Phoenix Suns (11-18) at Indiana Pacers (16-12), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Suns have one of the worst road records in the
league and will be put to the test Friday against the Indiana Pacers in the
first of three straight away from the desert.
The Suns are 2-11 as the visitor this season and will also take on Minnesota
and Oklahoma City. They have dropped their last six on the road.
Phoenix is winless in its last three games overall since winning four in a row
and sustained a 99-97 home setback to the New York Knicks Wednesday. Knicks
guard J.R. Smith buried two big shots down the stretch to sink the Suns, who
were led by Jared Dudley's career-high 36 points.
Dudley has scored at least 19 points in five of his last six games.
Marcin Gortat had 13 points and nine rebounds, while Shannon Brown and
Sebastian Telfair both netted 11 points. The Suns outscored the Knicks, 32-22,
in the third quarter to forge a 76-76 tie after three period. New York,
though, had a 23-21 edge in the fourth quarter.
"I thought we did a good job of fighting back but we've got to do something
about the second quarter. We just can't seem to get that right and that's
where all of our troubles started," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.
The Suns couldn't even capitalize with Knicks stars Carmelo Anthony and
Raymond Felton sitting with injuries.
Phoenix guard Goran Dragic (hip/wrist) is probable for tonight. Dragic has
scored in double figures in a team-best 23 of 28 games this season.
The Suns are two wins shy of 2,000 in team history (1,998-1,591)
Indiana has enjoyed a few days off after its game with the Central Division-
rival Chicago Bulls on Wednesday was postponed due to snow. The game will be
rescheduled at a later date.
The Pacers have won three in a row and six of their last seven games,
including Saturday's 81-75 victory at New Orleans. David West scored 25 points
and made a key jumper with 16 seconds remaining, while Paul George added 17
points and 12 rebounds in the win.
"As a group, we felt that we had to get our legs back," West said after
Indiana's fourth game in five nights. "We came out struggling in that first
half. I thought the team did a good job of just gaining our composure and
getting a little bit more focused defensively. Offensively, we started making
West eclipsed the 10,000-point mark in his career. Indiana, which leads the
Central Division by one-half game over Chicago and Milwaukee, has won three in
a row at home and is 8-3 as the host. In injury news for the team, forward
Gerald Green (ankle) is listed as questionable.
The Pacers and Suns are meeting for the first time since Phoenix registered a
113-111 victory at Indy last March 23. The Suns have won four straight, 11 of
13 and 12 of the previous 15 matchups between the teams.