I just wanted to figure this out, and I got some numbers so I thought I'd share. Nothing exactly, just the rough numbers all in one spot.
Fortunately for the competitor deep inside, the Suns really do control their own destiny.
There are 23 games left. The Suns are 1.5 games out of the playoffs and 3.5 games out of the fourth spot.
Fortunately, they have 2 games against Utah and 2 against Dallas (the teams directly ahead of them -- wouldn't it be sweet to squeeze the Mavs out of the playoffs?).
10 games are against opponents ahead of them in the West:
Houston (Away) on March 6;
San Antonio (Away) on March 8;
Dallas (Home) on March 10;
Denver (Home) on March 23;
Utah (Home) on March 25;
Portland (Away) on March 26;
Utah (Away) on March 28;
Houston (Home) on April 1;
Dallas (Away) on April 5;
New Orleans (Away) on April 8;
If they win the 4 homes games and the roadies against Utah and Dallas, they are in pretty good shape on that front. That would be 6 wins against the Western Conference Playoff teams, with victories against the teams directly ahead of them. San Antonio is a little banged up and nearly secure in the second seed, so maybe Pop pulls his players? Maybe Portland has trouble with Shaq? A pretty good shot at a win in Houston? 7 wins against this competition would go a long way to reaching the playoffs.
There are 9 games against sub-500 teams (OKC, GSW, Wash, Sacramento, Sacramento, Memphis, Minnesota, Memphis, GSW). Some occur on the second night of back-to-backs, though. However, the last four games of the season are Memphis, Minnesota (back-to-back and on the road), Memphis and Golden State (both at home). If the Suns are in the mix, at least they have four very winnable games at the end. Maybe Amare will be back and able to use these as tune-up games for the postseason. If they win less than 7 of these 9, I'm not holding out much hope.
There are 4 games against Eastern Conference playoff teams. Back-to-back against Orlando and Miami these next two days. Then, Cleveland at home on March 12 and Philly at home on the 18, after 2 full days off. The Suns have a pretty good winning streak going against Orlando (at least 3 games, if not more) and Jameer Nelson is out. Just because of the back-to-back (and the lack of a killer like D-Wade in the backcourt), I like the chances against Orlando a little bit better. Hopefully, Cleveland has to play a tough team on March 11 (anybody know?). With rest, the Suns should be able to take care of Philadelphia. The Suns need 2 wins here.
If the Suns get their "must wins" as I describe them above, that's 15 more wins for a season total of 49. Last year, Golden State did not get in with 48 wins. 49 just might be enough this year.