The 5: Phoenix Suns’ best moments of the 2021-22 season
The Phoenix Suns fell short of their ultimate goal of winning a championship with a Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs on Sunday.
While the loss certainly stings, Phoenix broke the franchise record for wins in a season, posted the best record in the NBA, set a new franchise win streak and picked up a handful of accolades along the way.
Let’s take a look at some of the Suns’ best moments from this historic 2021-22 season:
Suns win franchise-record 18th straight game – Dec. 2, 2021
This was a game against the Detroit Pistons that saw Devin Booker absent from the court due to a hamstring injury.
Phoenix was coming off a contest where they rallied from behind to beat the Golden State Warriors after Booker was injured.
Without the superstar guard, the entire Suns team picked up the slack with Cameron Payne and Cam Johnson adding 19 points each. Mikal Bridges (18), Deandre Ayton (17) and Landry Shamet (14) combined for 49 points.
The all-around team effort and 41 minutes from NBA Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Bridges secured the 114-103 victory at home.
This broke the Steve Nash-led 2006-07 team’s mark of 17 straight wins.
Cam Johnson’s buzzer-beater vs. New York Knicks – March 4, 2022
Guard Devin Booker was once again sidelined due to an injury but Johnson stepped up in a massive way.
The Suns forward had an altercation with Knicks big man Julius Randle earlier in the contest, but it seemed to light a fire.
After taking a few elbows and knees from Randle in the third quarter, Johnson scored 21 fourth-quarter points.
Johnson added a career-high 38 points and dropped in a long-range buzzer-beater to secure the win.
Here is Al McCoy calling Cam Johnson's buzzer-beater 3 to walk it off for the Suns! #ValleyProud
— 98.7 Arizona Sports (@AZSports) March 5, 2022
Johnson battled through injury this game as he missed extended time immediately following the contest with a thigh contusion.
Suns eliminate Lakers from playoff contention for franchise-record 63rd win – April 5, 2022
This game was spectacular for Suns fans on many different levels. Obviously, beating a rival in any fashion is a sweet moment.
How about clinching your franchise’s best-ever season against the rival you eliminated in a heated playoffs matchup just a year prior?
Although, the icing on the cake came after the 121-110 win over the Lakers as the Suns eliminated the once NBA title favorites from playoff contention with three games remaining.
The team went on to win 64 games on the season.
Devin Booker gifts autographed jersey to Al McCoy – April 5, 2022
The Suns clinching the franchise record for regular-season wins meant a lot for Valley fans that have been following the team from the beginning.
Few have been tuned into Phoenix Suns basketball quite like legendary play-by-play voice Al McCoy.
After clinching win No. 63 while eliminating the Lakers from playoff contention, Phoenix’s No. 1, Devin Booker, paid his respects to the Suns’ legend.
He shared his thoughts with McCoy following the win.
“50th season baby, franchise record. Love you, man,” Booker said. “Appreciate you for real.”
Although McCoy has seen every legend in Suns history, Booker’s gesture went above and beyond.
“It’s kind of personal but it’s a moment I will never forget,” McCoy told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta in April. “He’s such a terrific guy.
“We talk about him as a special player but we don’t want to forget about a special person that Devin Booker is: What he does for the community, what he does for the unfortunate, for children, and for him to do that last night for me, to give me his jersey with the record-breaking win, it’s just a moment I’ll never forget, no question about it.”
Paul’s 14-of-14 playoff game performance – April 28, 2022
Guard Chris Paul did not finish the playoffs the way he or the fans wanted him to, but in Game 6 against the New Orleans Pelicans, he played one of the most perfect playoff games in history.
Paul was electric on the floor, going 14-of-14 from the field for 33 points, eight assists and five rebounds. He was the first player in NBA history to make at least 13 shots in a playoff game without missing.
Phoenix ended up clinching the series 115-109 behind Paul’s historic performance
“This city raised me, man,” Paul told the TNT broadcast after Game 6 in New Orleans.
“I had no clue. I think maybe at halftime I said I might have to shoot a little more. But throughout the game, I was literally managing the game. I wasn’t taking heat checks. I don’t shoot enough to have heat checks.”
Honorable mention: Anything to do with a dinosaur
If you followed this Phoenix team during the season, you know that dinosaurs became a theme very fast.
Booker got distracted by an inflatable dinosaur during a free throw attempt in Toronto against the Raptors in January and the trolling that ensued for the rest of the season was certainly something.
Here are some of the best dinosaur memes of the year:
— Aybs (@zonaaybs) February 8, 2022
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) January 15, 2022
— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) January 15, 2022
Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns introduced in Indianapolis with the Jurassic Park music pic.twitter.com/gqe7cTcUnh
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 15, 2022