It may be hard to believe, but the Phoenix Suns only have 22 games remaining this season.
With the All Star break being later than usual, the notion that the half-way point is underway is just no longer true.
And with the Western Conference completely wide open, each one of these final 22 games for the Suns will be absolutely pivotal.
To give you an idea of just how close this conference is, the #4-seeded Clippers, who hold a 33-28 (.541) record, are only three and a half games ahead of the #12-seeded Utah Jazz, who hold a 29-31 (.483) record.
For the Suns, they hold the 5th seed in the West, but are looking ahead to the 6th toughest strength of schedule to finish off the season.
Some notable games include two matchups against the Bucks, two against the Nuggets, two more against the Kings, one against the Mavericks, and one against the Philadelphia 76ers.
This does not include four games against the emerging high-scoring Oklahoma City Thunder, along with two against the new and improved Los Angeles Lakers.
Yes, the Suns should have Kevin Durant added to their lineup for the remainder of the season, but it is unlikely that Phoenix will be able to have their core four out on the court every night.
As the Suns know better than pretty much anyone, your regular-season record does not matter if you are too burned out for the playoffs.
It will be a challenging task for Monty Williams to find an equilibrium between not playing his starters too much and not slipping too far behind in the Western Conference.
The roughest and most important part of the season is approaching, and it is time to see whether this Suns team is who they say they are.
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