Phoenix Suns face daunting Christmas-New Year period

Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Deandre Ayton. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports /

When analysing the difficulty of the Phoenix Suns schedule, one period certainly stands out as a major challenge for the championship-contending franchise.

Playing during the Christmas-New Year period can be a difficult task anyway, with athletes facing a balance between their profession and cherished time with family and loved ones. For the Suns, the time will be headlined by a long road-trip among a tough 12-game fixture.

The Phoenix Suns will face a gruelling Christmas-New Year period, with the franchise set for a multitude of away games against tough opposition.

As reported before the NBA’s official schedule release, the Suns will travel to Denver to play Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets in an exciting Christmas Day battle. Two days later they’ll play Ja Morant and the Grizzlies in Memphis, before facing the Washington Wizards on the second night of a back-to-back. They’ll close out the year by heading to Toronto in a challenging matchup with the Raptors.

Phoenix continue a six-game road-trip against the New York Knicks, closing it out in Cleveland against the young, rising Cavaliers. The Suns will return home but only briefly, hosting two games against the Eastern Conference Finalist Miami Heat, and a return game against Cleveland.

Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges
Phoenix Suns, Mikal Bridges. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

They then undertake another four-game road-trip, starting with a decisive test against the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. They’ll again face the Nuggets and Grizzlies away, with those games split by a trip to Minnesota to face the Timberwolves.

That totals ten away games in a 12-game span over 22 days. It includes eight games against teams who made the playoffs last season, plus an additional two against the Cavaliers who finished eighth but missed out as they lost both play-in games.

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How will the Suns fare? Honestly, anything more than a .500 record would be a good result. However, Phoenix will see the period as another opportunity to prove themselves, as a stretch to re-establish and legitimise their candidacy as one of the elite teams in the league.