Suns return home looking to end skid
The Phoenix Suns may be thrilled to return home. Another defeat may have the Orlando Magic feeling the same way.
Opening their longest homestand of the season, the Suns attempt to avoid a seven-game skid for the first time in almost nine years Sunday night against the road-weary Magic.
The Suns (7-14) have lost six straight and seven of eight, with all but one of those games coming on the road. They fell 97-94 to Dallas on Thursday in their only home contest during that span, dropping to 5-4 at US Airways Arena, where they play their next five games.
Phoenix's road and defensive woes continued Saturday with a 117-99 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Suns, who haven't dropped eight in a row since Feb. 4-22, 2004, have surrendered an average of 107.7 points during the current six-game skid.
"If we're going to get out of this, we've got to work our own way out and do it collectively as a group," coach Alvin Gentry said. "In this league, no one's going to help us and no one feels sorry for you. It's not a pity league."
Phoenix isn't likely to get any from Orlando (7-12), either. The Magic have problems of their own, losing five of seven overall and seven of 10 on the road this season.
After wins on the first two stops of its five-game trip, Orlando lost its second straight, 91-82 to Sacramento on Friday. Playing four straight on the road appears to be wearing on the Magic, who have hit 5 of 30 from 3-point range over the last two games.
"I feel it, but our trainers and coaches have been keeping us ready really well and making sure that we get rest," forward Glen Davis told the team's official website. "They are making sure that our bodies feel right. You get bumps and bruises and you just have to take care of your body."
Davis is averaging 21.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks during the trip. He had 22 points and eight rebounds in Orlando's 115-94 win over Phoenix on Nov. 4.
J.J. Redick scored a season-high 24 with six assists in that game, and he'll try to replicate that effort after going 2 for 10 from the field en route to six points Friday. The reserve guard was averaging 16.7 points and 6.0 assists over the first three games of the trip.
The Suns may insert Michael Beasley back into the starting lineup after he had 21 points, five assists and four rebounds off the bench against the Clippers. The mercurial forward had totaled just 24 points on 10 of 35 from the field in his previous three games. Beasley scored a season-high 22 at Orlando last month.
The Magic have won four straight and six of the last seven meetings. They ended an eight-game losing streak in Phoenix with a 111-88 victory there on March 13, 2011.