2021-22 Suns schedule release: 5 must-see games

Aug 20, 2021, 7:56 PM

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) directs teammates during the first half against the Milwaukee B...

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) directs teammates during the first half against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals in Milwaukee, Wednesday, July 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The official release of the 2021-22 NBA schedule came on Friday, with the Phoenix Suns given a franchise-record 34 nationally televised games.

With plenty of national spotlight on the Suns following their run to the NBA Finals, here are five of the most important games every Suns fan should mark on their calendars in anticipation of the 2021-22 season.

October 20: Suns vs. Nuggets, 7 p.m., ESPN

Phoenix takes the back end of ESPN’s first NBA doubleheader of the season to start the year against the Denver Nuggets, who Phoenix swept in the Western Conference Semifinals. An excited crowd will no doubt be in attendance at the Footprint Center to open the season. Could the “Suns in Four” chants reemerge with the playoff sweep still in mind? Regardless, the atmosphere should be fantastic.

November 27: Suns at Nets, 5:30 p.m., NBA TV

Phoenix gets its first look at the current NBA title favorite Brooklyn Nets to wrap up a four-game road trip that takes the Suns to both Brooklyn and Madison Square Garden in consecutive nights. This game, in particular, will test Phoenix in its ability to play against a NBA Finals-quality opponent on the road in the second game of a back-to-back. If the Suns can keep Brooklyn’s big three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving in check, they’ll give themselves a chance to make a statement to the rest of the NBA that last season wasn’t just a one-year wonder.

December 25: Suns vs. Warriors, 3 p.m., ABC

Fans were given an early present of Suns basketball on Christmas Day for the first time since 2009. That alone will make this matchup intriguing to watch for Suns fans, but it’s only the start. The Golden State Warriors are once again among the favorites to win the Western Conference and the Pacific Division, making this game critical to win if another division championship is in the cards. The guard matchup between Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Chris Paul against Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who has been sidelined the past two years, should be a Christmas treat.

February 10: Suns vs. Bucks, 8 p.m., TNT

The first of two nationally televised games between the participants of the 2021 NBA Finals will commence from Phoenix. Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will almost certainly present a problem in the first meeting between the teams since the Finals. What Phoenix has learned about trying to contain players like him since then could determine whether the Suns are poised for another major playoff run.

March 13: Suns vs Lakers, 5 p.m., ESPN

It will not be the final meeting between the Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers, but this one comes at a pivotal juncture of the season. A win could set off a surge toward the playoffs and a loss will provide a setback in a crowded Pacific Division that also includes the Western Conference Finalist Los Angeles Clippers and the Warriors. Similar to playing against the Nets, playing against the Lakers provides the challenge of containing some of the best in the game in LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. If the Suns can’t do that in the push to the playoffs, plenty of questions will swirl in the final weeks of the regular season.

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