Last week, the Phoenix Suns clinched a playoff berth with a 111-90 win over the Miami Heat to improve to 53-13.
With their dominant 111-90 win over the Miami Heat, Phoenix became the first team in the NBA to qualify for the playoffs after improving to 53-13. The Suns improved their road record to 25-6, which is tops in the league.
The reigning Western Conference champions have established their dominance by beating the other 29 teams after avenging their loss to Miami back in January. The last time they accomplished that feat was back in 2006-07 when the Suns went 61-21.
Devin Booker returned from a four-game absence to put up 23 points, nine assists and eight rebounds as the leaders of the West toppled the top side in the East.
The Suns, who are 53-13 for the season, have beaten all other 29 teams in the same season for the first time since 2006-07.
“I told the guys it was one of the best defensive performances I’ve ever seen,” said Suns coach Monty Williams after watching his team concede just 35 points in the second half. “I’ve been around for a little bit.”
Phoenix has been one of the more balanced teams in the league this season. The team ranks fifth in total offence (113.7 ppg) and sixth in team defence (106.1 ppg). It also ranked second in field goal percentage (48.1) and first point differential (plus-7.6).
The Suns’ playoff berth will be the 31st in the franchise’s history. Phoenix’s all-time playoff mark in its 55-year history is 147-149 (.497), the 10th-best winning percentage in the playoffs among active franchises. The Suns have made the NBA Finals on three separate occasions but have yet to take bring home the top prize.
One of those trips to the last round of the playoffs was last season, Phoenix’s first with future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul. With Paul at the helm under head coach Monty Williams, the Suns went 51-21 and beat the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers to win the Western Conference before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.
The difficulty in maintaining that, though, increased when Paul fractured his right thumb in the last game for the Suns prior to the All-Star break. Paul’s timeline for the injury on February 16 was being re-evaluated in six-to-eight weeks. The NBA playoffs start on April 16.
The Suns are highly motivated to win this year’s Championship and avenge last year’s loss against the Bucks in the finals.