sign if Shaq is just feeling that good or a bad sign if it leads down a slippery slope of overuse of the big man.
But like I’ve said before, how do you disrespect great teams like Detroit or Utah by resting the Daddy against them to save him for another game?
As for tonight’s contest, the Suns face a Detroit team that has won three in a row at US Airways Center, by margins of 30 and 22 the last two seasons. You know their confidence will be high after knocking off the Lakers Friday in Hollywood after Los Angeles seemed poised to become the first ever 82-0 team. Just kidding, but still a monster road win.
It will be interesting for Suns fans to get their first glance at the new-look Pistons, who have won their first three games against the Pacific Division on their four games in six nights road trip, now with Allen Iverson joining Rip Hamilton in an all shooting guards backcourt.
I say a 2-2 week would be excellent considering the teams on the schedule, and a win tonight would go a long way toward bringing at least that mark to fruition.