Phoenix Suns 1st NBA team to clinch 2022 playoff berth after win vs. Heat
Mar 9, 2022, 7:51 PM
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Phoenix Suns will return to the playoffs for the second straight season after a 111-90 win over the Miami Heat clinched a postseason berth.
At a record of 53-13 that leads the NBA, the Suns are the first team in the league to seal a postseason fate.
Next up for the Suns is locking in the top spot for the Western Conference.
Phoenix ends Wednesday night’s action with an 8.5-game lead over the Memphis Grizzlies, with the Golden State Warriors a half-game back of Memphis. With the Suns having only 16 games left, the odds are in their favor. Basketball-Reference’s playoff probabilities, percentages based on 10,000 simulations, have the Suns’ chances of holding the No. 1 seed at 99.9%.
The Suns’ playoff berth will be the 31st in the history of the franchise. Phoenix’s all-time playoff mark in its 55-year history is 147-149 (.497), the 10th-best winning percentage in the playoffs among active franchises. The Suns have made the NBA Finals on three separate occasions but have yet to take bring home the top prize.
One of those trips to the last round of the playoffs was last season, Phoenix’s first with future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul. With Paul at the helm under head coach Monty Williams, the Suns went 51-21 and beat the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers to win the Western Conference before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.
With the majority of its rotation returning this season and also young, the Suns have been even better this year. A .806 winning percentage after the victory on Wednesday would be the top winning percentage in the history of the franchise if it were to hold.
The difficulty in maintaining that, though, increased when Paul fractured his right thumb in the last game for the Suns prior to the All-Star break. Paul’s timeline for the injury on Feb. 16 was being re-evaluated in six-to-eight weeks. The NBA playoffs start on April 16.