This is not a stress signal but an acknowledgment of the concept of Strength of Schedule. Now, this really only implies to College sports but there is a real stark contrast between two teams in the same conference and same division. That is the Los Angeles Lakers and beloved Phoenix Suns.
Now , I have been proud of the effort the Suns put up the last three games and it doesn't have me worried at all. This whole week we've played three playoff teams from last year: TrailBlazers, Jazz, and Lakers. First lost was a close game until the last few minutes, got a W, and kept up with the champs.
One thing I wanted the Suns to do was win the Pacific this year, but that is dead when I looked at the Lakers schedule and 15 minutes later, TNT brought the fact that they play 20 teams that didn't make the playoffs in 28 of their games. The NBA really wants the Lakers in the playoffs. I mean, dammit Stern. If this was the BCS, Lakers would have a hard time being #1. I mean, our first five games are three mention above, the Spurs, and the Grizzlies. Lakers first five are the Rockets, Us, the Warriors, the Grizzlies, and the Kings, which makes the worst they can do is 4-1 (Memphis, of course).
Let's add the fact that in 2 weeks, the Suns will have a five day span of playing the Lakers, Nuggets, Hear, and the Magic (Miami and Orlando on a back to back). Lake Show wise, by the time they play those three teams, the date would be February 13th.
Now, we all play the same teams in a 82 game season is the usual rebuttal, but a schedule like this those two things: builds leads win wise and most importantly, builds confidence. If the Suns can go through this brutal November slaying opponents, there's no way you can say they are not on par of being the best in the West. If the Lakers easily handle their weak schedule in those 28 games, but lose seven to the teams that made the playoffs in their 28 games, that doesn't fair well for them. I mean, its hard to compare the Lakers schedule to even the star studded Heat, who has played the Celtics and Orlando and will play Boston again soon.
I thought the heavy 17 games at home in 21 games for the Lakers was bad, but this is worst. I understand the Lakers are a marquee team, but kill this softness, NBA. Don't obviously give a team a lead. Challenge them. I mean, does Phil Jackson have pics of Stern doing questionable things? Is this the perks of being a champion? You get to skate by for 34% of the season while the other notable teams beat each other up?
All I can say is Let's go, Suns. If we can figure out our chemistry in this hell of a first month schedule, nothing will stop us. Not even a Mamba.