Maybe this year, the highlight won’t be opening night.
The atmosphere last October when the Suns beat Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in the first game of the season — on national television no less — was thrilling. It all went downhill from there.
That came in part because the Suns weren’t able to beat up on beatable teams early in the season after Dallas, but partly because they hit the road against two great teams right away. Playing a heavy dose of home contests in the first dozen games should help the Suns get off on the right foot and take strides during the 2019-20 season, the schedule for which the NBA released Monday.
SCHEDULE IS OUT— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) August 12, 2019
Hear what Suns fans are saying ⬇️#NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/Gr2GLhnnLv
Here are the Suns’ first 12 games: vs. Sacramento, back to back at Denver and home against the Clippers, vs. Utah, at Golden State, at Memphis, and them a homestand against Philadelphia, Miami, Brooklyn, the Lakers, Atlanta and Boston.
That means NINE of the Suns’ first 12 games are at home. It should allow them to gel quickly and get off to a stronger start then last year, when they were 2-10 after the first dozen and it was already clear they would get nothing from their veterans.
Playing at home early and often should help build chemistry and comfort in the Valley as well. Maybe Devin Booker continues the momentum from the show he put on at Talking Stick Resort Arena to close last season.
The Suns also play no more than four games on the road until March 23-April 1, when they embark on a six-game road trip with five winnable contests.
Here’s the Suns’ only road trip longer than four games: Indiana, Washington, Philadelphia, Miami, Cleveland and Oklahoma City.
This is not to say they will win five of those, only that they could. As far as an Eastern Conference swing goes, this one is fairly tame, and it comes at the tail end of the season, when injuries and tanking have already taken hold of many teams.
Prior to that road trip, March is a comfy month for the Suns, with tons of time between games. Phoenix plays just four games over the first two weeks of the month before the rapid-fire swing along the East Coast.
You know what the schedule release calls for. Give us your bold, reckless predictions down below and we can all get super hyped about the progress the Suns will totally make this season.