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Center of the Sun: Game Over

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

Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns - Game Seven Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks W (110-80) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks L (113-86) Full Recap

Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks L (123-90) Full Recap

It was an historic season for the Suns, a great story but one with what turned out to be a devastatingly sad ending. Until the Dallas series started, many Phoenix fans seemed more focused on which team the Suns might face in the Western Conference Finals rather than the series at hand... and perhaps the players were also doing that to some degree.

There were plenty of great things that happened in this past season but the way it ended presently sours them for me. There are no moral victories this time. The Suns future may still be bright but it’s very hard to even think about that at this moment.

It’s now an earlier than expected offseason for the Suns and they have some big decisions to make. They have no draft picks this year so further team building will have to come through free agency and/or trades. With a little over $129 million already committed just to guaranteed salaries next season (the cap is projected to be $122 mil), the Suns aren’t going to be big players in free agency so that leaves trades as the only real avenue to retool/restructure the roster.

The biggest decision of all will revolve around Deandre Ayton who will be a restricted free agent at 6 pm (ET) on June 30. The smart money may be on him staying with the Suns as they can simply match any offer he gets from another team but, following the epic fail in Game-7 of the Dallas series, the sign-and-trade option could very well be in play.

Will Robert Sarver be willing to pay big money (including the luxury tax) to keep a team together that may have already peaked? CP3 isn’t getting any younger and his performance in the last series tends to make you wonder if it makes any sense to count on him down the stretch anymore. Cam Payne and/or Aaron Holiday aren’t a long-term solution or even a good stop-gap answer so the Suns should start looking for CP3’s replacement now rather than later. This also could likely play into what the Suns do in the coming months.

These questions as well as others will certainly be on the minds of those responsible for team management as I’m sure they don’t want to pay out even more money to keep a team together that for various reasons might possibly not be as good next season.

Unfortunately, we fans will have way too much time to ponder such things before we’ll get any actual answers.


Game Highlights

#4 MAVERICKS at #1 SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | May 10, 2022

Devin Booker (28 PTS) Brought the Firepower in Game 5 Win vs. the Dallas Mavericks

Deandre Ayton 20 PTS 9 REB: All Possessions (2022-05-10)

#1 SUNS at #4 MAVERICKS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | May 12, 2022

#4 MAVERICKS at #1 SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | May 15, 2022


Key Stats

Mavericks 4, Suns 3

What else matters?

Random stats: The Game-7 33-point loss to Dallas is tied for the 5th worst playoff loss in Suns’ history. It still feels like it was the worst though.


Quotes of the Week

“Just that we lost. That’s the biggest thing. And the fashion that we did it in.” - Devin Booker on his biggest disappointment of Game-7

“We didn’t step up enough. I can’t tell you guys how much I wish we could rewind the clock four or five hours.” - Cam Johnson

“I know they didn’t want to play that way. We basically played the worst game of the season tonight.” - Monty Williams

“It sucks that it happened at this point in the season. Shit happens.” - Chris Paul


News & Notes

The Suns Have Questions to Answer Before They Can Rise Again. The Ringer

Monty Williams is thankful for the hardships and triumphs of his NBA journey. Andscape

Inside look at the Suns’ rise: The making of an elite NBA organization. Basketball News

Look Who’s Laughing Now. The Ringer

Coach of the Year Race: Suns’ Monty Williams hits the finish line in front. NBA.com

Chris Paul is worth $135 million, but once had to scrap and hustle for shoes! The Sports Rush

Why Phoenix Suns star Deandre Ayton can’t live without video games. ESPN


This Week in Suns History

On May 16, 1976, The Phoenix Suns defeat the defending NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors, 94-86 in game seven of the Western Conference Finals to earn their first Western Conference championship and their first trip to the NBA Finals to face the Boston Celtics.

On May 16, 2000, the Suns were defeated 87-65 by the LA Lakers in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals and eliminated from the playoffs 4-1. The 65 points scored by the Suns is the franchise record for the lowest point total ever in any game, playoff or regular season. Only one Suns player - reserve player Todd Day - scored in double figures (barely with 10 points). The team made only 28.8% of their shots from the field and none of the starters made more than 27.3% of their shots and were a combined 11 of 52 from the field.

On May 22, 2006, the Suns defeated the LA Clippers 127-107 in the 7th game of the WC Semi-Finals to take the series 4-3. The Suns played only seven players that night with two starters playing over 40 minutes (Shawn Marion 45 mins, Tim Thomas 42 mins) and the rest of the starters playing between 35 and 39 minutes each. The two bench players utilized that night (Leandro Barbosa and James Jones) played a combined 40 minutes. All seven scored in double figures with Marion leading the Suns with 30 points. The leading scorer for the Clippers was Elton Brand (36 points) who played all but 5 seconds of the game.


Suns Trivia

Devin Booker scored 804 points in his first 30 playoff games. He is just one of just 18 players in NBA history with at least 800 points in his first 30 postseason games.

The Suns win’ by 30 points in Game-5 was the 5th time in franchise history that they had won a playoff game by 30+ points. It is their 2nd largest in the Western Conference Semifinals, trailing a 36-point win against the Warriors back in 1989.

In Game-4 against Dallas, it was the first game in Chris Paul’s postseason career he recorded more personal fouls (6) than points (5).


Previewing the Week Ahead

May 17 - NBA Draft Lottery.

May 17-18 - Conference Finals begin


Important Future Dates

June 2 - NBA Finals begin.

June 23 - NBA Draft.

June 30 - Free Agency begins at 6:00 pm ET.

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