3 goals for the Phoenix Suns' Western Conference road trip

The Phoenix Suns are about to embark on an important three game road trip versus other Western Conference teams, with these the most important goals.

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns
Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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2. Hold opponents to 110 points per game

The Suns were never billed as a group that was going to be elite defensively this season, and so far that has been the case. Their 114.9 rating slightly below league average at 16th, although they have had periods where it has trended in the right direction. This is thanks to players such as Chimezie Metu or Udoka Azubuike coming in for a game or two and having a positive impact.

Offensively there is still belief that this roster is going to figure it out, but they need to tighten up some on the other end if they want to squeeze out some wins on the road. In the last 15 games though, the Suns' defensive rating has slipped to 116.5, which may be cause for concern as it has coincided somewhat with the return of Beal to the lineup.

But with the Suns having a better offensive rating (116.4) than the Lakers (111.7) and Trail Blazers (108.5), the math here is simple. If they can limit these opponents to 110 points or less per game - as well as scoring the basketball like they have shown they can - then good things are likely to happen. Which leaves the Clippers, which will be a different proposition.

They sit eighth in offensive rating (117.8), and are a sizzling fourth (121.2) in their last 10 games, as they look to have figured out how to implement James Harden into their plans. Keeping them to 110 points then looks a tall order - but if the Suns want to lay down a marker and begin to work towards a championship - then a statement win over the Clippers is what is required.