Phoenix Suns clinch No. 1 seed, homecourt for 2022 playoffs

Mar 24, 2022, 8:29 PM
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns talks with Chris Paul #3 and Devin Booker #1 during t...
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns talks with Chris Paul #3 and Devin Booker #1 during the second half of the NBA game against the Charlotte Hornets at Footprint Center on December 19, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns clinched the first seed in the Western Conference — and homecourt advantage for the length of the playoffs — with their 140-130 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.

The Suns (60-14) entered the second night of a back-to-back needing either a victory or a loss by the Grizzlies to seal their hold on the best record league-wide.

Memphis was the only team from either conference still in reach of catching the Suns. It brought a 49-23 record into Wednesday but without All-Star guard Ja Morant stayed alive in the race for the No. 1 seed with a win over the Brooklyn Nets.

With nine games remaining this season, Phoenix can now chase a franchise record for wins in a regular season. The Suns have twice reached 62 wins: in 1992-93 when the Charles Barkley-led squad fell to the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals, and in 2004-05, as Phoenix reached the Western Conference Finals in the first year of the Seven Seconds or Less era.

This year with the No. 1 seed locked in, Phoenix will also await clarity regarding who the team plays in the first round of the playoffs.

As of the standings on Thursday, the Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans are 7-10 in the standings, in order. The four teams will battle it out in the play-in rounds to determine who is the seventh and eighth seeds when the playoffs begin.

Phoenix won’t find out who it is playing until the last two days of the play-in tournament, on either April 14 or 15. The loser of the matchup between the Nos. 7 and 8 teams will play the winner of the Nos. 9 and 10 teams facing off in the Western Conference’s final play-in game to determine the eighth seed and the Suns’ first-round opponent.

The Suns went 51-21 last season in a COVID-19-shortened campaign that saw them earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference behind the Utah Jazz. Phoenix held homecourt advantage in every round of the playoffs as they reached their third-ever Finals and fell in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks.

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