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Center of the Sun: Suns now look ahead to playoffs after finishing season with franchise best 64-18 record

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

Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers W (121-110) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Clippers L (113-109) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns @ Utah Jazz W (111-105) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns vs Sacramento Kings L (116-109) Full Recap

The season finale wasn’t pretty but with four starters sitting, one playing only token minutes (Mikal) and your primary backup point guard also out with a sore knee in a game that really didn’t matter... what did you expect? The guys on the court did play hard and came close to pulling it out near the end but it just wasn’t enough against a hot shooting Kings team that put them behind early.

The Suns now turn their sights to the playoffs. They have almost a full week to rest up and prepare for their first round series. We don’t know who that will be with yet but I don’t really care who it is. I do have some preferences but none of the potential candidates really worry me. The Suns are good - really good - and they don’t need to worry about which matchup might be the most favorable.

At their best - which is what we’ll be seeing again very soon - very few teams can stay close, let alone win against them.

The Suns’ run back to the Finals begins soon. I can hardly wait!


Game Highlights

LAKERS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | April 5, 2022

Devin Booker scores 33 PTS as Suns notch 63rd win of season, eliminate Lakers from playoffs

SUNS at CLIPPERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | April 6, 2022

Ish Wainright vs Los Angeles Clippers | 6.4.2022

SUNS at JAZZ | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | April 8, 2022

Devin Booker drops 33 PTS in HUGE comeback vs. Jazz

Mikal Bridges (18 PTS) Closed Out Victory Over Utah Jazz

KINGS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | April 10, 2022


Key Stats

132.3 OffRtg (1st), 97.4 DefRtg (1st), +34.9 NetRtg (1st), 33-8 W/L record (1st)

Those are the Suns’ clutch time rating this season. The Suns also have five players in the top-10 in plus/minus numbers in the clutch this season in Chris Paul (+115 - 1st), Mikal Bridges (+107 - 2nd), Devin Booker (+89 - 3rd), Jae Crowder (+90 - 4th) and Deandre Ayton (+74 - 6th).

Random stats: Against the Clippers, Ish Wainright scored a career high 20 points, added 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and was a +36 for the game... all in just a few seconds under 25 minutes.


Quotes of the Week

“I’ve said it since I’ve been here: He (Booker) is more than a scorer. He’s more than an offensive savant – whatever people call him. The young man plays defense. He guards his position every night. He’s one of the best two-way players in the game.” - Monty Williams

“We have one of those teams everybody plays a part. We don’t have to ask anybody to drop 40 or 50 every night or we don’t have to take hero shots to win. We just execute.” - Chris Paul

“We’re playing together. We’re having fun. It’s joy. It’s just joy.” - Ish Wainright


Injury Status Report

Cameron Payne (Knee Soreness) Game Time Decision.

Dario Saric (Knee) Expected to be out until at least June 30.


News & Notes

Stan Van Gundy: Why Suns are a Strong Favorite in the West. Sports Illustrated

Mikal Bridges provides sentiments in his case for the DPOY discussion. TalkBasketball.net

Suns’ Monty Williams Says Devin Booker’s Lack of MVP Hype ‘Kind of Silly’. Bleacher Report

2021-22 NBA Coach of the Year rankings: Suns’ Monty Williams, Grizzlies’ Taylor Jenkins atop list for award. CBS Sports

Stop laughing at the Lakers for two seconds and give the Phoenix Suns a standing ovation. Deadspin

The Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker said early-career advice from Kobe Bryant to limit fast food has helped him stay durable on the court. Insider

A Journey of Joy. Suns.com

10 Things you need to know about Gabriel “Iffe” Lundberg. Suns.com


This Week in Suns History

On April 15, 1989, Phoenix retired the No. 44 jersey of Paul Westphal who averaged 20.6 points, 5.2 assists and 1.6 steals in his six seasons with the Suns. Westphal was one of the Suns’ key players in their “Sunderella Suns” season run to their first NBA Finals appearance in 1976. After retiring from playing in 1984, he turned to coaching and eventually became the team’s head coach for the 1992-93 season. That year he led the team to their 2nd NBA Finals appearance, this time against the Chicago Bulls. In 2019 he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

On April 17, 1989, Suns defeated the Sacramento Kings 140-85 in Phoenix. The 55 point margin of victory is the largest in team history. The Suns jumped out to a 35-17 lead at the end of the 1st quarter which they stretched to 78-38 at halftime. Eddie Johnson led the Suns in scoring with 24 points off the bench and five other Suns scored in double figures. 32 of the Suns’ points were scored at the free throw line where they were 32 of 41.


Suns Trivia

The Suns’ 32-9 road record set a new franchise high for road wins in a season. Their road winning percentage (.780) was also higher than every other team’s home winning percentage, a feat accomplished by only once before in NBA history by the 1969-70 Knicks.

The Suns totaled four winning streaks of at least 8 games this season. This is the eighth time in NBA history a team has done so. The first last team to accomplish it was the 2007-08 Boston Celtics

Including the Suns, four NBA teams have achieved the best regular season records in their respective franchise histories with Chris Paul as their point guard. This season’s Suns (64-17), the 2017-18 Houston Rockets (65-17), the 2013-14 LA Clippers (57-25) and 2007-08 New Orleans Hornets (56-26).

Before 1993, the Suns had never won more than 50+ games during a regular season. Their first ever 50-win season came in 1979 when they finished with a 50-32 record. That team is largely forgotten but was one of the franchise’s best taking the eventual NBA Champions - the Seattle Supersonics - to a full 7 games in the Western Conference Finals before losing Game 7 114-110 in Seattle after taking a 3-2 series lead.

The 48 points that the Suns scored in the 4th quarter against the LA Clippers set a new franchise record for most points scored in a single quarter.


Previewing the Week Ahead

Sunday, April 17 - Phoenix Suns vs ??? (Game Time TBD)

Who will the Suns’ first round opponent be? That will be decided by the Western Conference Playin Games which begin tomorrow. The playin game schedule for the West is below.

Tuesday, April 12 - Clippers @ Timberwolves 6:30 pm AZT (TNT)

Winner earns 7th seed.

Wednesday, April 13 - Spurs @ Pelicans 6:30 pm AZT (ESPN)

Friday, April 15 - Winner of 4/13 Game @ Loser of 4/12 Game TBD (TNT)

Winner earns 8th seed and will be the Suns’ 1st round opponent.

Even though I have no idea who the Suns will play in their 1st playoff game this week, I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb by predicting that they’ll go 1-0.

What’s your prediction?


Important Future Dates

May 2-3 - Conference Semifinals begin (possible move up to April 30/May 1)

May 17 - NBA Draft Lottery.

May 17-18 - Conference Finals begin (possible move up to May 15-16)

June 2 - NBA Finals begin.

June 23 - NBA Draft.

July 7-17 - NBA Summer League (Las Vegas)