If the Phoenix Suns are going to match the longest winning streak in franchise history, they must do it in a place they’ve usually struggled.
Phoenix goes for its 14th consecutive win as it meets the Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena on Saturday.
The Suns (16-6) last won 14 consecutive games from Dec. 1-30, 1992, en route to their only NBA Finals appearance, which they lost in six games to Chicago. Since the start of the 2000-01 season, the Suns have dropped 10 of their last 12 in Sacramento and have been outscored by an average of 10.8 points over that span.
Phoenix continued its run behind Boris Diaw’s fifth career triple-double in a 105-101 win over Golden State on Friday. The Suns led by 25 early in the second quarter, but found themselves trailing by eight in the third.
Diaw finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, but seemed content to overlook his accomplishments.
“It doesn’t mean a lot,” Diaw said. “The win is the most important thing, and I got some lucky rebounds. Sometimes the ball is falling in your hands, and sometimes your teammates make big shots.”
“We didn’t play well tonight,” the reigning two-time MVP said. “We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well against the zone and we weren’t really smooth. After a long road trip that sometimes happens, so we’ll see if we can get it out of our system tomorrow.”
In two games at Sacramento last season, Nash totaled just 20 points but had 21 assists.
Stoudemire, who appears to be fully recovered from microfracture surgery that limited him to three games last season, is averaging 28.3 points in his last three visits to the California capital. During the streak, Stoudemire is averaging 19.0 points while shooting 62.2 percent from the floor.
The Suns will be facing a team that is not intimidated by playing against the league’s elite teams. On Friday, Sacramento (10-11) rallied from a 16-point deficit to beat Utah 98-97 on Friday. The Jazz had won 11 of 12 at home coming into this contest.
“The team never quit,” Kings coach Eric Musselman said. “A team that didn’t believe in themselves or wasn’t resilient or wasn’t desperate for a win probably could lose that game in double digits.”
Mike Bibby scored seven of Sacramento’s 13 points in the third quarter, and 14 of his 19 in the second half.
“In this league, teams will let you back in. You’ve just got to play hard,” he said.
Bibby has been one of the league’s more solid guards thorughout his career, but he hasn’t fared well against the Suns since joining the Kings in 2000-01 after playing his first three seasons in Vancouver.
In 17 games, Bibby is averaging 18.1 points but only 5.1 assists, and he’s never recorded a double-double against Phoenix.