Common sense tells you that the difference in winning and losing has a thousand factors, but one factor is whether your body is more rested than your opponent's body. The Phoenix Suns are suffering this year, in part, due to a more difficult schedule than anyone thought.
There is a lot of debate over whether the amount of rest a team gets between games makes a difference in their won-loss record. Teams don't necessarily lose all their back-to-backs, but the Suns have a stunningly bad record on those this year by losing 5 of 6 on the second night of a back-to-back set.
However, what about the results of teams whose rest is greater or lesser than that night's opponent? If both teams are on the back-to-back, then "rest" won't play a factor. The home team is most likely to win. But what if the home team is the more tired team? Or the road team is doubly damaged by being more tired as well?
The Suns have played 23 games so far, and only five (5) of those games have provided the Suns more rest than their opponent that night. Another ten (10) have been even, while eight (8) have been affairs where the Suns are fighting a team that's had more rest than they have had.
Coach Hornacek commented the other night that the Suns seem to have faced more rested opponents this year than last year. While the numbers are not overwhelming, that sentiment is certainly born out.
Let's see how the Suns have fared overall, and in home/road splits based on who had more rest between them and their opponent that night.
As you can see, the Suns have a tough time winning games where the opponent has more rest than they do. Curiously, and likely due to small sample size, the Suns have fared better on the road with less rest than at home. But those two roads wins on less rest where against the Celtics and the banged up Pacers, so there's that.
On the flip side, some of the Suns best wins on the season have come with being the more rested team, beating San Antonio, Golden State, Denver and Dallas under such circumstances.
Certainly, a lot of factors go into wins and losses. But it's interesting to see a trend form, and then apply that to the future to see what's in store.
Unfortunately, its not good news.
*when both teams have 2+ days rest, I called it 'even'
As you can see, the Suns only have the advantage of being the more rested team once (1) in the next 17 games, while they are on the short end seven (7) times. Factor in that 12 of 17 are on the road, and we can only hope the Suns to split the next 17 games and still be treading water when a franchise-long nine (9) game home streak starts after January 11.
Again, whether you're more rested than the other team is just one small factor in your ability to win the game.
But it sure looks like it plays a part in this Suns season.