Suns advance to quarterfinals of NBA In-Season Tournament, to play Lakers

Nov 28, 2023, 8:39 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2023, 11:59 am

The Phoenix Suns clinched the Western Conference’s wild card spot in the NBA’s In-Season Tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals.

A Minnesota Timberwolves 106-103 win over Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday sealed Phoenix’s spot via the point differential tiebreaker, as the Suns finished group play 3-1 with a plus-34 mark.

The Suns will face the Lakers in Los Angeles in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. MST, for a chance to play in the Las Vegas semifinals. Four teams from each conference move to the knockout stage with three group winners and a wild card.

Los Angeles won Phoenix’s group with a 4-0 record and a plus-74 point differential. The Sacramento Kings would have had to beat the Golden State Warriors by 46 points late Tuesday night to swap with Los Angeles and host the Suns.

The Lakers earned a 122-119 win at Footprint Center over the Suns in group play. Phoenix did not have Devin Booker for that game, although Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal both started. The Suns are 0-2 against the Lakers this season so far with two more matchups outside the tournament scheduled.

The Suns ended group play on Friday with a 110-89 win over the Memphis Grizzlies without Durant or Beal in the lineup. They also defeated the Portland Trail Blazers and the Utah Jazz in the group.

It would have been difficult to knock Phoenix out of the wild card spot on Tuesday. The Timberwolves would have had to win by 37 and score at least 148 points or win by 38 or more to catch Phoenix.

The Warriors also entered Tuesday with a chance to advance by winning their group or earning the wild card spot via tiebreakers. Minnesota would have had to win a blowout to make Golden State taking the wild card spot a slight possibility.

Quarterfinal and semifinal games fit within the regular season schedules, while the final would be a Game 83 (does not count for regular season record).

Players on the tournament-winning team will secure $500,000, which is a significant bonus for those on minimum contracts.

The Suns still have games against the Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets and Grizzlies before the tournament continues.

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