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Suns Rise In The West

The Phoenix Suns advance to the NBA Finals with a win over the Clippers. They await the Bucks or Hawks.

2013 Phoenix Suns 3 by Michael Tipton is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Suns Rise In The West

Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

The 2021 callbacks to 1993 roll on. The Phoenix Suns join the Montreal Canadiens in making their first Finals’ appearance since 1993. Whereas the Canadiens were able to knock out Wayne Gretzky and the Kings in 5 games, the Suns ran into a wall named the Chicago Bulls. They lost in 6 games that never really felt like they were the Suns’ to win in the first place. Now they are back and seeking their first ever NBA title. The Suns own the NBA’s seventh-best all-time winning percentage and have the second highest winning percentage of any team to have never won an NBA Championship.

How They Got Here

For the casual fan, it may be shocking to not see Steph Curry or LeBron James repping the West in the NBA Finals. You’d have to go back to 2014 and the San Antonio Spurs for that one. But the Suns’ management capitalized on a great late 2020 showing, and it’s paying off now.

The Suns went 8-0 in last year’s bubble. They narrowly missed out on the NBA playoffs after that fantastic display. In the off season, GM James Jones and the Suns front office set out to work to build off that performance.

In November, they dealt 4 players and a 2022 first round pick to Oklahoma City for veteran point guard Chris Paul. One week later, Phoenix signed free agent Jae Crowder, fresh off an NBA Finals appearance with the Miami Heat, to a 3-year deal.

This led to the Suns finishing second in the West with a 51-21 record. Devin Booker lead the way with 25.6 points per game. Phoenix had the number 2 rated defense in the postseason, and the second highest win percentage in the regular season.

2021 NBA Playoffs

The Suns began their campaign by defeating LeBron James and the Lakers in 6 games. This was followed by a sweep of the Denver Nuggets before they finally closed out the Clippers in six games at the Staples Center Wednesday night. Chris Paul put up a career high 41 point performance against his former team.

It can be said that to this point that the Suns have gone up against teams dealing with injuries to their star players. LeBron was limited in the Lakers series, (playing with a high ankle sprain), while Anthony Davis missed parts of or all of 3 games. The Nuggets were without Jamal Murray for the entire postseason. And the Clippers were missing Kawhi Leonard for their series against the Suns. It remains to be seen what the health of their Eastern Conference opponents might look like. Stars for both teams, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Trae Young, have missed time thus far through 5 games.

What’s Next?

The NBA Finals are the last stop for the Phoenix Suns as they look to win their first NBA title. Still to be determined is their Finals opponent. It will be either the Milwaukee Bucks or the Atlanta Hawks who are deadlocked in a 2-2 series tie, with Game 5 set for Thursday night. One thing that has been determined regarding the NBA Finals – the Suns will have home court advantage. Games 1 and 2 are set to take place in Phoenix Suns Arena.

Christian is husband, father and video editor working in New York City. Originally from the Greater Pittsburgh Area he is a life long fan The Steelers, Penguins and Pirates as well as Professional Wrestling.

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