The Phoenix Suns have a lot more than 23 games left in them. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Many sites have playoff predictors on them, and not one of those sites currently picks the Phoenix Suns to make the playoffs this season. The Phoenix Suns currently sit in the 9th position in the West, only 2 games out of 6th place and 3.5 games out of 5th.

The problem, of course, is that there are 6 other teams besides the Suns with the same exact goal - to make the playoffs as a 5-8 seed - and all of them are within 5.5 games of each other with 1/4 of the 82-game season still to play.

Can Phoenix move up? Absolutely. Only 2 of their direct competitors have fewer games to play against +.500 competition (13). And no team has more remaining games against losing teams (10) - games that SHOULD be won by playoff-caliber teams at this stage of the season.

The Suns' destiny is in their hands. They just need to grab it.

Hit the jump for a breakdown of each team's remaining schedule, from seeds 5-10 of the current playoff standings.

First, here is the Suns' remaining schedule. Scroll down for bullet-point analysis.

March Opponent Current Record
 Fri 04  @ Milwaukee   23 36
 Sun 06  @ Oklahoma City   37 22
 Tue 08  vs Houston  31 32
 Thu 10  vs Denver  36 26
 Sun 13  vs Orlando  39 22
 Mon 14  @ Houston   31 32
 Wed 16  @ New Orleans   35 28
 Fri 18  vs Golden State  27 33
 Sun 20  @ LA Clippers   22 40
 Tue 22  @ LA Lakers   43 19
 Wed 23  vs Toronto  17 44
 Fri 25  vs New Orleans  35 28
 Sun 27  vs Dallas  44 16
 Tue 29  @ Sacramento   15 44
 Wed 30  vs Oklahoma City  37 22
April
 Fri 01  vs LA Clippers  22 40
 Sun 03  @ San Antonio   50 11
 Tue 05  @ Chicago   41 18
 Wed 06  @ Minnesota   15 47
 Fri 08  @ New Orleans   35 28
 Sun 10  @ Dallas   44 16
 Mon 11  vs Minnesota  15 47
 Wed 13  vs San Antonio  50 11

 

Phoenix Suns remaining schedule, by the bullets

 

  • 23 games remaining
  • 11 at home (6 against +.500 teams)
  • 12 on the road (7 against +.500 teams)
  • 19 games against Western Conference foes
  • 6 games against direct competitors for playoff seed 5-8 (New Orleans - 3, Houston - 2, Denver - 1; 3 at home, 3 on road)
Let's take a look at the direct competition now:

Denver (36-26, 5th place, 3.5 games ahead of Phoenix; lead season series 2-1)
  • 20 games remaining
  • 8 at home (2 against +.500 teams)
  • 12 on the road (10 against +.500 teams)
  • 4 games against direct competitors for playoff seeds 5-8 (New Orleans - 1, Phoenix - 1; all on road)
Portland (34-27, 6th place, 2 games ahead of Phoenix, won season series 3-1)
  • 21 games remaining
  • 11 at home (7 against +.500 teams)
  • 10 on the road (8 against +.500 teams)
  • 3 games against direct competitors for playoff seeds 5-8 (1 each against New Orleans, Memphis and Utah; 1 at home, 2 on road)
New Orleans (35-28, 7th place, 2 games ahead of Phoenix, trail season series 0-1)
  • 19 games remaining
  • 11 at home (8 against +.500 teams)
  • 8 on the road (7 against +.500 teams)
  • 11 games against direct competitors for playoff seeds 5-8 (Phoenix - 3, Memphis - 3, Utah - 2, Houston/Portland/Denver - 1 each; 7 at home, 4 on road)
Memphis (34-28, 8th place, 1.5 games ahead of Phoenix, lead season series 2-1)
  • 20 games remaining
  • 12 at home (6 against +.500 teams)
  • 8 on the road (7 against +.500 teams)
  • 5 games against direct competitors for playoff seeds 5-8 (New Orleans - 3, Portland/Utah - 1 each; 3 at home, 2 on road)
Utah (32-29, 10th place, even with Phoenix, lost season series 0-3)
  • 21 games remaining
  • 10 at home (7 against +.500 teams)
  • 11 on the road (7 against +.500 teams)
  • 7 games against direct competitors for playoff seeds 5-8 (Denver - 2, New Orleans - 2, Portland, Houston, Memphis; 4 at home, 3 on road)
Houston (31-32, 11th place, 2 games behind Phoenix, trail season series 0-1)
  • 19 games remaining
  • 12 at home (7 against +.500 teams)
  • 7 on the road (4 against +.500 teams)
  • 4 games against direct competitors for playoff seeds 5-8 (Phoenix - 2, New Orleans, Utah; 2 at home, 2 on road)
How do you interpret these numbers?

