Easy Does it For Phoenix Suns Against Golden State Warriors; Suns Face Real Test Tonight

The Phoenix Suns reached .500 for the first time since December 19 yesterday, beating the hapless Golden State Warriors 112-88 at the US Airways Arena.

Planet Orange opened up a can of whoopass on the Warriors right from the beginning, at one point taking a 33-point lead over their opponent. They had a 65-42 lead at the end of the first half.

The team kept the pressure on defensively in the third, holding the Warriors to 19 before faltering in the fourth.

Despite the Suns' impressive performance, fans ought to be concerned that the team's emerging habit of being outscored in the fourth quarter continued, as the Warriors put up 27 to the Suns' 25. For the Suns, it was the sixth game in their last seven where they were outscored in the fourth.

The exception? Their game against Boston, where they tied.

Steve Nash led the team with 18 points, 14 coming in the first half, and 11 assists. Channing Frye put up 17, Jared Dudley scored 13 and Robin Lopez hit 12. Grant Hill and Vince Carter each contributed 6, while Zadian Dowdell scored 10.

The Suns play their next game against the Utah Jazz tonight, an 8:30 start in Salt Lake City that will be televised on ESPN and My45. It is not a stretch to say that it might be their most important game of the season.

A big part of being a playoff team is beating the teams you need to beat, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons of the world. But the key to being successful in the playoffs is beating good teams on the road.

If the season ended today, the Jazz would enter the playoffs as the sixth seed, with a .574 winning percentage. The Suns need to beat them to continue building on their momentum, especially since the Jazz' coach, the legendary Jerry Sloan, resigned today, citing fatigue. Anything other than a win would be a major step back for the Suns.

For more information on tonight's matchup, check the Suns' website.