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The longest road trip of the season lies ahead of Phoenix Suns

The Suns are bringing the Big Three on the road...for quite a long time.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns have quite the road trip ahead of them. It feels like the back side of The Beatles’ iconic Let It Be album, doesn’t it? Before them is a long and winding road, and the door it leads to could determine their final playoff seeding. Or least least give us a better understanding of exactly who and what the 2023-24 version of the team is.

This is the big one, the big East Coast roadie that happens each season. It’s a seven-city stop that begins tomorrow in Dallas and ends on February 4 in our national capital. That’s 12 days until they finish up and fly back into Sky Harbor. The road trip is the longest of the season, as every other road trip is three games or less.

Well, almost every other road trip.

The team does have a five-game stint away from the Footprint Center in late March/early April, which includes two back-to-back games against the San Antonio Spurs. Revenge SZN, anyone?

Focusing on the next seven games, Phoenix has some work to do. They have some stiff competition ahead, although the combined record of their opponents is 137-263 (.457). You can thank the Nets and Wizards for that. Take those two teams out of the fray, and the remaining five teams combine for a 52.3% winning percentage.

Who are they playing? Here is a quick synopsis of the upcoming competition for the Suns.

@ Dallas Mavericks

Oh, Dallas. The road trip begins against a Western Conference foe and it is quite to matchup. It is the second time the two teams will clash this season, with the Mavs taking the Suns to the toolshed on Christmas night. We didn’t even get a present while in the aforementioned shed.

It was very un-merry.

Dallas is struggling at the moment, having lost 4 of their past 6 games. Their most recent loss was at home against the Boston Celtics, which provided us with an interesting Jaylen Brown crossover on Luka.

This could be an opportunity to “kick ‘em while they’re down”. The Mavericks are stumbling right now and it’s a chance for Phoenix to get a win, and more importantly, put some distance between them in the standings. A win means the Suns move two full games ahead of Dallas in the standings. A loss means they have the exact same record, with Dallas holding they tie-breaker as they’ve won both against Phoenix.

The teams will face off one final time in the regular season, doing so on February 22 in Dallas.

@ Indiana Pacers

We know this team well as the Suns just played them this past Sunday, although they were without Tyrese Haliburton. Hali makes that offense go. In the 34 games in which he plays, the team averages 127.4 points scored, 39.1% from three-point range, and 31.2 assists. When he doesn’t? The team averages 116.1 points, 35.0% from deep, and 30.4 assists.

We don’t know if head coach Rick Carlisle will still have Haliburton on injury management by the time they play this Friday, but I assume that he won’t. This is a team fighting for position in the Eastern Conference and they let one get away in the fourth against Phoenix.

@ Orlando Magic

The Suns played the Magic on New Year’s Eve, and at the time Orlando entered with a 19-12 record. The calendar year of 2024 has not been kind to them, as since Phoenix beat them, they’ve gone 4-7.

Orlando is a team that does well against sub-par competition, as they are 11-5 against teams under .500. Above .500? They are 12-16.

One of the questions surrounding the Magic is whether or not they’ll be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. A team that has young electric talent is also void of three-point shooting. They currently attempt 31.3 three-pointers a game (27th) and hit 34.2% (29th). Adding a shooter would benefit them, and who knows? By the time Phoenix plays them on Sunday, they could have pulled the trigger on a deal.

@ Miami Heat

We’ll see a new version of the Heat when the Suns hit South Beach on Monday, as the deal of the day sends Terry Rozier to Miami in exchange for Kyle Lowry and some picks.

You remember Terry Rozier, right? He’s the guy who, when the Suns played the Hornets at home earlier this season, was camping out behind the three-point line and went 8-of-12. He scored a season-high 42 points that night, one off his career-high of 43, and did everything he could to keep the Hornets in what proved to be a 133-119 loss at the hands of the Suns.

So yeah, just like Pascal Siakam, the Suns are playing all of the teams with their new toys.

Currently, the Heat are on a three-game skid, but with the insertion of Rozier to their lineup, that team just got better.

@ Brooklyn Nets

Phoenix is meeting the Twins on their home turf, and hoping to get a little revenge along the way. When the two teams clashed in Phoenix earlier this season, it was the debut of the Big Three. And Brooklyn spoiled the party.

The win over the Suns left the Nets with a 13-10 record. They’re 4-15 since. And people in Brooklyn aren’t happy.

Brooklyn is learning that, despite being an above-average defender and someone who has unlocked his scoring ability, Bridges probably isn’t the number one offensive option on a team. Or maybe even a two. He’s averaging 21.4 points this season and seeing volume on 16.5 FGA, but his splits are 45.2/35.4/84.2.

@ Atlanta Hawks

  • 2023-24 H2H: First meeting
  • Hawks Record: 18-25
  • Net Rating: -2.6 (24th)

The back end of the road trip gets “easier”, although we know any team with the scoring talents of Trae Young is anything but an easy out. Trae is once again putting up the numbers, averaging 26.9 points and 10.8 assists. It isn’t equating to wins, which seems to be a continual conundrum in ATL.

Rumors are swirling around Dejounte Murray, who the Hawks gave up Danilo Gallinari and four first-round picks to the San Antonio Spurs to obtain. His fit next to Young has not worked out the way general manager Landry Fields envisioned, and they are shopping him.

Will he still be in Atlanta when the Suns come to town on Friday, February 2? Time will tell.

The challenge for the Hawks has been their defense or lack thereof. They allow 122.4 points, so when Phoenix rolls in, they need to come in with the mindset to attack.

@ Washington Wizards

Ew. That’s a nasty net rating.

The final leg of the road trip is the easiest game to win...on paper. There is no way that the Suns should lose to a team that allows the most points in the league. They have Jordan Poole chucking up shots and missing his Steph Curry-esque three-pointers — he’s shooting 30.8% from deep this season — and the team is discombobulated in nearly every aspect of the game.

Um, trap game anyone?

This has all the makings of one, doesn’t it? When the Suns played the Wizards earlier in the season, it was eerily similar. It was the last game of a five-game homestand against a team they should beat. The Suns got punked in the first half, trailing 58-49, as they allowed Tyus Jones, Daniel Gafford, and Kyle Kuzma to have their way. The Suns fought back behind the second half efforts of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, but it was too close for comfort.

The Suns can’t let another performance like this occur, especially at the finish line of a roadie. Phoenix is clearly more talented than Washington. On February 4, they need to be more focused as well.


Quite the road trip indeed. It starts with tough competition and ends with what you would hope are easy wins. The sign of a great team, as we know, is the ability to make mincemeat of weaker competition. Sure, it’s much tougher in the modern NBA with the three-pointer. Just look at Phoenix over the past week. In two games they were down 22 and 23 points. They won both.

No one is ever out of it.

Poll

What do you predict the Suns record will be on their seven-game road trip?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    7-0
    (58 votes)
  • 16%
    6-1
    (65 votes)
  • 47%
    5-2
    (191 votes)
  • 18%
    4-3
    (74 votes)
  • 2%
    3-4
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    2-5
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    1-6
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    0-7
    (2 votes)
403 votes total Vote Now

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