Psychoanalysis of the Suns Schedule by a Verified Suns Psycho

Ok. We’re close enough. I can’t contain myself anymore. I feel compelled to substantiate my reflections on the schedule before I fulminate from suppression. Does this practice serve any useful purpose? Probably not. Is it fun anyway? I think so. Plus, it’s tradition. How can we call this a preseason without the obligatory pore through the schedule and count off the wins and losses article?

Before I get started a couple things of note…

This schedule is too compressed. It’s bursting at the seams.

· 17 back-to-backs

· 2 back-to-back-to-backs

· 5 back-to-back days off during the season (not including all-star break)

· 6 days off for all-star break

I’m still miffed that the Suns “avoided” home games against the Knicks, Celtics, Magic, Bulls, and Heat. Sure it takes tough games off the schedule, but people only get one opportunity a year to see some of the premier Eastern Conference players in person and none of them are coming this year. Another faux pas from the beloved NBA, thanks for looking out for us fans again. If Phoenix was going to have only one game against 12 of the Eastern Conference teams (Phoenix plays Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Cleveland twice) it would have been nice to host a couple of the star-laden teams. I’d trade a road game against Toronto for a home game against Chicago, for instance. Those tough road games are almost sure losses. Also, isn’t a victory at home against Boston much more satisfying than vanquishing the Bobcats? Oh well, enough divagating.

For in depth analysis that can only be found on BSOTS, bounce with it...

Dec. 26 ... vs. New Orleans W

Dec. 28 ... vs. Philadelphia W

Dec. 30 ... at New Orleans W

Dec. 31 ... at Oklahoma City L

Jan. 2 ... vs. Golden State W

Jan. 4 ... at Dallas L

This team needs a good start. Playing New Orleans two out of the first three games should help provide that. Anything less than a 3-0 start and a jump out of the gate will be disappointing. 4-2

Jan. 6 ... vs. Portland W

Jan. 8 ... vs. Milwaukee W

Jan. 10 ... at LA Lakers L

Jan. 12 ... vs. Cleveland W

Jan. 13 ... vs. New Jersey W

This block provides one of the first important conference games of the season – a battle against Portland without with* Aldridge. The Suns need to defend home court against the teams they are jockeying for playoff spots with. Losing these games is twice as painful because it directly benefits the competition. 4-1 Total: 8-3

Jan. 15 ... at San Antonio W

Jan. 17 ... at Chicago L

Jan. 18 ... at New York W

Jan. 20 ... at Boston L

Jan. 23 ... at Dallas L

This 5 game road trip is brutal. Two wins would probably have to be considered a success even if it is a losing record on this parlous stretch. I threw in the W over the Knicks to satiate our brethren who still harbor ill will towards the apostrophied one. Who Phoenix beats is inconsequential as long as they win at least 2. 2-3 Total: 10-6

Jan. 24 ... vs. Toronto W

Jan. 27 ... at Portland L

Jan. 28 ... vs. Memphis W

Jan. 30 ... vs. Dallas L

It will be important not to slip up against the Raptors the night after returning from Dallas. The game against Memphis will be another one the Suns need. Again, it comes the night after a tough game on the road. 2-2 Total: 12-8

Feb. 1 ... at New Orleans W

Feb. 3 ... at Houston L

Feb. 4 ... vs. Charlotte W

Feb. 6 ... at Atlanta L

Feb. 7 ... at Milwaukee L

Again we see the recurring theme of back-to-back away/home sets that the Suns will need to be chary of, can’t afford to drop one to the Bobcats here. Stealing another road win here could turn this to a 3-2 stretch. 2-3 Total: 14-11

Feb. 9 ... vs. Houston W

Feb. 11 ... at Sacramento L

Feb. 13 ... at Golden State W

Feb. 14 ... at Denver L

Feb. 15 ... vs. Atlanta L

The Suns must offer the Rockets no quarter in this matchup. If they can find a way to win 2 of 3 on the first back-to-back-to-back this stretch would be a roisterous success. Sacramento could be a trap game if the Suns beat Houston and are looking past the Kings. 2-3 Total: 16-14

Feb. 17 ... at LA Lakers L

Feb. 19 ... vs. LA Lakers W

Feb. 20 ... vs. Washington W

Feb. 22 ... vs. Golden State W

A split with the Lakers and a three game winning streak headed into the break would be a serendipitous fashion in which to close out the first half of the season. Hopefully the Suns aren’t running on fumes when the spry Warriors come to town. 3-1 Total: 19-15

Feb. 24-26 ... All-Star Weekend in Orlando – a fugacious respite in a frenzied tempestuous season.

March 1 ... vs. Minnesota W

March 2 ... vs. LA Clippers L

March 4 ... vs. Sacramento W

March 7 ... at Oklahoma City L

March 8 ... vs. Dallas L

A couple tough games after the break. First the Suns catch their first look at the new look Clips on the back end of a b-2-b, then in the same week they catch the Mavericks on the back of another of those damn away/home sets. 2-3 Total: 21-18

March 10 ... vs. Memphis W

March 12 ... vs. Minnesota W

March 14 ... vs. Utah W

March 15 ... at LA Clippers L

March 16 ... vs. Detroit W

March 18 ... vs. Houston W

Here’s a chance to make some hay. If the Suns can take care of business, they can bulwark their playoff aspirations in this stretch. Defending home court against conference rivals is still a central theme for me as well as watching out for trap games like the Pistons on the last night of the Suns second b-2-b-2-b. 5-1 Total: 26-19

March 20 ... at Miami L

March 21 ... at Orlando W

March 23 ... at Indiana L

March 25 ... at Cleveland W

March 27 ... vs. San Antonio L

March 28 ... at LA Clippers L

April 1 ... vs. New Orleans W

This section is a little more inimical. I give the Suns the Magic game under the assumption that Howard will be gone. A win against the Spurs would be huge, but surviving this with 3 wins is still bearable. 3-4 Total: 29-23

April 3 ... at Sacramento W

April 4 ... at Utah W

April 6 ... at Denver L

April 7 ... vs. LA Lakers L

April 9 ... at Minnesota W

April 11 ... at Memphis L

April 13 ... at Houston W

April 14 ... at San Antonio L

Going down the home stretch the Suns have a lot of match ups against teams they will potentially be battling for playoff positioning (fingers crossed). Unfortunately, during this part of that home stretch most of the games are actually away… Just find a way to split these games. Any way. No time for lassitude yet. 4-4 Total: 33-27

April 16 ... vs. Portland W

April 18 ... vs. Oklahoma City L

April 19 ... vs. LA Clippers L

April 21 ... vs. Denver W

April 24 ... at Utah W

April 25 ... vs. San Antonio W

Hoping for a stout finish against some stiff competition. I can very well envision the Suns in a dogfight with these very teams coming down the stretch. Good way for the schedule to shake down. Wouldn’t you want the Suns to be able to have a direct say in their eventual fate? I like it. 4-2 Total: 37-29

So there’s my two cents. Actually that’s probably more like three or four cents. Obviously the season won’t unfold exactly like my fanciful notions concocted above. The Suns will lose some games that leave us shaking our heads in disgust, and they will (hopefully) win some games that have us cavorting and carousing. I think this is probably a reasonable facsimile of what the Suns might achieve if they perform to the maximum of their capabilities. If I was pressed on the matter I might actually pick just south of this mark. I would, however, be north of 14th place.

So what say you Brightsiders? Light me up or add your insight below.

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