Simply that these remaining schedules are about as evenly matched as you can get.

Only Houston - in 10th place, 2 games behind the Suns - has fewer remaining ROAD games against +.500 competition (4 vs. 7), and only Denver (12) and Houston (11) have fewer remaining TOTAL games against +.500 competition than the Suns.

New Orleans has the largest control over their own playoff destiny (11 of 19 remaining games against their direct competition for seeds 5-8), yet they're playing their worst basketball of the season now. Chris Paul seems a shadow of himself, and the 11-1 start to their season is more a mirage than the mark of a very good team.

The Suns have the most remaining games overall (23), but nearly the fewest against winning teams (13). If the Suns can beat the losing teams like they SHOULD, and at least match their competition in wins against +.500 teams, then they will make the playoffs easily.

And with only 3.5 games separating the Suns from the 5th seed with 23 games to play, anything up to #5 is possible.
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BOSTON — The Boston Celtics are widely known around the NBA as the baddest team in the land, and the Phoenix Suns stared them right in the eye without flinching Wednesday night in the TD...

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2086db961f650156a1560e1513d5d66c-getty-103883334eg009_phoenix_suns_mediumWell, I'm not surprised. It was the Celtics first home game off a road trip. They were excited to be back in Boston and to put on a good show for their fans. The Suns on the other hand look to be saving their energy for the Milwaukee game on Friday. They've played two straight overtime games coming into tonight. Expectations weren't high. The Celtics are no Denver Nuggets. We all know how good they are and what they can do. For them this was a, "taking care of business" type of game. Yea, I wished the score could have been closer and that the Suns could have shown more fight, but if they're going to get blown-out or take a game off to rest it might as well be against a team like the Celtics in a game they weren't suppose to win, but the Suns bench decided they weren't going to go down that easily! They came to play, to fight, to win! Unfortunately that didn't happen, but they came close.

Things started off pretty bland. Turnovers, no defense, effort... Starters just looked tired and their play resembled it. It also helped the Celtics build a 30-point lead, but something changed in the 4rth quarter. THE BENCH! They came out, played tight, lock-down D and cut the lead to 8 before running out of gas in the last minutes. Great Effort! Give it up for Aaron Brooks and the Bench, Suns fans!

The Bench!

Marcin Gortat- 13, 13 and 3 blocks. In other words, the usual.

Jared Dudley- 15, 5, 2 steals and his 5th Dunk of the season!

Mickael Pietrus- 11 points and superb defense.

Hakim Warrick- 7 points and 4 rebounds.

Aaron Brooks- 17 points, 7 assist and 2 steals. He made 6-7 shots including 2-3 from three. Lol, I love him already. It's only been 3 games for him and it's like he's been here all season. Not to mention, he's playing with confidence, aggression and control. It's amazing how one player can impact a team and Brooks has made quite an impression.

After thoughts

I'm impressed. I really didn't think I'd be saying that an hour ago. This team showed fight, specifically the bench. Suns were down 30 and the reserves came in and managed to cut that deficit to 8. I'd have to say it was one of our best come-backs of the season even though we didn't win. Had the starters played as half as good as their capable of the Suns just may have won this game. In fact, looking at these past two games I'm beginning to get the impression that the starters may be worn out from a long season of having to carry the team without a reliable bench. For guys like Steve Nash, Grant Hill and Vince Carter it isn't easy. They're old and this season a lone seems to have shown a lot of wear and tear on them. That has me worried, but the good thing is that the Brooks trade may have been just what the doctor ordered! Brooks is ready. He's got the experience and he's ready to help share the load with Nash and carry this team to the playoffs. I hope Coach Gentry has seen that tonight and as a future reference won't pull the subs when they're playing well.

This was a good game for at least the 4rth quarter..., but I'll take it. It was entertaining near the end. Suns always like to make it interesting and they've lived up to that reputation tonight. This was a good moral win and a confidence booster to our bench. I predict good things are going to happen from here on out.

