We were able to take a few peaks earlier last week, but Wednesday afternoon, the NBA parted its curtains to reveal the full 2022-23 regular season schedule. The big reveal featured all 82 games for all 32 NBA teams—of course including our Phoenix Suns.
Although each regular season game matters equally on paper, any time you look at a full season slate in one sitting, a few contests always stand out amongst the rest.
Phoenix’s season opener immediately raises an eyebrow. The Suns will draw the Dallas Mavericks to kick off their upcoming campaign—the same team which kicked them out of the postseason last year in a way that was beyond embarrassing.
Things do not exactly mellow out for the Suns after that contest. In fact, a majority of this team’s bigger tests come during their regular season’s first half. Starting with one marquee bout just four days after the opener, these five matchups represent the most important and potentially exciting games to come.
Phoenix Suns Top Games in the 2022-23 Regular Season
Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Clippers – Sunday, Oct. 23rd
Even though the Suns fell apart during the playoffs, last year’s regular season allowed them to cement themselves as a true Western Conference juggernaut, as they stacked a franchise-high 64 games in their win column.
So with all that success a season ago and with the Suns set to run it back with a similar roster, many expect the team to occupy the West’s top tier yet again this season. Having understood that, their first test against a team assumed by many to possibly surpass not only the Suns but also the Golden State Warriors must hold significant interest.
In just their third game of the 2022-23 season, the Suns will fly out to face the Los Angeles Clippers and by extension, the two-headed monster of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard for the first time since April of 2021. The contest will come as an early, but serious test of how well the Suns stack up against a Western Conference now that arguably its most dangerous team is locked and loaded.
Phoenix Suns vs Minnesota Timberwolves – Tuesday, Nov. 1st
While the Clippers improved this offseason simply by healing up, the Minnesota Timberwolves did so by adding defensive powerhouse Rudy Gobert. This unit built around the Stifle Tower, Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell promises to take the TWolves from a fun and young team to one with championship aspirations.
But being one of those themselves, the Suns will want to welcome Minnesota to the West’s upper echelon on their terms. These teams will face off three other times this season, including another game a week after this one, but an early victory could pump the breaks on Minnesota’s rise and help Phoenix distance themselves from a new threat.
Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets – Friday, Dec. 25th
Naturally, Phoenix’s Christmas Day game will stand out as a highlight on the team’s 2022-23 agenda. Teams should feel honored any time the league chooses to feature them in its grandest regular season spectacle and play accordingly.
But even if you count out the holiday fun and tradition that come attached to this affair, it still feels more important than all the rest.
Like the Clippers, the Denver Nuggets fell victim to the injury bug right around the same time the Suns began their rise as a Western Conference powerhouse. So with Denver also getting healthy this offseason, this first look at them will allow Phoenix to gauge their revamped rival’s threat level.
With reigning MVP Nikola Jokic beside Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon, and Michael Porter Jr., will the Nuggets still be a doormat for the Suns to step all over? Will they take their long-awaited revenge from their Western Conference Semifinals series two summers ago? We’ll finally have our answer.
Phoenix Suns at Golden State Warriors – Tuesday, Jan. 10th
Even though a playoff meeting came into fruition, the Golden State Warriors resembled one of Phoenix’s most menacing rivals last year. The two teams dueled each other for the league’s top record through much of the season’s early days and while the Suns ran away with that race, the Warriors were always in their rear-view mirror.
Oh yeah, the Warriors also went on to take Phoenix’s spot as Western Conference champions before winning the NBA Finals after that.
The Suns do see the Warriors two times before this, but this is the first contest on Golden State’s home floor for the 2022-23 season. All that smoke from last year, plus the chance to take on the defending champs at their strongest? Get your popcorn ready.
Phoenix Suns vs Brooklyn Nets – Thursday, Jan. 19th
We’ll have our answer to the Kevin Durant saga by mid-January…right? Whatever it may be, this game has to potential to wield box office entertainment all the same.
If the Suns acquire Durant, this will be his first game back in Brooklyn vs old friend and teammate Kyrie Irving. If he stays with the Nets, it will be one of the more awkward games of the entire season and possibly a matchup vs another East contender if the Nets can finally put it all together as well.
That’s a lot of ifs, but no matter how things play out leading up to this one, odds are it will spice up your week on a Thursday evening.