(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Suns are hoping a few games in the desert will
move them closer to a playoff spot, as they kick off a four-game homestand
tonight versus the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Suns are one game behind Houston for the final postseason berth in the
Western Conference and two games in back of Denver for the No. 7 seed with six
games to play. They will also host the Thunder, Clippers and Nuggets on the
residency and own a 17-11 mark at home this season.
Phoenix just completed a four-game road trip with a 2-2 mark and is coming off
Saturday's 105-91 loss at San Antonio. Sebastian Telfair tallied 21 points off
the bench, while Michael Redd chipped in 13 for Phoenix, which had won two
straight and five of six games before losing two of its last three.
"We've been on the road a lot. We get a chance to be at home and try to
finish," remarked veteran guard Grant Hill, who finished with four points in
his second game back after a nine-game absence due to a knee issue. "It's a
tough loss, it's embarrassing, but we're still in the hunt."
Marcin Gortat had only six points and seven rebounds, and Steve Nash ended
with two points in less than six minutes of action. Nash was bothered by a
sore back and hip, and is questionable for Monday. Hill is also questionable
for a Phoenix squad that will play five of six games at home to end the
regular season and is 17-9 since the All-Star break.
Portland is in the midst of playing five of six contests on the road to close
out a disappointing campaign. Portland's play on the road has hampered any
chances of making a playoff run, as well as the loss of All-Star power forward
LaMarcus Aldridge (hip).
The Trail Blazers have dropped two straight and four of five games, including
Sunday's 104-103 setback at Sacramento. Marcus Thornton's jumper with 3.4
seconds left lifted the Kings to victory and sent the Blazers to an 8-21 mark
as the visitor. Wesley Matthews connected on eight three-pointers, including
the go-ahead three before Thornton's game-winning shot, and scored 31 points
to pace Portland.
"Thornton made a good read," Matthews said. "[DeMarcus Cousins] gave a pretty
Raymond Felton had 19 points and J.J. Hickson added 10 and 13 boards in
defeat. The Blazers may want to work on their defense and are giving up an
average of 104.2 ppg in the last five.
Portland and Phoenix have split two meetings this season, while the Blazers
have dropped 12 of 14 trips to the Valley of the Sun.
The Sports Network