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Are the Suns the team to beat after clinching a playoff spot?

Are the Suns the team to beat after clinching a playoff spot?

Are the Suns the team to beat after clinching a playoff spot?

Are the Suns the team to beat after clinching a playoff spot?

After beating the Miami Heat 111-90, the Phoenix Suns clinched a playoff spot. The first team to do it… in March. That is insane as playoff berths typically do not happen in the early days of of March, but the Suns did it.

Picking up their 53rd win of the season allows them to be 8.5 games ahead of the Grizzlies, 9 games ahead of the Warriors, and 11.5 games ahead of the Jazz. Safe to say no one is catching up to Phoenix for the number one seed of the Western Conference.

It is also safe to say that the Suns have been on fire and nothing is going to slow them down; per OddsShark, they are also +450 to win the NBA Title this year, tied with Brooklyn and Golden State. That is the most recent betting line for who is going to win the championship. However, at the beginning of the season, the Suns were not even close to be favorites.

Per FanDuel, the Suns were +1450 to win the championship. Nets, Lakers, Bucks, Warriors, and the Jazz were all ahead of Phoenix. With only 16 games to go that is an incredible turnaround as it goes to show who is the better team in all of this.

But how can that be proven, what makes the Suns the team to beat? If they even are, that will all be broken down right here, right now.

The Suns could be better than the Warriors

People are going to agree, laugh, or just reject this concept that I have put out. However, it may be true. Sure the Warriors have Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, and all those other talented players. But they have been struggling recently with injuries and have gotten in a bad stretch of basketball. The Warriors have slowly been losing their touch.

They have been falling out of the second seed to Memphis, 3-7 in their last 10 games, and they are still trying to figure themselves out. What I mean by “figure themselves out” is that with all these injuries they have fallen and have become disconnected. Honestly, without Draymond to be there for Golden State, they have become discombobulated.

Without Green, this franchise is 16-16 this season. But, going deeper, they are 3-7 in their last ten without him. That includes from 2/27 to 3/7 without winning a single game. When you lose to the Knicks and the Lakers you know you have issues.

Injuries have been a huge factor on why the Warriors have been so bad recently; or, rather, in a bad slump. But how are they worse than the Suns?

How are the Suns edging out the Warriors?

The Suns have been battling injuries too, but they have remained intact. No Chris Paul for the remainder of the season is not a problem for the Suns. Currently, this franchise is 5-3 without Paul. The significance comes when everyone realizes that Cameron Payne has been out and Holiday hasn’t solidified himself yet as of that Chris Paul injury. As of that date, now that Payne is back it has been somewhat more smooth.

But during the games that Cameron Payne has missed, the Suns are 16-5. Also, when Devin Booker was missing games due to injuries and H/S Protocols, Phoenix has been 8-3 without the superstar. So with all that being said about injuries, that is one area where the Suns have completely dominated the Warriors in.

So there is no excuse coming from The Bay as the Suns have had more significant injuries by far that could have ruined the remainder of their season.

Defense – an area where Golden State is pathetic in

The Suns are a more complete team than the Warriors, that can be said without question. Why? Because not only have the Suns built a mindset on offense, but also on defense. The Warriors, even during their worst years, have been all about offense more so than defense.

Everyone on the Suns play defense intensely, smartly, and has almost a passion for it. Curry, Thompson, and different players on that roster do not play defense. Steve Kerr and the Warriors have always set the precedent that if they want to win the game it must come from shooting the ball.

Defense is just not their strong suit, or their speciality. To be real, if a game came down to offense-only I would take Golden State. And vice versa if it was a defense-only contest I would then take Phoenix.

The Warriors just do not have that hunger of playing defense as none of those players know how; not all, as people like Draymond Green are excellent defenders. However, the Warriors are always having high-scoring games.

The last time the Warriors held a team to 80 points it came against the Cavaliers on January 9th. The final score was 96-82, but that Cleveland team was depleted and had no true momentum heading into that game due to all the changes, injuries, and H/S Protocols.

The last time the Suns held a team to 80 points it came against the Wizards on February 5th. The final score was 95-80. Also, take note that the Suns are always blowing out their opponents. The Warriors are either getting blown out or narrowly getting a win. Think about it, defense wins games.

Clutch games – the Suns are unmatchable in that department

The Suns have been deemed clutch by many around the league; doesn’t matter who it is, the Suns have been deemed the most clutch team that we have seen all season. Per NBA Stats, the Suns are ranked number one in the clutch. How about the Warriors… surely with all that talent they must rank very well. The Warriors rank eighth in the clutch.

The Suns record is 27-5 in 32 games, while the Warriors record is 20-14 in 34 games.

The Suns rank number one in:

  • Per 100 Possessions
  • Per Game
  • Per 48 Minutes

That was the traditional setting where the Suns ranked at. Even when putting “teams clutch against opponents” the Suns rank number one. Warriors rank number five. In scoring the Suns rank number one, while the Warriors rank number five.

Those statistics right there prove how the Suns are better than the Warriors in terms of being more clutch. It doesn’t get any better than that. Some people always think that the team with flashier players are going to be the most clutch ones on their team. Just because a team has a collection of players that seem to be clutch on a team doesn’t always turn out to be just that.

That is why for the people that have been sleeping on the Suns are now awaking to the power they possess. As a team, they are tremendous.

