The Phoenix Suns looked like a pretty confident and loose bunch as they completed a one-hour and 45-minute practice Monday afternoon at the Salt Palace.
That 39-point demolition by the Jazz last week was just a distant memory for the Suns as they approached Game 3 Tuesday night. The Suns figure things can only get better after a pair of sub-par performances in Phoenix."I think we're very fortunate to be 1-1," said Phoenix Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons. "When you shoot as poorly as we shot and as great as they've shot, we're fortunate to be where we are. I'm hoping we can shoot the ball better on our open shots, which we haven't made."
In the blowout loss the Suns shot 40 percent, then improved to only 42 percent in winning the second game. Meanwhile, the Jazz percentages were 65 and 49 in the two games. The Suns' poor shooting gives point guard Kevin Johnson, who is a combined 6 for 22, hope in tonight's game.
"I haven't seen our team go three games in a row without shooting the ball well," said Johnson. "I'm sure that all that will be back on track and we'll shoot at least our normal percentage."
Johnson said the Suns need to penetrate more and not rely on the outside shots.
"It's tough to penetrate against the Jazz for 48 minutes," said Johnson. "It's important for us to get a lead early, and that will allow us to go to the basket a little more. If we let them dictate the tempo like we've done, then it will be difficult to penetrate."
As for playing away from home, that doesn't bother the Suns at all.
"I've never bought all this road stuff," said Fitzsimmons. "My theory is pretty simple."
Fitzsimmons believes there's three main reasons the home court advantage is diminished during the playoffs.
"First, you get better referees that home crowds don't bother at all. Second, you haven't played the night before in Timbuktu and traveled in to play. And third, now you're focusing in on just one team."
Fistzsimmons refused to discuss his team's injury situtation. "I don't want to talk about injuries."
One player who sat out Monday's practice was reserve Dan Majerle, who has been nursing a sore back. "I'll use Majerle, if he's able to answer the bell."
Johnson is recovering from a hamstring injury and Tom Chambers has been in traction for back problems lately. Both have played their normal minutes in the first two games and were expected to do so again Tuesday.