The Phoenix Suns are going to need to get their act together soon.

Sure, they’re missing Kevin Durant, but this team has enough talent to compete. Their losses can’t be blamed solely on the freak accident that ended Durant’s injury, because they have the talent to compete without him.

For example, they don’t have any excuses for losing to the Sacramento Kings at home, because they already beat them without Durant a month ago. When the Suns met the Kings in February, they were able to handily beat them 120-109 thanks to an effective midrange game that had the Kings flummoxed.

Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton combined for 78 points in that effort, and it looked like the Kings had no answers for them. However, in their most recent matchup last week, the Kings showed they were more than capable of adjusting and used a combined team effort (where no Sacramento player broke the 20-point mark) to win 128-119.

That defeat to the Kings was the start of their current skid, as they then lost to the Golden State Warriors before being handily beaten by the Milwaukee Bucks. The Warriors and Bucks both beat them by double digits, and that’s concerning because of how tight the race for the Western Conference is.

Durant’s unavailability is hurting a little more for the Suns at the moment as well, because Mikal Bridges, the key piece they gave up to get Durant has been lighting it up for the Brooklyn Nets.

The Suns’ worst enemy at the moment is how tough their remaining schedule is. They only have two games left against lottery teams, and the rest of their opponents will be playing with a ‘must-win’ situation as they’re fighting for playoff seeding and play-in spots.

Here are their remaining games:

  • Orlando Magic
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • LA Lakers
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Utah Jazz
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Denver Nuggets
  • LA Lakers
  • LA Clippers

That’s one hell of a rough ride, and the games against the Magic and Spurs are the only gimmes.

They’ve got four games remaining against divisional rivals that are all rounding into form in the Clippers, Kings and Lakers. Then, there’s games against the Thunder, Jazz and Timberwolves, who are all fighting for play-in spots, plus two more games against the Nuggets – who have already beaten the Suns twice this season. The two games against the Lakers are also coming at a time where Anthony Davis has found his footing again, D’Angelo Russell has already made his return, and LeBron James is hinting on Twitter that his return is imminent. Oh, and you know, somewhere in all of that they’ve also got to face MVP-candidate Joel Embiid and the Sixers.

The margin for error is so small now that they simply cannot afford to lose their game against the Magic. After that, they’re going to have to dig deep to get those hard wins against the thirsty Western Conference teams.

The Suns have the talent available to compete, but where they’ll end up in the standings currently looks like a crapshoot. Tiebreakers are likely going to come into play by the end of the season, and at least they still have a 2-0 lead over the Lakers, 2-1 lead over the Clippers, and 2-1 lead over the Kings. They also won their season series against the Warriors 3-1.

Whether or not that will put pressure on Durant to try to come back earlier than he’d like remains to be seen, but the wide open race for the second to tenth seeds may necessitate it.