The NBA schedule for the upcoming season has been posted on NBA.com. The Suns schedule is also out on Suns.com. Looks like we're kicking things off with a Kurt Thomas reunion right off the bat, as the Suns open their season in Seattle on November 1. Then, they get a reunion with Kobe the next night at home. There are 24 nationally-televised games (excluding the nine on NBATV), with three in November. Ten of those are on ESPN, nine are on TNT, and five are on ABC.
The Suns only play Dallas three times this year, with two of those being in Phoenix (a big disappointment to those of us living in Texas, but I suppose it's only fair, given the opposite happened in 2004-05). The Suns get a full dose of San Antonio to make up for it, with games against the Spurs in December, January, March, and a playoffs "warm-up" game in April. This should provide plenty of chances to break out the measuring stick throughout the season to see how these two teams stack up.
The Suns will spend half of November, and nearly all of December on the road, with only 12 home games prior to January 1. But after that, things flip around a little with a home-tilted schedule in January, and especially February, with a six-game home stand spanning the two months. Also, the schedule looks a bit light on long road trips this time, with the longest being a five-game trek through the eastern conference to start December. However, I imagine the entire month of December is going to feel like a road trip with only four games at home versus eleven on the road. The Suns will spend Christmas in LA with Kobe and the Lakers.
It looks like the Suns are again getting the easy part of the schedule out of the way early, with no games against Dallas, San Antonio, Utah, Detroit, or Denver until December 12 when they play Utah at home. Barring an unexpected shift of power, the most challenging opponents in the first month of the season look to be Golden State, Chicago, Houston, and possibly Orlando. The toughest part of the schedule is probably March where they get San Antonio, Utah, Denver twice, Detroit, and Golden State. They also pay a visit to the new KG-enabled Celtics in March, as well as dropping in a couple of times on Greg Oden in Portland.
All total, the schedule looks like it may be a little more friendly to the ebb and flow the Suns have shown the past couple of seasons. They get to start off against easier competition, so that should help them avoid the slow start that has plagued them the past two years. Then, just in time for their usual December run, they get to meet up with Dallas, San Antonio, and Utah, instead of having to face these teams at the beginning of the season like last year. So if the Suns can survive March, and avoid their usual slump around that time (hopefully the tougher competition will help with that), they should be set up with a good shot to hit the ground running, and keep improving right up to the end.