The journey continues as does the analyzation of the Suns’ season, seven games at a time. Phoenix is now 58% of the way through the regular season and the expectations are continuing to grow.
The Suns currently sit with a 29-13 record and are #2 in the Western Conference. They are a mere 2.0 games out of first. This season has been special and we are not thinking of making the playoffs, we’re thinking of a run to the NBA Finals.
To get there, however, you have to play the games. And one way I have been analyzing those games is splitting this 72-game season into segments. 10 of them. Win the segments, make the playoffs. Easier said than done.
Let’s see how the Suns have done thus far through the first six “periods” of the season:
Outside of Period 2, every segment of the season has produced a winning record. That is the goal: stay above .500 during each portion and good things will happen. For the Suns, great things are happening. Is there area for improvement? Of course. And we will see if James Jones chooses to do anything prior to the trade deadline to move the needle for this team.
Let’s look at how Phoenix did in Period 6 and look towards Period 7 as this magical season keeps providing special moments.
The Last Seven
The All Star break is clearly in the rearview as we are now seven games departed from it. This season is flying by, isn’t it? Period 6 provided a homestand sandwiched by road games.
The results of the last seven with pre-game odds (via FiveThirtyEight.com):
- @ Portland Trail Blazers (W, 127-121) — Suns 61%, Blazers 39%. Suns -3.0 favorites
- Indiana Pacers (L, 122-111) — Pacers 17%, Suns 83%. Suns -9.5 favorites
- Memphis Grizzlies (W, 122-99) — Grizzlies 21%, Suns 82%. Suns -9.5 favorites
- Minnesota Timberwolves (L, 123-119) — Wolves 13%, Suns 87%. Suns -12.0 favorites
- Minnesota Timberwolves (W, 113-101) — Wolves 13%, Suns 87%. Suns -11.5 favorites
- Los Angeles Lakers (W, 111-94) — Lakers 30%, Suns 70%. Suns -5.5 favorites
- @ Miami Heat (W, 110-100) — Suns 50%, Heat 50%. Pick ‘Em
Were there some hiccups? Of course. This is the NBA. Any team can beat you on any night. It took Karl Anthony-Towns and Anthony Edwards doing something historic (two players scoring 40+ points against the Suns) for Minnesota to win that game.
It is how you respond. And Phoenix responded, blowing the Timberwolves out of the arena (kind of...the refs did their best to keep them in the game) and then defeating the Lakers to end their homestand 3-2.
How did the Bright Siders fare in predicting Period 6?
Damn, Bright Siders! Y’all got that telekinesis! 65% of you correctly predicted the Suns record during this stretch. Well done to you and well done to the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are on a 49 win pace.
Be thankful for the last seven. On to the next seven...
The Next Seven
By the time Period 7 is over, the Suns will be 68% of the way through the season with just 23 games to play. The homestretch is in sight. Plenty of road games lie ahead for Phoenix, and Period 7 sees 4 of the seven played in stadiums far from PHX Suns Arena.
The beauty of this team is they excel on the road. Think of the Orlando Bubble. Far from home, secluded together, this team became a movement. They gelled in a way that brought Chris Paul to them. This season they are a league best 14-5 on the road. Their upcoming road games will test their resolve. And they will be better for it.
How does FiveThirtyEight see the next seven playing out?
- @ Orlando Magic — Suns 69%, Magic 31%. Suns -5.0 favorites
- @ Toronto Raptors — Suns 47%, Raptors 53%. Raptors -1.0 favorites
- @ Charlotte Hornets — Suns 66%, Hornets 44%. Suns -4.0 favorites
- Atlanta Hawks — Hawks 30%, Suns 70%. Suns -5.0 favorites
- Chicago Bulls — Bulls 20%, Suns 80%. Suns -8.5 favorites
- Oklahoma City Thunder — Thunder 15%, Suns 85%. Suns -11.0 favorites
- @ Houston Rockets — Suns 77%, Rockets 23%. Suns -7.5 favorites
If their predictions ring true, the Suns will be 35-14 at the end of Period 7, as they believe the Suns will go 6-1. The Suns are playing two teams around the trade deadline (Orlando and Toronto) who potentially will be blowing it up. Their rosters are beleaguered and in need of turnover.
The Hornets are without LaMelo Ball following a fractured wrist, the Hawks (who recently won 9 straight) lacks the depth the Suns do, and the Bulls are sub-.500. OKC and Houston are also hanging out at the bottom of the standings.
The combined record of the competition during Period 7 is 124-174. That is a .416 winning percentage.
Keep it above .500 and good things will happen.
Where will the Suns be after Period 7?
This poll is closed
36-13 (7-0 in Period 7)
35-14 (6-1 in Period 7)
34-15 (5-2 in Period 7)
33-16 (4-3 in Period 7)
32-17 (3-4 in Period 7)
(31-18 (2-5 in Period 7)
30-19 (1-6 in Period 7)
29-20 (0-7 in Period 7)