Phoenix Suns’ time in the NBA bubble comes to an end with Portland win
Despite the Phoenix Suns’ 8-0 record in the NBA bubble, their improbable journey came to an end on Thursday.
After beating the Dallas Mavericks 128-102, the Suns needed the Brooklyn Nets to beat the Portland Trail Blazers.
Unfortunately for the Suns, Brooklyn couldn’t get the job done in a 134-133 loss, crushing the Suns’ hopes of a play-in for the playoffs against Memphis.
The Suns even having a chance for the playoffs on the last day of seeding games came as a shock to the NBA, being the last team in the Western Conference standings invited to the bubble with a 26-39 record.
Phoenix needed to leapfrog the Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs to have a chance against No. 8 seed Memphis.
The chances of the Suns actually accomplishing this task was fairly slim, as ESPN’s Kevin Pelton gave the Suns a 0.4% chance using predictive real plus-minus (RPM) to make the play-in round while The Ringer gave them a 1% shot of a play-in round berth.
It could certainly be said the Suns needed a miracle to reach the play-in game, and it nearly happened.
The Suns ended up passing New Orleans, Sacramento and San Antonio.
“Nobody believed we’d come here and go 8-0 and beat the teams we beat,” head coach Monty Williams said after the team’s win against Dallas.
No matter the result between Brooklyn and Portland, Williams told his players they need to build on the success.
“We gotta get to the point where we control it. You understand that? You guys understand that? You want to be the kind of team that controls your own destiny. That’s our next step.”