This week, the Suns face the brutality of NBA life after a long lockout: every team has at least one "3-games-in-3-nights" series on their 2011-2012 schedule. The Suns (12-15) have 2 such opportunities for fun this season - the first kicking off with tonight's game against the Warriors (10-14) in California.
While real-life data shows that, so far, 3-in-3 isn't much different than any other scheduling phenomenon - thanks to some research by BSotS' own 7footer - the Suns happen to be sporting two of the oldest players in the NBA in Grant Hill and Steve Nash. Gentry will have to monitor their minutes, possibly even sitting one or both out of one of the games.
The most winnable game is tonight's and is likely to feature the most Nash and Hill minutes of the week unless it's a blowout in the 4th quarter. After that, the Suns fly to Denver for a mile-high game, followed by a home game against the Hawks. All in the span of about 50 hours. Considering the opponents, the Suns' history against those teams, and the venue of each game, if the Suns are going to "punt" any of these games to win the others, you'd have to "X" out the Denver game.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Tonight, the Suns face the Warriors - a team the Suns have found ways to beat in 11 of the last 12 regular-season meetings. The Warriors have failed to score 100 points in the last 4 meetings (averaging 92), while the Suns have averaged 106. The Suns won the first matchup this season, 102-91.
Cross your fingers that the Suns can continue this stretch of dominance.
Special gameday fun: use the comments section to create a caption for that awesome picture!
Take a look at the Warriors stats:
For more coverage of the game:
It's not exactly a surprise, but when Jared Dudley and Channing Frye both play well the Suns are a formidable team. Not a championship team. Not even really a dangerous playoff team, but certainly a formidable opponent for the likes the Bucks, Bobcats, Kings and the occasional Hawks.
Over at SB Nation Arizona a bunch of the fellas do a weekly power ranking of the Suns roster. Needless to say, you can expect to find Steve Nash on top of the ranking until such time as he asks out of Phoenix, retires, or takes one too many blows to the head and is forced to miss some games.
Since neither of those three are likely to happen, we'll just assume that Nash will be on top for the foreseeable future.
After Nash, however, things get a bit more interesting. For the bulk of the season the number two slot has been held down by Marcin Gortat and his strings of double-doubles. This week, however, there's a new number two in town.
Check it out....although the headline and opening paragraph of this story should give you a hint.
One of the more taxing byproducts of the shortened, compressed 2011/2012 NBA season are the back-to-back-to-back games that every NBA team must face on at least one occasion this year, along with some teams, like the Phoenix Suns, who are scheduled to to play two sets of them.
The Suns will play their first set of back-to-back-to-back games starting tonight with an away game against the Golden State Warriors before heading to play another road game against the Denver Nuggets tomorrow, and then finally heading back home to play the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. The Suns' next and last back-to-back-to-back series will come next month when they will face the Utah Jazz on March 14th at home, at the L.A. Clippers on March 15th, and back home against the Detroit Pistons on March 16th.
So what can we expect from the Suns' first back-to-back-to-back series of games? How have other teams who have already played three-straight games responded?
Continue reading after the jump for an analysis.
Up to this point, the back-to-back-to-back games thus far haven't been all that bad for the teams who have played them. In fact, of the 17 teams who have already completed a three-in-a-row series (Denver twice), 10 teams have come away with a winning record over the three-game stretch, with two teams (OKC Thunder, Chicago Bulls) going 3-0. Not only that, the overall record of all three-in-a-row games played by those 17 teams is 28-26...Not too shabby.
But what about that dreaded third game? Surely the records of those 17 teams haven't been favorable on the last game of the stretch, right? Wrong. Even when we look at the records of the teams playing the last game of the back-to-back-to-back, their combined record is 10-8.
Looking at these stats, one may be lead to believe that playing three games in a row might actually be advantageous for the team playing them...Well, not exactly. The thing is, the success of the teams playing the three-games-in-a-row has much more to do with the overall success of the team than it does the back-to-back-to-back games. That is, good teams can expect to do well in these games, but the bad teams...not so much.
In fact, none of the 10 teams who have come away with a winning record during the back-to-back-to-back games were sub-.500 teams.
So what can we take away from this? Well, I believe the most important thing these stats show us is that the back-to-back-to-back games tend to follow the same trend as most other games do. For the Suns who currently have a record of 12-15, the likelihood of coming out of these three games with a winning record probably isn't very high. But then again, that probably has more to do with the teams the Suns are playing and the fact that two of the games are on the road then it does the three-game stretch itself.