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Suns’ 2nd half schedule includes stretches of playoff-esque competition

Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams calls out from the bench during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The Phoenix Suns revealed the second half of their 2020-21 schedule on Wednesday.

And after a 20-10 start to the campaign, the Suns find themselves as the No. 4 team in the Western Conference and have the sixth-best record in the NBA.

The only teams that can currently boast about having a better record than Phoenix are Utah, Philadelphia, Brooklyn and both the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers.

And although this year’s regular season is scheduled to end in May, Suns fans will get a glimpse of what this Phoenix team will look like in a playoff atmosphere during a couple of stretches in April.

The first will be a back-to-back against the Jazz at home on April 7, followed by a trip to LA to play the Clippers the following night on April 8.

Utah (25-6) is currently the hottest team in the NBA and boasts the league’s best record as the only squad with single-digit losses, while the Clippers (23-10) sit just behind the Jazz with the second-best record in the Association.

Then while on a five-game east coast road trip, the Suns will play the 76ers on April 21 and Nets on April 25, both of which are the first games of back-to-backs.

Earlier in February, Phoenix played host to Philadelphia (21-11) and Brooklyn (21-12) — the two teams atop the Eastern Conference standings. The Suns managed to split the two games, beating the 76ers 120-111 before blowing a 24-point lead in what Jae Crowder called a “disgusting” 128-124 loss to the Nets.

Once that road trip concludes, the team will return to Phoenix to host the Clippers on April 28 and the Jazz on April 30. The Suns split those meetings earlier this season as well with a 106-95 win over the Jazz to end 2020 before losing 112-107 to the Clippers on Jan. 3.

Phoenix also has a couple dates with the Lakers, but those are spread out between March 21 in Phoenix and at the Staples Center on May 9. The Lakers currently have the NBA’s third-best record (22-10) but will be without All-Star forward Anthony Davis for four weeks due to an Achilles injury.

Where the Phoenix Suns will be in the Western Conference standings come playoff time remains to be seen.

However, one thing is for certain: With an almost playoff-like stretch of games against the best teams in the NBA in the last month of the season, Suns fans will get a preview of how this Phoenix team stacks up against postseason competition.

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