One of the more taxing byproducts of the shortened, compressed 2011/2012 NBA season are the back-to-back-to-back games that every NBA team must face on at least one occasion this year, along with some teams, like the Phoenix Suns, who are scheduled to to play two sets of them.
The Suns will play their first set of back-to-back-to-back games starting tonight with an away game against the Golden State Warriors before heading to play another road game against the Denver Nuggets tomorrow, and then finally heading back home to play the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. The Suns' next and last back-to-back-to-back series will come next month when they will face the Utah Jazz on March 14th at home, at the L.A. Clippers on March 15th, and back home against the Detroit Pistons on March 16th.
So what can we expect from the Suns' first back-to-back-to-back series of games? How have other teams who have already played three-straight games responded?
Continue reading after the jump for an analysis.
Up to this point, the back-to-back-to-back games thus far haven't been all that bad for the teams who have played them. In fact, of the 17 teams who have already completed a three-in-a-row series (Denver twice), 10 teams have come away with a winning record over the three-game stretch, with two teams (OKC Thunder, Chicago Bulls) going 3-0. Not only that, the overall record of all three-in-a-row games played by those 17 teams is 28-26...Not too shabby.
But what about that dreaded third game? Surely the records of those 17 teams haven't been favorable on the last game of the stretch, right? Wrong. Even when we look at the records of the teams playing the last game of the back-to-back-to-back, their combined record is 10-8.
Looking at these stats, one may be lead to believe that playing three games in a row might actually be advantageous for the team playing them...Well, not exactly. The thing is, the success of the teams playing the three-games-in-a-row has much more to do with the overall success of the team than it does the back-to-back-to-back games. That is, good teams can expect to do well in these games, but the bad teams...not so much.
In fact, none of the 10 teams who have come away with a winning record during the back-to-back-to-back games were sub-.500 teams.
So what can we take away from this? Well, I believe the most important thing these stats show us is that the back-to-back-to-back games tend to follow the same trend as most other games do. For the Suns who currently have a record of 12-15, the likelihood of coming out of these three games with a winning record probably isn't very high. But then again, that probably has more to do with the teams the Suns are playing and the fact that two of the games are on the road then it does the three-game stretch itself.