Road games against Eastern Conference teams haven’t been a problem for the Phoenix Suns.
Phoenix looks to move closer to becoming the first team in NBA history to win all of its road games against East clubs when it meets the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.
If Phoenix can win at Indiana on Tuesday and in Philadelphia on Wednesday, it’ll complete a sweep of road games against the East, something that’s never happened in the league. The Suns are 13-0 in those games this season after beating Atlanta 115-106 on Sunday.
Phoenix (43-13) went a respectable 9-6 on the road last season against the East, but has stepped up its play this season and is 22-3 overall versus East teams.
Amare Stoudemire had a season-high 43 points and added 16 rebounds on Sunday to help the Suns win their fourth straight—all after the All-Star break— since two-time MVP Steve Nash returned to the lineup after missing four games with a shoulder injury.
“They were sending guys, two or three guys double-teaming me the whole night,” Stoudemire said. “I just took what the defense gives me. There are some stretches when I don’t score, other players do. And I have no problem with that. We’re just trying to play team basketball. Take it down the stretch.”
Stoudemire is averaging 30 points and 12 rebounds during the winning streak, taking his game to a higher level after appearing in his second All-Star game.
“When he’s playing like that, you just have to keep feeding him and get him the ball as much as possible,” said Nash, who’s averaging 13.3 assists over the last four games.
The Suns have won 22 of their last 25 away from home after starting the season 0-4 on the road. They begin a five-game homestand on Friday with a return visit from the Pacers, who after Tuesday, play six of their next seven on the road.
The Pacers (29-26) wouldn’t mind getting a victory before they head out on their West Coast swing, having been blown out in their last two games. Indiana lost 110-88 at Toronto on Friday and 110-93 to Sacramento at home on Sunday.
The Pacers have allowed at least 110 points in three straight games and more than 100 in eight of their last 10. Indiana is giving up 97.9 points a game this season.
“Defense is definitely an issue for us right now, in a big way,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s execution to a degree. You have to say the effort wasn’t good enough.”
Indiana has lost four of its past six home games against Western Conference opponents, with all four defeats coming to teams that currently have losing records.
“Yeah, the West is pretty good,” Indiana center Troy Murphy said. “What do you want me to say?”
The Suns won both meetings between these teams last season. Phoenix’s 114-104 victory at Indiana on March 30, 2006, snapped a six-game home winning streak for the Pacers in the series.