Magic-Suns Preview

After a fruitless road trip, the Phoenix Suns probably can’t

wait for their next game at U.S. Airways Center.

Awaiting the NBA’s only unbeaten home team, however, is one of

the league’s best road squads.

The Suns will attempt to keep their perfect record intact Friday

night with their eighth consecutive home win against the Orlando

Magic, who will try to put a second-half collapse behind them.

Following a 14-3 start, fatigue appears to have set in for

Phoenix, who have played a league-high 15 road games. The Suns

(15-7) have gone from averaging 112.0 points during their hot start

to 98.6 while losing four of five this month – all away from


In the finale of a winless two-game swing Tuesday, they stayed

close with Dallas before falling behind by 10 in the final period.

Phoenix rallied to within a on Steve Nash’s 3-pointer with seven

seconds left, but couldn’t catch the Mavericks in a 102-101


“We’ve had 15 road games, so we’re a little bit tired,” Nash

said. “We’ve got to fight through that. The legs are a little

tired, but nobody cares. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us.”

The Magic are definitely not one of those teams after seeing

their six-game win streak and run of eight consecutive road

victories end Thursday in Utah.

Orlando (17-5) scored 60 in the first half and led by as many as

18, but saw its advantage cut to eight at halftime and allowed the

Jazz to start the second half on a 14-3 run.

“Once we gave them confidence, gave them an opportunity to

really get rolling, it was tough to stop that machine,” swingman

Vince Carter said.

The Magic never recovered from there in a 120-111 defeat, their

first away from home since Nov. 8. They had also previously won 23

straight dating back to last season when scoring at least 100,

including a 122-100 home win over Phoenix on Nov. 4.

Despite playing without an injured Carter, Orlando had six

players in double figures, led by Dwight Howard’s 25 points. Ryan

Anderson had his fourth career double-double – 20 points and 10

rebounds – to hand the Suns their first loss this season.

Carter, who scored a season-high 34 Thursday, has helped the

defending Eastern Conference champions to a 10-3 road record this

season. Playing in 11 games away from home, Carter has averaged

21.7 points.

He leads the Magic with 20.1 points, just ahead of Howard

(18.4). Carter also has scored an average of 25.6 points in 10

career games at U.S. Airways Center.

Amare Stoudemire, meanwhile, has led the Suns to a 7-0 mark at

home with 22.4 points on 61.7 percent shooting, but he also appears

to be dealing with fatigue lately with one 20-point performance in

his last seven contests overall.

Stoudemire led the Suns with 25 points and 14 rebounds earlier

this season at Orlando. He missed last season’s final meeting with

the Magic, a 111-99 loss on March 3, with a partially detached

retina in his right eye.

Along with its third straight win in the series, Orlando is

searching for its first victory in Phoenix since Nov. 14, 2001.