Suns fans make presence felt in sellout for Game 1 against the Lakers

May 23, 2021, 5:37 PM | Updated: 9:48 pm

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

A sellout crowd of 11,824 helped propel the Phoenix Suns to a Game 1 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2010.

The energy from the crowd was palpable as players and coaches alike mentioned the importance of fan involvement in a season where games were played in empty stadiums early in the year.

“It was a concert,” Suns center Deandre Ayton said after the game.

“The crowd was amazing,” he added. “That was the most intense crowd I’ve ever played in.”

Ayton was able to tap into that energy, finishing the game with 21 points and 16 rebounds.

It was not Chris Paul’s first foray into playoff basketball, but even the veteran point guard was impressed with the passion of the crowd.

“We got out there for warmups and I was like, ‘damn,'” Paul said. “It was the first time it felt like the Phoenix Suns when I used to play against on other teams.”

Head coach Monty Williams also said the crowd’s intensity came as a surprise and played a factor in the team’s success.

“When I came out and saw that many people and heard the noise I was like, ‘holy smokes.’ That was pretty cool,” Williams said.

“It certainly helped us tonight to have our fans as crazy as Suns Nation is, going nuts like that for our guys.”

Suns Nation has a chance to impact Game 2 just as impactfully on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at Phoenix Suns Arena.

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