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Suns back on national stage 13 times in first 36 games

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More than one third of their 2020-21 games will be shown nationally across ESPN, TNT and NBA TV

Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The of the first five Suns games of the season will be on national television — one each on ESPN (Mavericks), TNT (Pelicans) and NBATV (Jazz) — and overall 13 of the Suns first 36 games are on some kind of national spotlight.

You might remember the Suns got 0-2 national games per year (not including NBATV) for the past few years. This year they are booked NINE times on ESPN (5) and TNT (4) in their first 36 games of the season.

Call it the Chris Paul effect!

Or you can call it the Bubble+ effect. It’s like of like Disney+... but better.

I’ll just call it Suns basketball is back, baby!

I don’t know how this count of national games for the Suns compares to the other Western Conference teams, but this is a great number considering the Suns are just now trying to re-establish themselves on the big stage.


Notes:

  1. The NBA only released 36 games because of the need to stay flexible during COVID times, but it’s also a big plus for surprising good teams (and surprising bad one) so the networks don’t have to show as many awful games in the second half!
  2. Note the places where the Suns are away for a 2-game stretch against the same team. This is the NBA’s attempt to reduce travel just a little bit
  3. 20 of 36 at home, which means the second half will be a lot of roadies
  4. There are more back-to-backs than usual, because of the condensed calendar time to fit in 72 games and the playoffs before the Olympics start.

Here’s that schedule...

  • Dec. 23 vs. Dallas Mavericks – 8:30 p.m. (ESPN) — LUKA vs. BOOKER
  • Dec. 26 at Sacramento Kings – 8 p.m. — CP3 vs. FOX
  • Dec. 27 at Sacramento Kings – 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 29 vs. New Orleans Pelicans – 8 p.m. (TNT) — DA vs. ZION
  • Dec. 31 at Utah Jazz – 7 p.m. (NBATV) — BOOKER vs.SPIDA
  • Jan. 1 at Denver Nuggets – 7 p.m. — BOOKER vs. MURRAY
  • Jan. 3 vs. Los Angeles Clippers – 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 6 vs. Toronto Raptors – 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 8 at Detroit Pistons – 5 p.m.
  • Jan. 9 at Indiana Pacers – 5 p.m.
  • Jan. 11 at Washington Wizards – 5 p.m.
  • Jan. 13 vs. Atlanta – 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 15 vs. Golden State – 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 16 vs. Indiana – 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 18 at Memphis – 3 p.m. (TNT)
  • Jan. 20 at Houston – 7:30 p.m.(ESPN)
  • Jan. 22 vs. Denver – 8 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Jan. 23 vs. Denver – 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 27 vs. Oklahoma City – 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 28 vs. Golden State – 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 30 at Dallas – 6:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 1 at Dallas – 6:30 p.m. (NBATV)
  • Feb. 3 at New Orleans – 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Feb. 5 vs. Detroit – 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 7 vs. Boston – 12 p.m. (NBATV)
  • Feb. 8 vs. Cleveland – 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 10 vs. Milwaukee – 8 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Feb. 13 vs. Philadelphia – 3 p.m. (NBATV)
  • Feb. 14 vs. Orlando – 6 p.m.
  • Feb. 16 vs. Brooklyn – 8 p.m. (TNT)
  • Feb. 19 at New Orleans – 6 p.m.
  • Feb. 20 at Memphis – 6 p.m.
  • Feb. 22 vs. Portland – 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 24 vs. Charlotte – 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 26 at Chicago – 6 p.m.
  • Feb. 28 at Minnesota – 6 p.m.
  • March 2 at Los Angeles Lakers – 8 p.m. (TNT)

The second half of the Suns 72-game schedule will be released later this spring, allowing for maximum flexibility with how the COVID pandemic is progressing.