On Wednesday, the Phoenix Suns’ 2014-15 schedule was released. Some quick highlights include opening at home against the Los Angeles Lakers and a franchise record 8-game homestand in January. Here is an in-depth breakdown of games to watch throughout the season.
Los Angeles Lakers-
Home- 10/29, 1/19 Away- 11/4, 12/28
The Lakers are coming off one of the worst seasons in their franchise’s history, but that doesn’t mean these games won’t lack any intrigue. This season will feature a healthy Kobe Bryant, first round pick Julius Randle (one of my personal favorites from the draft), and possibly the last hurrah of Suns two-time MVP Steve Nash. Suns fans get the Lakers at home on two big occasions, opening night and MLK Day, which will be one of the 17 national television games for the Suns.
San Antonio Spurs
Home- 10/31, 2/28 Away- 1/9, 4/12
Hate for the black and silver still remains strong for Suns fans. These games will look even bigger on the schedule with the Spurs coming off a championship season. The Suns travel to San Antonio in their second to last game of the year, which could have huge playoff implications for both teams. Remember, it was a Suns loss in San Antonio late in the season that derailed their playoff hopes.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Home- 2/26, 3/29 Away- 12/14, 12/31
Suns fans must stay patient on this one. Last year’s MVP Kevin Durant and his Thunder do not visit Phoenix until the end of February, with their next visit coming a month after that. We all remember the classic battles these two teams had at US Airways in both of their meetings last year. I for sure have all four of these games circled on my calendar.
Home- 1/23, 2/10 Away- 12/6, 3/21
Former Arizona State great James Harden makes his two homecoming trips in January and February this season. The Rockets are coming off a disappointing offseason that saw them not only lose Chandler Parsons to the Dallas Mavericks, but also missing on signing a big name free agent to team up with Harden and Dwight Howard. You still figure that those two will give the Rockets a potential 50-win team.
Home- 11/5, 2/2 Away- 1/11
The Grizzlies proved to be the Suns kryptonite last year, going 0-4 against the Grizzlies. Fortunately, the Suns don’t have to wait long to face their nemesis as they get a home date with the team that eliminated the Suns in the first week of the season.
Portland Trail Blazers
Home- 1/21, 3/27 Away- 2/5, 3/30
The Blazers to the Suns are what the Grizzlies are to Planet Orange. A 50-win team looked rather ordinary when these teams faced off. Portland did take a game from the Suns thanks to a no call on what should’ve been a Blazers goaltending in the final seconds. You can guarantee that the Blazers will be looking to show the Suns that they aren’t the pushovers they were made out to be last year.
Pacific Division rivals
Los Angeles Clippers
Home- 1/25, 4/14 Away- 1/15, 12/8
The Suns and Clippers have had some battles the last few years. Last year, the Suns trounced the Clippers at Staples Center at the end of December in what was one of the worst losses of the year for the Clippers. If the Suns want to compete in the Pacific division they must be able to continue to play well against the Clippers.
Golden State Warriors
Home- 11/9, 3/9 Away- 1/31, 4/2
It’s splash bros vs. slash bros. The Warriors and Suns provide must-watch televsion as two of the funnest teams in basketball square off four times in crucial Pacific Division battles.
Beasts in East
Home- 1/13 Away 3/7
LeBron James makes his lone appearance on January 13, which also begins the Suns franchise record long 8-game homestand. If there was a time to play the Cavaliers it would be in November and December as LeBron and Co. learn to play with each other, which unfortunately is not the case. Personally, I more interested if I will get to witness another one of these from James.
Home- 1/30 Away- 2/21
The Bulls are lurking as a team that may be one of the best in basketball. A lot of that will depend on the health of point guard Derrick Rose, who is coming off his second major knee surgery in as many years. The signing of Pau Gasol gives the Bulls the best frontcourt in basketball along with Joakim Noah. These two games should provide the Suns a good test of where they stand among the NBA’s best.
Home- 12/9 Away- 3/2
Even without LeBron James, the Heat will still compete in the East. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh remain for the defending Eastern Conference champions.
Home- 11/30 Away- 3/4
Channing Frye makes his return to Phoenix on November 30 after signing a 4-year $32 million contract with the Magic. The 6-foot-10 power forward played four years in Phoenix, averaging 11.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. He was also a part of the 2009-10 team that made a run to the Western Conference Finals.
Home- 11/7, 3/25 Away- 12/26, 2/8
Newly signed Isaiah Thomas will get his first crack against his old team in game number six when the Kings come to US Airways. He gets to return to his old stomping grounds the day after Christmas in what should be an interesting reception for the former King point guard.
Rookies to watch
Home- 12/15, Away- 1/6
Suns fans get to see the number two overall pick from the 2014 NBA Draft in the middle of December when Jabari Parker’s Milwaukee Bucks come to town. Parker, who I think is the best overall player from the draft, will try and lead one of the worst teams in basketball back to respectability.
Home- 1/16, 3/11 Away- 1/7, 2/20
Pending the rumored trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves, the first overall pick of the draft will be wearing a T-Wolves jersey on August 23. Andrew Wiggins will make two appearance in Phoenix next year as he will try to help a Minnesota team rebuild after losing Kevin Love.