The NBA's regular-season enters a crucial phase now, with the playoffs just a couple of months away. Most teams look certain to make it into the post-season, but some are still struggling to find their way into the top 10 of their respective Conference standings.
Some of the franchises have already played their most challenging matches of the season. However, others still have an unfavorable couple of months to endure as they are yet to face their toughest opponents concerning the regular NBA season.
On that note, we take a look at the top five teams that have the most difficult fixtures moving forward, per Tankathon.com.
NBA 2020-21: 5 Teams who have the most challenging regular-season schedule remaining
The assessment by Tankathon.com looks at a team's remaining games and calculates the combined winning percentage for all those opponents.
#1 Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets have been one of the most talked-about teams this NBA season for various reasons. It started with the James Harden trade, their surprising six-game winning streak post his departure, and their franchise-record 20-game losing streak, which is also the longest this NBA season for any team.
Since then, they have played eight games but have managed only two wins during that stretch as well. With their season pretty much over, they will be the only team that won't be as concerned with their remaining set of fixtures. The Rockets will now look to rebuild their team for the future.
Their toughest matchups out of the 23 games they are set to play until the end of the regular season are against the Utah Jazz (x2), Phoenix Suns (x2), LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Milwaukee Bucks. The combined winning percentage of all their opponents is .584.
#2 San Antonio Spurs
Unlike the Houston Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs are a side that are aiming to get to the post-season at the moment. But it will be an uphill task for Greg Popovich and his side to get past this regular NBA season schedule, with the rest of the playoff-hopefuls breathing down their necks in the Western Conference.
The Spurs are currently ninth and are more likely to enter the play-in tournament than qualifying for the playoffs directly. The Spurs currently have a win % of .511 with a 24-23 season record.
The chances of it going below .500 are more likely, though, as they are scheduled to face the likes of Utah (twice), Phoenix (thrice), Denver (twice), the 76ers, Nets, Bucks and the Blazers, who are all top-six sides in their Conference standings. The combined winning percentage of all their opponents is .553.
#3 Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers have been remarkable this NBA season, especially considering the injury issues they had to deal with in the first half of the campaign. They are currently sixth in the Western Conference and are brimming with confidence regarding the possibility of qualifying for the playoffs directly.
However, the path to achieving that won't be that easy for them, as they are yet to face the Utah Jazz (twice), Clippers (twice), Nets, Suns, Lakers and the Nuggets, who have a better winning percentage than them.
The combined winning percentage of all the teams they are scheduled to face before the regular NBA season ends is .548.
#4 Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns' successful campaign so far has been one of the biggest surprises this NBA season. They are second in the stacked Western Conference, leaving teams like the LA Clippers and the LA Lakers behind them. Monty Williams' side currently hold the second-best record in the NBA this season at 34-14 and have a win% of .708.
The Suns look certain to make it to the playoffs via direct qualification. However, they would prefer to qualify as a top-two side to have a better chance at making it to the next round in the post-season. It won't be simple, though, as they are yet to face some of the toughest opponents they have faced in the 2020-21 NBA campaign so far.
Out of the 24 games they are scheduled to play moving forward, the Suns will face the Jazz (twice), the 76ers, Nets, Bucks, Clippers, and the Lakers before their regular season ends. The combined winning % of all their opponents (including the ones mentioned above) is .530.
#5 New York Knicks
The New York Knicks are eyeing a playoff berth for the first time since the 2012-13 NBA campaign. They look likely to make it there come the end of the regular season. However, the Knicks would prefer to avoid the play-in tournament and qualify as a top-six side to have better chances of going long in the post-season as well.
The Knicks are positioned sixth in the East with a 25-25 season record. Five teams are vying for the last two spots (fifth and sixth) to achieve direct qualification for the playoffs, though. And with the remaining fixtures for the Knicks, they have an uphill task at their hands.
They will have to face the likes of the Nets, Suns, Lakers, Clippers and the Nuggets before they finish their regular NBA season, which could be a stumbling block in their hopes of avoiding the play-in tournament. The combined winning percentage of all their remaining opponents is .528.
Notable mention: LA Lakers
The strongest teams they have to face are the Jazz (twice), Nets, Clippers, and Suns. The combined winning % of all their opponents is .526.