Slug: Sports-Suns Capitalize, 484
By JONATHAN SAXON
PHOENIX — The Suns are approaching the quarter pole of the NBA season, and are hoping to use their recent victory over the Atlanta Hawks as a springboard that will get them out of the Pacific Division basement.
The club is off to a slow start, posting a 6-13 entering December.
But as valuable as the victory over the Hawks might be, the Suns would really get a boost by beating Golden State Saturday in the Bay Area. They are already 0-2 against the Warriors this season.
Suns forward P.J. Tucker said the Suns hope to make adjustments against a Warriors team that is loaded with stars like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and, now this season, Kevin Durant.
“We tweaked our coverages a little bit, (in terms of) how we’re going to guard certain things,” Tucker said. “We’re going to stick to our principles. We stick to our core of what we do.”
The Suns will try to adjust on the offensive end as well.
“We went over a couple of their sets, we know how they’re going to defend,” said Suns guard Devin Booker. “They like to switch a lot of things. We’re just trying to put in wrinkles to it.”
The Warriors are coming off a double-overtime loss to the Houston Rockets, but have been one of the hottest teams in the league. Before falling to the Rockets, the Warriors had won 12 in a row and lost only once in November.
But even with such a tough draw in front of them, the Suns players believe they can use this game as starting point and string together enough victories to climb back into contention in the division.
“We’re in this position where we could take it from winning games and keep a little streak going,” said Tucker. “It’s been tough for us, but we’re just going to stick together and keep playing hard.”
Booker said the Suns can’t key on one particular player because any of the Golden State starters has the ability to take over a game.
But he believes that if the Suns keep playing as they did against the Hawks, they will turn their season around.
“We knew Atlanta was a must win for us,” he said.”We came out with that intensity, which we haven’t been doing a lot this year, so it felt good.”
Despite their struggles early in the season, the Suns are confident they have to tools to keep up with any team on the court.
“We’re just worried about us for the most part,” said Tucker. “We do what we have to do on defense; the rest of it will take care of itself.”
“We know they have a lot of firepower. We know it’s not going to be an easy game,” he said. “But we know that if we’re the best version of ourselves, we have a pretty good chance.”