Suns have tiebreaker work ahead as they navigate NBA standings

Feb 26, 2024, 12:25 PM

Devin Booker drives against Brandon Ingram...

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns shoots over Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Herbert Jones #5 of the New Orleans Pelicansduring the third quarter of an NBA game at Smoothie King Center on January 19, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

We’re within eyesight of the NBA regular season’s end, and the Phoenix Suns are in the heart of a Western Conference race that is messy beyond the teams who currently would start the first round with homecourt advantage.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder at 40-17 have paced the West so far, with the reigning champion Denver Nuggets (39-19) and superstar-carried Los Angeles Clippers (37-19) right there.

There’s a four-game dropoff in the standings after that. The fifth through 10th seeds, which includes the Suns, are in a block that as of Monday is within four games of one another before a second void in the standings after the last play-in team.

When the All-Star break ended, Phoenix had the toughest remaining schedule on paper. It’s loaded against teams in the playoff picture and also includes key games against teams in its current grouping.

Tiebreaking scenarios could play a hand in playoff seeding — and could determine whether or not a team avoids a play-in spot.

The Suns (34-24) as of Monday are in the sixth seed and have three games remaining against two teams in the No. 5-10 seed playoff tier in the Western Conference: the Sacramento Kings (1), New Orleans Pelicans (2).

They have already wrapped up their respective series against the Dallas Mavericks (lost), Los Angeles Lakers (lost) and Golden State Warriors (won).

Here’s a look at the tiebreaking situations with all the teams in earshot of Phoenix in the standings at this moment.

Phoenix Suns’ standings tiebreakers

No. 5 seed — Sacramento Kings (33-23)

Who has the tiebreaker right now?: Kings

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 2-2 with one game left

Second tiebreaker – Division leader wins tie from team not leading a division: The Clippers lead the Pacific Division over both Phoenix and Sacramento

Third tiebreaker – Division won-lost percentage for teams in the same division: The Kings are 7-6 in the division, while the Suns are 7-8 with three games left. None of those will come until the final week of the regular season with a back-to-back from April 9-10 against the Clippers and then an April 12 date against the Kings.

No. 7 seed — New Orleans Pelicans (34-24)

Who has the tiebreaker right now?: Suns

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 1-0 with two games left (April 1 in New Orleans, April 7 in Phoenix)

No. 8 seed — Dallas Mavericks (33-24)

Who has the tiebreaker right now?: Mavericks — LOCKED

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 1-2 with no games left

No. 9 seed — Los Angeles Lakers (31-28)

Who has the tiebreaker right now?: Lakers — LOCKED

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 2-3 with no games left

No. 10 seed — Golden State Warriors (29-27)

Who has the tiebreaker right now?: Suns — LOCKED

First tiebreaker – Suns’ record vs. them: 3-1 with no games left

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Suns have tiebreaker work ahead as they navigate NBA standings