For the third time this season, The Phoenix Suns have put together a 6-1 stretch.
The end of the trip known as the regular season is in sight. Following the game on Monday night in Houston, Phoenix has completed 49 total games this season out of 72. We are officially past the two-thirds mark as 68 percent of the regular is in the rear view.
As we have documented the journey of the 2020-21 season though the ‘seven-games-at-a-time’ lens, it is impressive to see how they have performed thus far:
This season carried plenty of expectations following the decisions James Jones made relative to the roster. To this point the Suns have exceeded those expectations. I predicted the team would win 44 games this year. They are currently on a 51 win pace. This team currently has the highest offensive rating in the history of the organization (116.3).
Appreciate what you are seeing as it is a rare run. In their last 33 games the team has posted a 27-6 record. They are 11-3 since the All Star break. They’ve won 6 straight.
The Suns have their second 6-game winning streak of the season.
The last time they did that? The 2007-08 season. pic.twitter.com/zetLY9xTsx
— Suns JAM Session Podcast (@SunsJAM) April 6, 2021
The 2004-05 Suns started the season 29-4 through their first 34 (and 34-4 until losing 6 straight following a Steve Nash injury). That was 16 seasons ago. The 2009-10 Suns went 29-7 to end the season to propel them towards the Western Conference Finals. That was 11 seasons ago. The 1992-93 Suns went 14-0 in December 1992 and put together a 31-6 run. That was 28 years ago.
My point? This doesn’t happen every year.
Through the first 49 games, the Phoenix Suns splits look like this:
- Home: 18-8
- Road: 17-6
- vs. Western Conference: 21-8
- vs. Eastern Conference: 14-6
I say again: appreciate what you are watching. The Suns have won more games in the last 33 than they did in 5 of the last 7 seasons. They have now exceeded last season’s win total.
The Last Seven
The last run of Suns games included 4 on the road, a place in which Phoenix thrives. The combined record of the competition was 124-174 prior to the start of Period 7. That is a .416 winning percentage. These are teams you are supposed to defeat.
The results of the last seven with pre-game odds (via FiveThirtyEight.com):
- @ Orlando Magic (L, 112-111) — Suns 69%, Magic 31%. Suns -5.0 favorites
- @ Toronto Raptors (W, 104-100) — Suns 47%, Raptors 53%. Raptors -1.0 favorites
- @ Charlotte Hornets (W, 101-97) — Suns 66%, Hornets 44%. Suns -4.0 favorites
- Atlanta Hawks (W, 117-110) — Hawks 30%, Suns 70%. Suns -5.0 favorites
- Chicago Bulls (W, 121-116) — Bulls 20%, Suns 80%. Suns -8.5 favorites
- Oklahoma City Thunder (W, 140-103) — Thunder 15%, Suns 85%. Suns -11.0 favorites
- @ Houston Rockets (W, 133-130) — Suns 77%, Rockets 23%. Suns -7.5 favorites
How did the Bright Siders fare in predicting Period 7?
Like a father watching his kid go off to college, I’m proud of you Bright Side Nation. Not one individual votes for 0-7. This is a first thus far this year and a sign that we as a community are growing. We believe in this team and we are not rewarding the trolls who like to be the funny guy in the room casting the one vote just to be “that guy”.
The Next Seven
The next set of games is the final stretch in which the Suns will enjoy the majority of their games at home against inferior competition. After hosting the Spurs at home on April 17, Phoenix will have 16 games left, 12 of which are away from Phoenix Suns Arena.
How does FiveThirtyEight see the next seven playing out?
- vs. Utah Jazz — Jazz 45%, Suns 55%. Suns -1.5 favorites
- @ Los Angeles Clippers — Suns 34%, Clippers 66%. Clippers -4.0 favorites
- vs. Washington Wizards — Wizards 10%, Suns 90%. Suns -13.5 favorites
- vs. Houston Rockets — Rockets 10%, Suns 90%. Suns -13.5 favorites
- vs. Miami Heat — Heat 33%, Suns 67%. Suns -4.5 favorites
- vs. Sacramento Kings — Kings 15%, Suns 85%. Suns -11.0 favorites
- vs. San Antonio Spurs — Spurs 13%, Suns 87%. Suns -11.5 favorites
Do the Suns have yet another 6-1 run in them? If so, it will be their 4th such period this season. The combined record of the competition is 173-176 (.496).
It will be a difficult task seeing the Suns’ first two games are against the best team in the NBA and the third best team in the Western Conference. You take those two team out of the fray and the combined record drops to 102-146 (.411). There is potential to move into first place if they put a solid run together.
The end is in sight. The rotations will tighten. The team will become more and more focused on playoff basketball. This next stretch begins with a litmus test and ends with the Spurs. Plenty can happen.
This is fun.