I’ve seen enough. Call it. It’s official.
Your Phoenix Suns will be participating in the NBA’s 2021 postseason.
That’s making a couple assumptions, of course. The first and most important factor being that there will even be a postseason in ‘21 at all. You can’t take that for granted these days.
But we’re going to assume, because it helps stave off the quarantine madness. The Suns are the hottest bubble basketball team since bubble basketball became a thing five days ago.
And the wins just keep getting better.
You know the best thing about the win against Washington? They should have won the game against Washington and they did win the game against Washington. You can’t expect to beat the Los Angeleses(?) until you beat the Washingtons.
Granted, the Wizards were wounded. We still learned plenty, though. If your Suns with a healthy Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton can’t get past a Washington squad missing their top two scorers, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, then you could be forgiven for letting COVID run its course before you gave a rip about Phoenix basketball.
That’s a joke. My patience ran out way before those two things happened.
If I told you that the Suns and Mavs met in a game in which Kristaps Porzingis went for thirty and Luka Doncic went for FORTY, you’d tell me that Phoenix fell by one of those two numbers. Particularly when Ayton only chips in seven and eight.
BUT, NO. Dallas ran into that Phoenix buzzsaw and paid the price. What in the hell is Cameron Johnson doing scoring 19 and ripping down 12 boards? Now that doesn’t make any damn sense. That’s a career-high in rebounds, and just a bucket off of his top point total. Dare I say it’s his top game in a Suns uni. We should play every game in a bubble!
This was a lot. It may be unfair to expect similar performances with regularity for Cam in the future but allow yourself to raise expectations, nonetheless. Ricky put together a line of 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 dimes. That’s not going to happen every night. That’s not going to happen on most nights. But that’s going to happen on a handful of nights.
Most importantly, though, Devin Booker had exactly the kind of game he should be having
if when this team is going to be successful. He goes 10 of 20 from the field on many nights, and on most those nights he doesn’t get a lot of help. Against Dallas he did. And moving forward he will.
Now, on to the game that clinched it for me that the Suns will be postseason regulars starting in 2021.
Devin Booker was even more Devin Booker than he was against the Mavs.
35 points, 8 assists, and this museum-worthy masterpiece:
Over two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection Paul George, no less. If you look hard enough you can see two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard providing pressure as well.
Let us not forget that this Clippers squad has plenty to play for. They’re presently sitting as the two-seed in the West. They’re not going to reach the top spot, the Lakers have that wrapped up. But Denver is only a game behind the Clips.
The two-seed means you’re likely to play Dallas. The three-seed could mean running into Oklahoma City. I’d rather play Dallas. By a wide margin.
All of which is to say this was a spectacular win for your Suns. Devin Booker continues to transform into the All-NBA First Team selection we all know he’ll become. I stake my entire reputation on that.
And against Los Angeles, more unlikely contributors showed up. Cameron Payne is making the most of his new opportunity, scoring 12 in 20 and posting a +14. He, along with Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges, are all aggressively forcing an Oubre ouster.
It may be too late for this season. Western Conference foes are probably wishing the barrier to entry for the Orlando bubble was five games back and not six. But the Suns are making noise, and there will be more noise Thursday against Indiana. In any event, I believe what my eyes are telling me.
2021 NBA Playoffs.