With the Suns’ season at somewhat of a crossroads, who else would be in town to welcome them home from a grueling six-game road trip than their old friends, the San Antonio Spurs?
San Antonio games are always bigger for Phoenix because that’s the team the Suns could never get past during the Mike D’Antoni years, the team that general manager Steve Kerr acquired Shaq to match up with.
It’s the team that ruined the Suns’ Christmas on a buzzer-beating three by Roger Mason and the team that the Suns just can’t beat on any kind of a consistent basis.
This meeting comes two games after the Suns seemed poised to fall apart at the seams before putting a Band-Aid on by finishing the trip with consecutive victories after starting to crack with five losses in six games.
After San Antonio, the Suns’ schedule reads vs. Chicago, vs. Sacramento, at Golden State, vs. Golden State. A seven-game winning streak is well within their grasp, as crazy as that would have sounded a couple days ago.
Then again, this could be the stretch that puts another nail in the coffin of the 2008-09 Suns if they take care of business as well over this stretch as they did against Minnesota, New York and Charlotte.
A win over the Spurs would be nice in the standings of a bunched-up Western Conference that’s getting not so bunched up by the day, but this game is most important for the psyche of a Phoenix team that’s 6-10 against the West’s other top eight teams and 2-10 on national TV.
This is the Spurs, the Evil Empire, the team the Suns want to be because they just can’t be beat.
Such a victory would go a long way toward making the Suns forget about what happened on the East Coast with a boost that can’t be measured in the standings.