PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – Askia Booker nailed a step-back 18-foot jumper at the buzzer for the win against the Texas Legends on Thursday night, and as big of a shot as it was at the time, it might prove to be the deciding game if the Suns are to make the playoffs.
Through the first 41 games of the season, the Suns are currently sitting in the Western Conference’s seventh seed with a 20-21 record.
Although they have a losing record, Northern Arizona is right in the heart of the playoff race, trailing the fourth and final postseason spot by just 5.0 games.
The winner of each division automatically makes it into the playoffs, as do the two teams with the next best records in each conference, regardless of division.
There are nine games remaining for the Suns in the regular season, so making up that kind of ground will be some kind of feat, but to say they don’t have a chance would be a mistake. Only eight teams are still in contention to make the postseason in the Western Conference, with Reno, Salt Lake City and Iowa already mathematically eliminated due to the amount of games remaining.
Take a look at what’s next for the Suns, and what each team’s schedule looks like moving forward.
SUNS: March 12 vs. Sioux Falls (26-17), March 15 vs. Fort Wayne (24-17), March 17 at Rio Grande Valley (26-15), March 19 at Rio Grande Valley (26-15), March 23 vs. Texas (21-20), March 25 at Iowa (11-29), March 26 at Sioux Falls (26-17), March 29 vs. Austin (19-22), April 1 at Reno (14-26)
WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS AND REMAINING OPPONENTS
1. Los Angeles D-Fenders (29-13)…8 games remaining…3 home (Texas, Santa Cruz, Salt Lake City)…5 away (Iowa, Iowa, Sioux Falls, Reno, Santa Cruz)
2. Oklahoma City Blue (29-14, 0.5 game back of first)…7 games remaining…4 home (Santa Cruz, Reno, Sioux Falls, Texas)…3 away (Rio Grande Valley, Rio Grande Valley, Austin)
3. Rio Grande Valley Vipers (26-15, 2.5 games back of first)…9 games remaining…7 home (Oklahoma City, Northern Arizona, Northern Arizona, Santa Cruz, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Texas)…2 away (Canton, Iowa)
4. Sioux Falls Skyforce (26-17, 3.5 games back of first)…7 games remaining…4 home (Reno, Los Angeles, Northern Arizona, Iowa)…3 away (Northern Arizona, Oklahoma City, Austin)
5. Santa Cruz Warriors (24-17, 4.5 games back of first, 1.0 game back of the playoffs)…9 games remaining…3 home (Texas, Texas, Los Angeles)…6 away (Iowa, Oklahoma City, Rio Grande Valley, Austin, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City)
6. Texas Legends (21-20, 7.5 games back of first, 4.0 games back of the playoffs)…9 games remaining…1 home (Austin)…8 away (Iowa, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Reno, Los Angeles, Northern Arizona, Rio Grande Valley, Oklahoma City)
7. Northern Arizona (20-21, 8.5 games back of first, 5.0 games back of the playoffs)…9 games left…4 home (Sioux Falls, Fort Wayne, Texas, Austin)…5 away (Rio Grande Valley, Rio Grande Valley, Iowa, Sioux Falls, Reno)
8. Austin Spurs (19-22, 9.5 games back of first, 6.0 games back of the playoffs)…9 games left…3 home (Santa Cruz, Oklahoma City, Sioux Falls)…6 away (Raptors, Windy City, Fort Wayne, Iowa, Texas, Northern Arizona)