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Center of the Sun, Part 1: Suns sweep Nuggets, headed to Western Conference Finals!

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Your weekly roundup of Suns news, rumors, notes and videos from the prior week plus a preview of the week to come.

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets - Game Four Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets W (122-105) Game 1 Recap

Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets W (123-98) Game 2 Recap

Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets W (116-102) Game 3 Recap

Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets W (125-118) Game 4 Recap

After years of futility and frustration, the Suns are finally back... with a vengeance. There are still doubters and those that will try to slight their run to and through the playoffs but ignore that. The Suns are a damn good team and deserve to be where they are today.

The series sweep of the Nuggets was fun but also very beneficial for the Suns. They are the first team in either conference to secure a conference finals berth. Let that sink in for a moment. The team that virtually everyone called an underdog in their 1st round series - despite being the number 2 seed - and was not even predicted to make it to the 2nd round was the first team to secure a conference finals berth.

Be happy and be proud but...

Okay, it’s probably fine for the fans to get a little cocky but the Suns can’t afford to because they still have a lot of basketball left to play. Finishing the Nuggets off early means that the Suns will have lots of time to rest and prepare for their next opponent which is great because it isn’t going to get easier. The spotlight gets brighter, the stage gets bigger and maintaining focus and concentration just gets harder as does the competition.

At the moment, who their next opponent will be is still up in the air as the Utah Jazz have a 2-1 lead in their series with the LA Clippers. That series won’t be over until Wednesday at the earliest and could stretch out through Sunday, June 20 if it goes the full 7. Personally, I’d be more than happy to see that one go the full 7 games... although I’m still not certain which team I’d prefer the Suns to face in the WCF.

Whoever it is, it’s likely to be a great WC Finals series.

In the meantime, I think I’m going to have a hard time dealing with a week of no Suns basketball though.


Game Highlights

#3 NUGGETS at #2 SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | June 7, 2021

Mikal Bridges 23 Points/5 Assists Full Highlights (6/7/2021)

Chris Paul 21 Pts 11 Ast Full Game 1 Highlights vs Nuggets

Devin Booker 21 pts 4 rebs 8 asts vs Nuggets 2021 PO G1

Deandre Ayton vs DEN 20 PTS & D 6.07.21

#3 NUGGETS at #2 SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | June 9, 2021

CP3 Dishes 15 DIMES & ZERO Turnovers in Resounding Game 2 Win!

Deandre Ayton Game 2 Highlights vs Denver

#2 SUNS at #3 NUGGETS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | June 11, 2021

Devin Booker Drops 28 Points to Help Suns Take 3-0 Series Lead vs Nuggets

Chris Paul 27 PTS 6 REB 8 AST: All Possessions (2021-06-11)

#2 SUNS at #3 NUGGETS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | June 13, 2021

Chris Paul & Devin Booker Score 71 Points Combined to Sweep the Nuggets in Game 4


Key Stats

Only TWO closeout games, folks. Yes, 81 points in two chances to step on the throat of an opponent to close out the series. Both of them ON THE ROAD.

Killer.

Lest we forget the Suns have TWO closeout killers...

Random stats: In Game 4, Devin Booker and Chris Paul became the first Suns teammates to each score 30+ in a playoff game since Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire in 2005. The 4-0 sweep of the Nuggets was the first playoff sweep in Chris Paul’s career (he had never even enjoyed a 3-0 lead!). The Suns have won 7 straight playoff games by an average of 16.3 points per game — that’s the most consecutive playoff wins in the Suns 54-year (30 playoff run) franchise history.

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com and/or Basketball-Reference.com.


Quotes of the Week

“Other teams just try to be physical with me, try to get me riled up. I don’t know if they know it, but I like that style of play. I like to trash talk. I like all of that because it definitely gets me going.” - Jae Crowder

“You definitely don’t want to be the guy that’s out there not defending. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb.” - Devin Booker

“A lot of people have been saying I haven’t played any meaningful basketball and that I’m not ready for that. This is my time to prove it.” - Devin Booker


Rookie Playoff Report

Jalen Smith - 4.2 mpg, 1.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.3 apg, 0.0 spg, 0.0 bpg, 0.0 TO, 0.7 PF, 100.0 3PT% (1-1)

Ty-Shon Alexander - DNP-CD


Injury Status Report

Abdel Nader - Knee/Expected to be out until at least Jun 22.


News & Notes

Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul could be closing in on that elusive NBA championship. Sir Charles in Charge

The Suns Are Real and They’re Spectacular. The Ringer

Chris Paul is always on (his) time. Basketball News

In Jae Crowder, the Suns Have an Enforcer With Some Flair. The New York Times

Deandre Ayton Has Arrived. FiveThirtyEight

3 biggest reasons a Phoenix Suns title is the NBA’s best case scenario. Clutch Points

NBA playoffs 2021: Chris Paul couldn’t have drawn up a better scenario for the Phoenix Suns. ESPN

Let’s Take A Minute And Appreciate The Masterclass Rebuild Of The Phoenix Suns. Barstool Sports


Previewing the week ahead

REST... lots and lots of REST

No games this week... possibly. The NBA had previously stated that the Conference Finals would begin on Tuesday, June 22 but according to Gerald Bourguet:

And if the Jazz/Clippers series goes the full 7 games the schedule would be:

  • Game 1: June 22
  • Game 2: June 24
  • Game 3: June 26
  • Game 4: June 28
  • Game 5: June 30
  • Game 6: July 2
  • Game 7: July 4

Game times are TBD..

My prediction for this week is LOTS of partying and good times in Phoenix.

What’s your prediction?


Important Future Dates

June 21-27 - NBA Draft Combine.

June 22 - NBA Draft Lottery. Conference Finals begin.

July 8-22 - NBA Finals.

July 29 - NBA Draft.

August 2 - 2021-22 season Free Agency period begins (6 pm ET).

August 6 - Moratorium ends (12:01 p.m. ET). Free agents can officially be signed.

August 8-17 - NBA Summer League 2021 (Las Vegas).

September 28 - Training camps for 2021-22 season open.

October 19 - First day of the 2021-22 regular season.


Poll

Who do you WANT the Suns to face in the WCF?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Utah Jazz
    (208 votes)
  • 25%
    LA Clippers
    (73 votes)
281 votes total Vote Now

COTS2 : Inside the Suns with the Fantable, Suns news, trivia, weekly history, etc. will be published later this week.