Suns set franchise record with win No. 63, eliminate Lakers from playoffs
The Phoenix Suns won their 63rd game of the season on Tuesday, a 121-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers to set a new franchise record.
The win also eliminates the Lakers from playoff contention after the San Antonio Spurs beat the Denver Nuggets earlier on Tuesday. The Spurs now have a three-game lead and own the tiebreaker over the Lakers with three games remaining.
Phoenix’s 63rd win tops a mark of 62 set on two different occasions in the organization’s history. The 1992-93 Suns led by league MVP Charles Barkley got there and made the NBA Finals while Steve Nash’s first season in 2004-05 hit that bar as well, and he also won MVP.
The Suns’ rapid rise followed a tumultuous four-year period from 2015-19 in which Phoenix’s highest win total across four seasons was 24. New general manager James Jones and head coach Monty Williams began their first full seasons in charge the following year. That resulted in an immediate turnaround to 34-39 that included the team’s much-documented 8-0 run in the bubble.
Jones traded for point guard Chris Paul the next offseason, an acquisition that elevated the Suns to a playoff team but saw them reach even grander heights to a 51-21 record and the franchise’s third-ever Finals appearance.
Led by All-Stars Paul and Devin Booker, a constantly improving young supporting cast and deep roster, the Suns were even better this season.
Phoenix made up for a 1-3 start by rattling off a franchise-record 18 wins in a row and dominated the regular season from there. Prior to Sunday’s action, the Suns held a 7.5-game lead over the Memphis Grizzlies for the top spot in the NBA, a place the Suns clinched on March 24. The majority of sportsbooks have Phoenix as the favorites to win the NBA championship.
The win also marks the second consecutive season in which the Suns have ended the Lakers’ aspirations of a title after Anthony Davis said last month that Phoenix “got away with one” in reference to last year’s first-round matchup in the Western Conference playoffs.