Oh, the Celtics are still classes punks. Too much unnecessary, show-boating from them.

There will be Blood!

Frye bruised his eye and Carter cut his mouth on a collision with 17 minutes left in the game. Neither of them returned. We should have updates on the seriousness of their injuries in due time.

Glen Davis hurt his left knee on a dunk.

Comments of the Night

Celts fan behind me
"wow, vince carter looked like a corpse for a minute there." Should i have told him that that was actually a preexisting condition? -Bostonian Suns Fan

The Suns should sign me to a 10-day contract
And waive me the day after playing the Celtics. I would check into the game and beat the hell out of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. I don’t even care if I died. -Trevor Paxton

CelticsBlog

Suns vs Celtics coverage


2086db961f650156a1560e1513d5d66c-getty-103883334eg009_phoenix_suns_mediumWell, I'm not surprised. It was the Celtics first home game off a road trip. They were excited to be back in Boston and to put on a good show for their fans. The Suns on the other hand look to be saving their energy for the Milwaukee game on Friday. They've played two straight overtime games coming into tonight. Expectations weren't high. The Celtics are no Denver Nuggets. We all know how good they are and what they can do. For them this was a, "taking care of business" type of game. Yea, I wished the score could have been closer and that the Suns could have shown more fight, but if they're going to get blown-out or take a game off to rest it might as well be against a team like the Celtics in a game they weren't suppose to win, but the Suns bench decided they weren't going to go down that easily! They came to play, to fight, to win! Unfortunately that didn't happen, but they came close.

Things started off pretty bland. Turnovers, no defense, effort... Starters just looked tired and their play resembled it. It also helped the Celtics build a 30-point lead, but something changed in the 4rth quarter. THE BENCH! They came out, played tight, lock-down D and cut the lead to 8 before running out of gas in the last minutes. Great Effort! Give it up for Aaron Brooks and the Bench, Suns fans!

The Bench!

Marcin Gortat- 13, 13 and 3 blocks. In other words, the usual.

Jared Dudley- 15, 5, 2 steals and his 5th Dunk of the season!

Mickael Pietrus- 11 points and superb defense.

Hakim Warrick- 7 points and 4 rebounds.

Aaron Brooks- 17 points, 7 assist and 2 steals. He made 6-7 shots including 2-3 from three. Lol, I love him already. It's only been 3 games for him and it's like he's been here all season. Not to mention, he's playing with confidence, aggression and control. It's amazing how one player can impact a team and Brooks has made quite an impression.

After thoughts

I'm impressed. I really didn't think I'd be saying that an hour ago. This team showed fight, specifically the bench. Suns were down 30 and the reserves came in and managed to cut that deficit to 8. I'd have to say it was one of our best come-backs of the season even though we didn't win. Had the starters played as half as good as their capable of the Suns just may have won this game. In fact, looking at these past two games I'm beginning to get the impression that the starters may be worn out from a long season of having to carry the team without a reliable bench. For guys like Steve Nash, Grant Hill and Vince Carter it isn't easy. They're old and this season a lone seems to have shown a lot of wear and tear on them. That has me worried, but the good thing is that the Brooks trade may have been just what the doctor ordered! Brooks is ready. He's got the experience and he's ready to help share the load with Nash and carry this team to the playoffs. I hope Coach Gentry has seen that tonight and as a future reference won't pull the subs when they're playing well.

This was a good game for at least the 4rth quarter..., but I'll take it. It was entertaining near the end. Suns always like to make it interesting and they've lived up to that reputation tonight. This was a good moral win and a confidence booster to our bench. I predict good things are going to happen from here on out.

Oh, the Celtics are still classes punks. Too much unnecessary, show-boating from them.

There will be Blood!

Frye bruised his eye and Carter cut his mouth on a collision with 17 minutes left in the game. Neither of them returned. We should have updates on the seriousness of their injuries in due time.

Glen Davis hurt his left knee on a dunk.

Comments of the Night

Celts fan behind me
"wow, vince carter looked like a corpse for a minute there." Should i have told him that that was actually a preexisting condition? -Bostonian Suns Fan

The Suns should sign me to a 10-day contract
And waive me the day after playing the Celtics. I would check into the game and beat the hell out of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. I don’t even care if I died. -Trevor Paxton

CelticsBlog

Suns vs Celtics coverage


Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) makes a move against the defense of Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash (13) and center Channing Frye, middle, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday, March 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)


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