FanPost

The Stretch Run: Updated 4/9

Some people love to rosterbate. Others gravitate towards irrational exuberance. There are merchants that peddle doom. On occasion a person struggles with their grasp of the English language. Luminaries exude knowledge of the game of basketball. I like to look at the schedule.

I can‘t pinpoint why, but if I have a horse in the race sprinting towards the finish line I am drawn to the nuances of the remaining games like a moth to a flame. Like Boris Diaw to a pastry shop. I’m the guy that looks at the schedule before the season, periodically during the season, at the midpoint, and (obviously) with great frequency when things get interesting and the season inexorably rushes to its conclusion.

I know the best strategy for the Suns is to concentrate on what is in front of them, approach each game one at a time, win as many as possible, and let the chips fall where they may. The Suns shouldn’t worry whether other teams win or lose, they can only control their own fate by winning their games. That is why I will keep a watchful eye in their stead.

For others who share my inclination to pore through the schedule and check the scoreboard on a nightly basis, take the plunge for a (hopefully) well constructed chart that depicts the remaining schedules of the Suns and their adversaries along with statistics and analysis.

Memphis Dallas Denver Houston Utah Phoenix
Mon Apr 9 vs Clippers vs Warriors @ Portland vs Spurs @ Minnesota
Tue Apr 10 vs Kings
Wed Apr 11 vs Phoenix vs Minnesota vs Utah @ Houston @ Memphis
Thur Apr 12 @ Spurs @ Warriors
Fri Apr 13 @ Portland @ Lakers vs Phoenix @ Hornets @ Houston
Sat Apr 14 vs Utah @ Memphis @ Spurs
Sun Apr 15 @ Hornets @ Lakers vs Houston @ Denver
Mon Apr 16 @ Utah @ Houston vs Denver vs Dallas vs Portland
Tue Apr 17 @ Minnesota
Wed Apr 18 vs Hornets vs Houston vs Clippers @ Dallas @ Portland vs Thunder
Thur Apr 19 @ Hornets vs Clippers
Fri Apr 20 @ Charlotte vs Warriors
Sat Apr 21 vs Portland @ Chicago @ Phoenix vs Warriors vs Orlando vs Denver
Sun Apr 22 vs Orlando @ Miami
Mon Apr 23 vs Cleveland
Tue Apr 24 vs Phoenix @ Utah
Wed Apr 25 @ Thunder vs Spurs
Thur Apr 26 vs Orlando @ Atlanta @ Minnesota vs Hornets vs Portland

Memphis (32-23) – winning percentage of remaining opponents .444


Games remaining against: 1 Season series: Suns lead 2-0 *Suns own head-to-head tiebreaker

11 games remaining, 4 back to backs, 7 home, 4 road, 5 teams with winning records

The Grizzlies remain an unlikely target. Barring a complete collapse (which would include consecutive losses to the Clippers and Phoenix), they will be removed from this discussion in short order. The win over the Heat nearly removes the Grizzlies from consideration for the purpose of this discussion. On a side note, it’s nice to see that the Heat, Bulls, and OKC have all decided to take games off to the Suns detriment.

Dallas (31-26) – winning percentage of remaining opponents .517


Games remaining against: 0 Season series: Dallas wins 3-1 *Dallas owns head-to-head tiebreaker

9 games remaining, 3 back to backs, 3 home, 6 road, 5 teams with winning records

The Mavericks have been playing underwhelming basketball for some time now. Going back nearly half of this truncated season, the Mavericks are only 11-15. In the short term, the Mavericks are only 2-4, with losses to the Heat, Clippers, Trailblazers, and Grizzlies. An upcoming four game road trip provides the Suns an opportunity to pass the struggling Mavericks. These teams are trending in opposite directions. Lamar Odom is now on my Christmas card list. Way to be a real pro Lamar...

Denver (30-26) – winning percentage of remaining opponents .542


Games remaining against: 1 Season series: Denver leads 2-0 *Denver owns head-to-head tiebreaker

10 games remaining, 3 back to backs, 5 home, 5 road, 7 teams with winning records

The looming home/away set vs. Houston will be telling. The Nuggets have a fairly parlous schedule in front of them. This is still a primary adversary for the Suns. It will be unlikely that Saturday, April 21st doesn't have serious implications.

Houston (30-25) – winning percentage of remaining opponents .478


Games remaining against: 1 Season series: Houston leads 2-1

10 games remaining, 3 back to backs, 5 home, 5 road, 5 teams with winning records

The Suns game at Houston is of paramount importance. There is a fugacious chance of catching them without a victory in that contest. Dallas and Denver appear to be easier targets, as the Rockets are playing with fervor and panache under the guidance of a point guard who has learned how to train his dragon...

Utah (29-27) – winning percentage of remaining opponents .524


Games remaining against: 1 Season series: Suns lead 2-0 *Suns own head-to-head tiebreaker

9 games remaining, 2 back to backs, 5 home, 4 road, 6 teams with winning records

Tony Parker is conspicuously left out of most of the great point guard conversations. Maybe he shouldn't be. Another win for the Spurs against the Jazz would be very beneficial for the Suns. Utah's remaining schedule is every bit as difficult as Phoenix's, hopefully they will be in the rearview mirror.

Phoenix (29-27) – winning percentage of remaining opponents .588


10 games remaining, 3 back to backs, 5 home, 5 road, 8 teams with winning records

The win against LA puts things in a much Sunnier disposition. Tonight's game against the Wolves becomes a fulcrum, as each of the remaining games on the 4 game trip are more perilous. The Suns have been on the cusp of breaking the top 8 for so long, it almost seems inevitable they will make it. The Hill injury may be a blessing in disguise, as Brown and Redd have stepped up in his absence. A 2-2 road trip should still set the Suns up for a 7th or 8th seed.

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