If the Phoenix Suns are going to complete the once unthinkable and make the playoffs, they shouldn't be counting on help from outside sources.
To date, the team has managed to overcome a great deal of adversity, from losing Eric Bledsoe for 39 games to injury so far to battling through difficult schedule stretches to going without first-round draft pick Alex Len for much of the season.
But they've seemingly hit their stride of late, as evidenced by their play on two east coast road trips which were squeezed into the last 12 days.
Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby knows the deck is stacked against his team, but he's encouraged by recent exploits.
"Before the season, I looked at our schedule and I remember I was taken aback by these two east coast trips back-to-back within a week or 10 days and raised it with the league, but it was too late to do anything about it," he told The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
"And now, here we are having come back from those two trips having won five out of six. That's an extraordinary accomplishment."
Unfortunately for Babby and the Suns, though, the schedule challenges are far from done. Currently a half-game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks for the eighth seed in the Western Conference, the Suns close the season by playing five of their last seven games on the road, including trips to Portland, San Antonio and Dallas.
"The schedule in April is challenging to say the least," Babby said Thursday. "But the good news is we play the teams that we have to beat out."
When the calendar changes over, the Suns find themselves playing the Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and seventh-place Memphis Grizzlies in their final three home games. And two of their final four games are in a back-to-back road set against the conference-best San Antonio Spurs and the Mavericks, who are currently in the midst of a long stay at home.
"While we're traveling around the world, Dallas has a historic eight-game homestand," Babby commented of the NBA scheduling.
"That's just the way it goes. You can't complain about it; you've just got to keep winning."
The Suns are doing just that -- winning -- amid their current stretch, putting together a season-high five-game winning streak over their recent slate of contests, thanks in part to the play of a healthy, Bledsoe-blessed backcourt.
The injuries, the scheduling and the fortunes of their opponents seem to be pitted against them, but the Suns continue to surprise the onlookers. They'll need to continue that trend, Babby says, if they want to put a bow on the eyebrow-raising season they've put together to date.
"I guess we're not going to get any help," he said.
"We're going to have to do it ourselves."