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Game Preview: Suns visit Wizards

This picture is awesome. More of this please.
This picture is awesome. More of this please.

There was a time when I got really upset if the Suns lost a game. I couldn't sleep, repeating the game in my head like a screwed up DVR, over and over again. I figured it was not healthy to let a basketball team affect my mood that much and that at some point I had to put everything in perspective and realize it was just a game.

I've been able to do it. I don't punch walls or kick dogs anymore. I still rant on twitter and facebook but I no longer lose sleep. Not even after losing to the Lakers last year when the Suns were two games away from going to the Finals. But the truth is that no matter how many disappointing games previous Suns teams had, I never stopped believing in those teams. Not one night. And that's what has been different this year.

It's been a tough season to watch. I don't get to see a lot of games in HD. I mostly rely on several websites to watch the Suns play. It feels like the Suns have lost every game I've seen on TV. I don't remember turning the damn thing off (on previous years) while the Suns were playing in the 3rd Quarter. I've done it four times this year.

I was ready to give up on the season, supporting Nash trade proposals and getting ready to rebuild but The Suns are alive and kicking now, riding a 4 game winning streak with a great opportunity to make it a 5 game winning streak when they meet the Wizards in DC.

The Suns were losing to good and bad teams so to me, the winning streak is legit. Does that mean that all of our prayers have been answered and that this team has finally turned the corner? Too early to say that. Is the winning streak fools gold? Too early to say that too. It's certainly a step in the right direction which has allowed the team to relax and just play and have fun.

There are areas of concern of course. The team has reverted to the "Oh shit, Steve Nash needs to rest" days. Teams are licking their chops when they see him sit. Goran Dragic's play has not been consistent. I'm not a fan of this stat but he has the team's worst plus-minus rating. Sure, blame doesn't go to him only, it's a team effort and the Suns have yet to find the right combination of players who can step up and play hard when Nash sits.

The Wizards, on the other hand, have their on share of problems. Flip Saunders is getting a lot of criticism from the media and fans, questioning his in-game decisions and adjustments. Confusing substitutions patterns and managing minutes are a cause of concern.

The Suns look to continue their dominance over the Wizards. They have won the last 8 matchups by an average of 17.6 points while shooting 53% from the field.

The Wizards are standing at 0-20 on the road. Yup, that's not a typo. But they are tough at home. They are 10-2 against teams with a losing record (us) and give up 96.4 points at home. They have held 7 of their last 9 opponents to less than 100 points. They have won 4 straight games at the Verizon Center.

How can a team be so tough at home and so bad on the road? It's simple. This happens to young teams. It's really up to their coaching staff to turn this around and encourage players to play confident in hostile environments. It's a mental thing.

For instance, Nick Young averages 26.1 points at home and 14.3 on the road. That's a HUGE differential.

The Suns have a chance to put away the Wizards and go home tonight with W. It will not be easy, especially playing at the Verizon Center. For those of you expecting the win without much sweat...not gonna happen. There aren't any easy teams for the Suns anymore. They will have to come focused and play hard.

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