The Phoenix Suns have one of the most-potent offenses in the NBA, but their latest offensive explosion has been astonishing -- even by their high standards.
The Suns look to match a season high with their eighth straight win when they open a daunting four-game road trip against the Central Division-leading Detroit Pistons on Monday.
Phoenix (47-22) has only two road victories -- at Portland and Seattle -- during its seven-game streak, and it will see much tougher competition over the next week. After Detroit (49-20), the Suns visit league-leading Boston on Wednesday, red-hot Philadelphia on Friday and New Jersey Saturday.
The Pistons, who have the second-best defense in the league (90.8), have won three straight home games, and 13 of their last 15 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Detroit won at Phoenix 116-86 on Feb. 24, but the Suns were still adjusting to the addition of Shaquille O'Neal at that time.
Phoenix has had no trouble with O'Neal in the lineup lately.
The Suns won their seventh in a row, 122-113 over Houston on Saturday. Phoenix has moved ahead of the Rockets into third place in the Western Conference, one-half game behind first-place New Orleans, which is percentage points ahead of the Pacific Division-leading Los Angeles Lakers.
The Suns, who reeled off eight consecutive wins Nov. 9-23, had lost four of five immediately before their current run, dropping to sixth in the West.
"I just don't want us to get ahead of ourselves," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Two weeks ago, we weren't going to make the playoffs, according to a lot of people, and today we'll probably never lose again, and neither one of them is true -- we're right in the middle. We're still working and have got some things to do."
The Suns are back near the top of the West standings behind their high-powered offense.
Phoenix is second in the league in scoring (111.2) and leads the NBA in shooting percentage (49.9), but in its last six games it has averaged 120.8 points on a blistering 57.4 percent from the field, including 49.6 percent from 3-point range.
Against Houston, the Suns shot 56.5 percent overall and made 38-of-40 free throws.
Amare Stoudemire scored 38 points, including a franchise-record 20-of-20 from the foul line, breaking the club record of 17 consecutive foul shots in a game, set by Paul Silas against Atlanta on Jan. 10, 1971. Stoudemire, who also had 13 rebounds and four blocked shots, is averaging 30.7 points in his last six games -- 6.1 better than his season average.
"To be honest with you," D'Antoni said, "nothing that he does really surprises me anymore. He wants to win a championship. He wants to be the best player he can be."
Stoudemire had 31 points and three rebounds in the loss to Detroit last month.
O'Neal finished with 23 points -- his most since coming to Phoenix -- and grabbed 13 rebounds on Saturday, while Leandro Barbosa scored 21. Barbosa started for the injured Raja Bell, who is listed as questionable for this game with a sprained right ankle.
The Pistons lost their second straight, 95-83 at Washington on Sunday. Detroit is still 10 games ahead of second-place Cleveland in the Central, and close to clinching its fourth straight division title. The Pistons are also second in the Eastern Conference.
"With the position that we're in, we have the luxury of trying to work on some things," guard Chauncey Billups said. "We're not moving up or down or trying to go nowhere. We just have to stay healthy and try to work on some things that could benefit us in some series."
Rasheed Wallace had 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting against the Wizards after scoring 16 on only 6-of-17 shooting in Wednesday's 89-73 loss at Cleveland. Wallace had 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting against Phoenix in February.
The Pistons have won nine of their last 12 meetings with the Suns.