Phoenix Suns look to charge into the playoffs
With Ryan McDonough and his staff not making any trades as the deadline passes, The Phoenix Suns look to charge into the playoffs.
But let’s break down the remaining schedule to see how easy or hard it will be.
It all starts with a Friday matchup with the Suns’ nemesis… the San Antonio Spurs. It doesn’t matter Tony Parker isn’t playing, that just means someone (probably Manu Ginobili just to make me more mad at a Suns loss to the Spurs) will step up and hand the Suns a loss. But the game is in Arizona, so there is hope they can pull a victory out.
Then the Suns host the Houston Rockets Sunday. While it’s looking like Phoenix won’t be able to leapfrog the Rockets in the standings, this is a key game for the Suns. If they could get those two game against the Spurs and Rockets they could get a good winning streak going and move up the Western Conference standings. That game against Houston will be on ESPN too.
Phoenix has a back-to-back hosting Minnesota then traveling to Utah, both of which they should win. Then a couple days later they host the New Orleans Pelicans on ESPN to finish out the month of February.
Following an “easy” game hosting Atlanta to start out March, the Suns will face a tough stretch. March 4-10, they will host the Clippers, then the Thunder, travel to Oakland to face the Warriors, then fly down the coast to play the Clips again at STAPLES Center. You can almost bet on the Suns going 1-3 in the stretch. The only upside is the Clippers will be missing sharp-shooter J.J. Riddick for both those games. The bad news is Blake Griffin is playing out of his mind, and worse of all… they have Chris Paul back.
Then the Suns get a “break”. They get to host the dumpster fire that is Cleveland, then go to Boston, who they just beat. They continue the road-trip with the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets, before they come home to face more Eastern Conference teams in the Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons. Then they hit the road to face Minnesota, Atlanta and Washington, before they finish the month with games against the Knicks and Lakers.
A pretty easy stretch there.
The Suns have a tough set of games to begin April, starting out with the Clippers, followed by Portland and Oklahoma City. Then they hit the road to face New Orleans and San Antonio, before they finish the season against tough matchups for Phoenix in Dallas, Memphis and Sacramento.
I predict the Suns to go about 17-12 the rest of the way, giving them a final record of 49-33, which is pretty amazing. They are going to nearly DOUBLE their win total from last season, and NO ONE was even expecting it. There was no great trade or loaded draft. McDonough just put together the right team, while Hornacek got them working together and winning.
The two keys to the rest of the season are: the health and impact of Bledsoe and winning road games against bad teams.
Both are so important for the Suns to make the playoffs and, maybe even make a run at home court in the first round.