The ValleyoftheSuns gang analyzes three burning questions surrounding the Suns’ upcoming five-game death trap of a road trip to San Antonio, Chicago, New York, Boston and Dallas.
Michael Schwartz: The health of Nash and Hill. They are already “beat up,” as Alvin Gentry put it, and now they must play three games in four days while bouncing all around the country from Phoenix to Texas to Chicago to New York before finishing in Boston and Dallas. Even if they’re healthy enough to start it, there’s no way Nash and Hill make it through this trip at peak effectiveness.
Kevin Zimmerman: Every fourth quarter. The Suns have been anemic on the offensive end in the final period of late. To get back on track, the Suns must figure out why they’ve been losing the battle in the last 12 minutes of the game.
Ryan Weisert: Age. The Suns have played well as of late against the Blazers and Bucks. But their back-to-back against the Cavs and Nets showed how the Suns’ “experience” can keep them from being competitive night in night out. Five games in nine nights will be a tall order.
What’s the toughest game of the trip?
Michael Schwartz: New York. They may not be the toughest team Phoenix will face, but you can pretty much mark the Knicks game down as a scheduling loss right now. Playing their third game in four nights and fourth in six in a different area of the country, there’s no way the Suns will be able to hang with the league’s fifth-fastest team.
Kevin Zimmerman: Chicago. Playing the Bulls isn’t a good way for Phoenix to get out of an offensive funk. In addition, the Bulls could hurt the Suns where they’ve been struggling most: guarding opposing point guards and rebounding the basketball.
Ryan Weisert: The Bulls. Point guards have had incredible nights offensively against the Suns lately. Deron Williams and Kyrie Irving both put up a lot of points. I see Rose having a field day against the Suns and the Bulls cruising to victory.
How will the Suns fare on the trip?
Michael Schwartz: It’s not a stretch to think the Suns will steal one game on this trip, but I just don’t see which one it would be. Forget the fact the Suns just lost to the Cavs and Nets at home, they are playing five of the league’s best teams in their gyms, the kind of squads visitors rarely defeat. Add in the brutal travel schedule and I see the Suns taking an 0-fer.
Kevin Zimmerman: I think someone slipped something in my drink when I said 2-3 on our Vokle show Tuesday night. After the last three games, it’s ever more clear this team has major roster deficiencies. Every team on this trip can quiet the Phoenix offense, but ever the optimist, I think the Suns will steal a victory.
Ryan Weisert: If the Suns play the way they did against the Cavs and Nets, they will surely end up 0-5 on the trip. If, however, they play the way they did against Milwaukee and Portland, 3-2 is definitely in play. The games against Boston and San Antonio will be the best opportunities for victory because of injuries to Pierce and Ginobili.