Suns try to end slide against Hornets

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Suns hope an eastern road trip will cure their woes when they kick off a three-game sojourn Wednesday night at Time Warner Cable Arena against the Charlotte Hornets.

The Suns have dropped six in a row, including three straight on the road. Their home losses during this skid came against the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks, not exactly murder's row.

Phoenix hasn't won since an impressive road victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 5. During this slide, the Suns have fallen behind both the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder in the bid, albeit a very early one, for the eighth playoff seed out west.

On Monday, Khris Middleton banked in a 3-pointer as time expired to give the Bucks a 96-94 win in Phoenix. Milwaukee, which was down one, burned two timeouts before the final possession. Middleton came to the ball near the left sideline and let fly with a contested, off-balance trey that hit the backboard and every part of the rim before falling through.

On Dec. 8, the Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin's game-winning 3 bounced off the front of the rim before sneaking into the basket.

"Some years, the breaks aren't going your way. Obviously, so far this year, they haven't," Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We've got to make our own breaks."

Markieff Morris had 25 points and Isaiah Thomas gave 20 off the bench. Gerald Green finished with 12 for the Suns, although he shot 3-for-18 from the field and 2-for-15 from long range. Eric Bledsoe chipped in 11.

The Suns will visit the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards on this trip.

The Hornets have dropped three straight since a two-game winning streak. During this rut, Charlotte has averaged 94 ppg and twice failed to crack the 90-point plateau.

One of those instances occurred Monday when the Hornets fell, 97-88, at Quicken Loans Arena to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cleveland raced out to a 21-0 lead on Monday and never looked back. The Hornets fought back, several times cutting double-digit leads down, but the Cavs pulled away late in the third.

"We played a good enough offensive game to win...(but) our first quarter defense was obviously poor," Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said.

The Hornets received 24 points out of Kemba Walker and 14 from Al Jefferson. Marvin Williams was Charlotte's only other double-figure scorer with 10 off the bench.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made his first start since Nov. 11, but managed only one point in 21 minutes.

The Hornets beat the Suns by eight in Phoenix on Nov. 14 to snap a five-game series losing streak. The Suns have won two straight as the visitor in this series.