The Phoenix Suns’ 2012-13 schedule was released today. For the Suns, this season will be about new faces in old uniforms and old faces in new uniforms. This new-look team will have to find its identity quickly if it wants to contend in the always stacked Western Conference. They’re going to run into some familiar faces along the way. Here are the schedule highlights (and lowlights depending on how you feel about a certain Canadian wearing purple and gold.)
- The Suns open the season on Halloween night at home against the Golden State Warriors.
- Phoenix will play against Steve Nash for the first time in Los Angeles on Nov. 18. Nash won’t make his return to Phoenix until Jan. 30, however. That game will be shown on ESPN.
- The Suns will visit Grant Hill and the Clippers for the first time on Dec. 8. Grant will make a return trip to the desert two days before Christmas.
- Former Rockets Goran Dragic and Luis Scola won’t have Houston homecoming until March 9. It’s not likely to be much of a reunion, however, as the Rockets seem to have changed everything about their franchise except the name of the arena. The Suns and Rockets will play each other four times in the last five weeks of the season.
- The Suns will host Eric Gordon, No. 1 pick Anthony Davis, and Robin Lopez/Hakim Warrick on Nov. 23. It will be interesting to see the reaction that Gordon gets in Phoenix, especially after announcing that the Suns were his preferred landing spot this offseason.
- The Suns’ road schedule isn’t awful. They’ll have only one road trip longer than four games. That is a six-games-in-10-days stretch beginning in late November where Phoenix will visit Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, Toronto, New York, and Memphis.
- The Suns will visit Brooklyn for the first time on Jan.11.
- Phoenix has 19 back-to-backs this year. And although there won’t be any back-to-back-to-backs, the Suns will play four games in five nights twice in the month of January.
- The champion Miami Heat will come to Phoenix for the first time since the 2010-11 season on Nov. 17.
- The Suns will play the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder four times, including a home-and-home Feb. 8 and 10. They will play the Thunder on New Year’s Eve for the second consecutive year.
- Phoenix will play each of its Pacific Division counterparts four times. The Suns will play every other Western team at least three times and every Eastern team twice.
- The Suns will be on TNT twice. They’ll host the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 6, and Chris Paul and the Clippers on Jan. 24.
- ESPN will broadcast the Suns only once (for Nash’s return). NBA TV will show two Suns games. The first is a clash at home against the Lin-less Knicks the day after Christmas. The second is a late-season matchup against the Indiana Pacers. Amazingly, all the Suns’ nationally televised games will be at home.
How Phoenix’s season will turn out is something we’ll discuss at length in the coming months. For now, the release of the schedule brings hope to hoops fans that the dog days of summer (and having nothing to watch but baseball) are nearly over. The NBA’s return is just around the corner. Here’s the Suns’ complete schedule: