The Phoenix Suns are currently enjoying their longest winning streak since the 2006-07 season, and they have a chance to keep things rolling tonight when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks.
After taking care of the Pistons last night, the Suns are tied with the Mavericks — who play the Thunder tonight — for second place in the Western Conference, while the No. 3 Nuggets — who play the Clippers tonight — trail by only a half game.
The Suns are scorching, as they hold the NBA’s best record since the All-Star break (19-4), and the league’s best record since Jan. 28 (24-5). But even so, the Suns are still fighting for playoff home-court advantage.
“I would have never believed that we could win these 10 games and still be looking at the possibility of starting the playoffs on the road,” head coach Alvin Gentry told The Associated Press. “This is a tough, tough conference.”
With only six games remaining in the Suns’ regular season, there is no doubt that the scoreboard-watching has begun, but with a team like the Bucks on tap for tonight, the Suns hold their own fate in their hands. They have been able to take care of business against some of the league’s lesser teams as of late, and tonight should be no different.
But rookie Brandon Jennings and the Bucks are a step up from the Suns’ last six opponents, who combined for a .356 win percentage. The Bucks are currently a No. 6 seed in the East, and they too are fighting to move up in the standings, as they trail No. 5 Miami by only a half game. The Suns edged them out by four in their only other meeting on Jan 11, but both teams are clearly in a different place now than in January.
Tired legs could figure to be a factor in this one, as both teams will be playing the second game of a back-to-back. But with the way the Suns are playing right now, it seems like the scoring will never stop. Phoenix is averaging 118.7 points per game in its last 10 games, while knocking down threes left and right.
The Bucks allow the seventh-fewest points per game in the league, but the Suns are red hot, and with the playoffs on their mind, I doubt that Milwaukee will be able to contain Western Conference Player of the Month Amare Stoudemire and company. Stoudemire did it again last night, scoring 29 points on only 15 shots, and he is averaging 27.3 points during the winning streak.
A win for Amare and Phoenix would cap off an undefeated road trip for the Suns and push them to 7-0 in their last seven road games.
“We’ve needed every one of these, and we’re going to need some more,” Gentry said.
After tonight, the Suns finish the season with some of the West’s best: the Spurs, Thunder, Rockets, Nuggets and Jazz. With that rigorous schedule in mind, this game becomes all that more important for the Suns.