Lastly, the Suns are more flexible than the Warriors

Without fail has the Suns been more flexible than the Warriors. With all the changes, injuries, ups-and-downs the Suns have endured proves how flexible Phoenix is. When the Warriors have a roadblock, it causes to stumble and wait for that player to come back. However, for the Suns, they plow right through and don’t look back.

Monty Williams and the coaching staff can do that and recognize those issues to correct the things that need to be corrected. That is why the coaching staff of Phoenix is so superior, along with other attributes and skills, same goes for the players.

It is like having the mentality of “next man up,” it truly is. Phoenix is able to get another guy into a position of success easily to where it benefits everyone and everything around them. The Warriors don’t have that mentality as they never prepare for the worse. One team is able to have the depth awareness to fix these issues, while the other one can’t.

Can that not be a fair assessment of things between these two teams? Being flexible and having the ability to change on a dime is so good and cannot be mastered by all 30 teams of the NBA. Suns have found that and have adapted that perfectly.

Who’s the biggest threat to the Suns?

The biggest threat to the Suns could be the Warriors, but that has been debunked on who is better. However, in the Western Conference it is the Warriors (still), Clippers, and Nuggets. Everyone else is questionable. Questionable teams would be Grizzlies, Lakers, and the Jazz.

Since the Lakers have LeBron, and it is Playoff-Bron, you can never count him out. The Grizzlies have been red-hot as of late and with Ja Morant being who he is, everyone should take them seriously. Because if the NBA ended today and the Grizzlies had to take on the Timberwolves, I take the Grizzlies. That is how good they are.

The Jazz are still interesting with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Okay, fine, that entire team is great as Jordan Clarkson has had our number a few times. Same goes for Mike Conley, their starting point guard.

Is it true the West is getting stronger as the games keep coming?

Yes, from teams 1-10 have made dramatic improvements that are increasing their probability of playoff success. It should scare us, or give us a sense of urgency, as who knows what is going to happen when the playoffs come. The playoffs are another beast that should be taken with great caution. Anything can happen anytime, anywhere.

The West has grown considerably and made teams like Memphis, Denver, Los Angeles (the good team – Clippers), Dallas, and even Utah stronger than ever. That is a very scary sight to behold. So, yes, there is much truth to the West getting stronger as the games keep coming.

In the end, everyone is a threat to the Suns on their path back to the NBA Finals.

Should teams be worried of the Phoenix Suns come the postseason?

One-hundred percent, why? Due to the fact that the Suns have always found a way to win a game, have endless motivation, and the fact that they are that darn good. Teams that even appear to have an edge over the Suns should be nervous, because the Suns are always finding a way past that edge. They have more advantages than disadvantages.

Doesn’t matter if it is injuries, H/S Protocols, or anything like that. For example, all of last year’s postseason series before going up against the Bucks proved that the Suns always found a way to win. They swept the reigning MVP’s team, grooved past the LakeShow (when good) without Chris Paul and other players at full health, and stopped the momentum of the Clippers by going up huge on them.

Plus, take this season, Suns have been completing comebacks. Most recently against the New York Knicks.

Should we be shocked that the Suns have done so well this season + getting the playoff berth first?

No, why? Because they have grown so much in the offseason after making a run to the NBA Finals. They have improved their roster and have found a way to motivate themselves throughout the season on their journey back to the NBA Finals. They have carried momentum since making the playoffs last season.

Truthfully, they are picking up where they left off. However, the only difference is that they have a new game plan and new players. Plus, the Suns were in the top ten of NBA Final Favorites. In the offseason, pre-season, and then heading into the regular season has shown the Suns to be legit.

The signs have been pointing towards the Suns being very good. The only shocking thing here is that the Suns are the first to 40 wins, 50 wins, and the first to clinch a playoff berth. But it was to be expected after having incredible runs in the season, setting records, and just being this fascinating team.

Why is the playoff berth so significant?

The playoff berth cements the Suns as the top team, this makes the Suns undoubtedly the best team in the entire NBA. The whole world can see that by checking the NBA Standings, it is proven and they will remain the number one seed.

The Suns get more publicity, more recognition, and it allows the Suns to be a certified playoff team.

It is just another accolade to the legendary season the Suns are having. This is all being set up to have the Suns prepped for the NBA postseason, and hopefully the NBA Finals.

So now the question has to be asked, “are the Suns the team to beat?”

Are the Suns the team to beat after clinching a playoff spot?

Yes, since clinching this playoff spot it has cemented more fear into the hearts of their opponents. Why? Because now teams have to worry about the first-round of the playoffs and having to face the red-hot Suns. Play-In teams will factor that in, eighth seed team will factor that in, etc.

We have covered this before on if the Suns are the team to beat, and, yes, they are the team to beat. Without fail. Phoenix has been on fire and has beaten out the other 29 teams in the NBA; that is no small task and now teams will have to answer to the Suns if they want to win a championship, or even have the possibility to compete.

There is no team in the NBA that can match to the energy, playing style, or anything else comparable to the Suns. The Suns are in their own world, category, and if you want to have a chance in the postseason then you must have Phoenix out of the postseason.

This is a reality that needs to be learned by all teams: the Suns will not go away easily. Injuries, changes in schedules, H/S Protocols, nothing will stop the Suns as they will make adjustments. They are the team to beat as if the Warriors can’t compare to the Suns, then no one can.

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