The NBA released the Phoenix Suns’ regular season schedule this week. Let’s delve into December, shall we?
Phoenix Suns’ staff family members considering early Christmas gifts should strongly consider luggage, because they’re going to need it in the month of December.
Out of 15 total games, only five of them are in the Valley of the Suns.
The rest are spread out all over the map including a trip out to the east coast. If the average commercial flyer followed the Suns from city to city for the entire month, they’d rack up over 11,000 frequent flier miles.
Technically, the Phoenix Suns have six homes games in December, however one of those is actually being played in against the Spurs in Mexico City, Mexico.
Los Suns last played two games in Mexico City in 2017, beating Los Spurs and falling to Los Mavs over a weekend stretch.
This marks the fourth consecutive year the NBA has played regular season games in Mexico City, a metropolitan area vying for an expansion team, as part of the league’s Global Games initiative.
This year’s Spurs aren’t exactly your tio’s Spurs. Gregg Popovich leads a group sans the core that made San Antonio a perennial playoff team much of the last 15 years. But Pop is still Pop, and with DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge topping the roster, the Spurs will be tough to beat in front of a raucous Mexico City crowd.
Before this feature matchup, however, Phoenix plays a handful of winnable games to start the month.
Unfortunately, it consists of four consecutive road games including a back-to-back.
If the Suns are to improve this year, they have to take care of teams like Charlotte and Orlando, regardless of where on the map they are playing them.
Phoenix then takes a trip to New Orleans for their second look at Zion Williamson and finish up the road trip at Houston in a game I would likely not place a bet on the orange and purple.
If the Suns can make it back to Phoenix going 2-2, they face Minnesota and Memphis at Talking Stick Resort Arena, two more winnable games, before heading down to Mexico.
The week before Christmas doesn’t get any easier on the jet lag with the next five games including two back-to-backs, most against formidable opponents such as the Trailblazers, Clippers, Rockets (again), and the Nuggets.
The game mixed in the middle of that stretch the Suns need to win is against the newly depleted Thunder.
At this point in the schedule, the Suns can bust out the egg nog and relax because they are unfortunately not playing on Christmas Day once again.
Instead, Santa Claus is bringing to town three more tough road games including another back-to-back against Golden State and Sacramento, then Portland.
It is hard to see how most teams escape this month above .500, but especially a likely lottery-bound team.
I’m putting lots of Suns wins on my list to Santa this year – let’s hope I don’t get too much coal instead!