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How the Phoenix Suns became the hottest team in the NBA

The Suns have won 11 straight games for the first time since the 2006 season.
Credit: AP
Phoenix Suns center JaVale McGee dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

PHOENIX — Anyone who follows Phoenix Suns' center, Javale McGee, on social media knows how many consecutive games he and his teammates have won by now. 

The big man has made a ritual of sharing celebratory Instagram videos from inside the Suns' locker room after each victory.

"Hey, fellas, how much is that? Eleven?" McGee posted on Friday night.

Yes, the Suns (12-3) are currently the hottest team in the NBA after rattling off 11 straight wins. Phoenix is 1.5 games back of the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the league.

The reigning Western Conference champions kept its core from last season together but added some depth in the offseason with the addition of McGee and guard Landry Shamet.

"When you look at a lot of the good teams around the league they have multiple ball handlers that cannot just handle the ball but can shoot it and facilitate it," Suns head coach Monty Williams said Saturday. "In that group, you got four guys that can possibly do that."

Not every win has been pretty during this 11-game streak but every game matters in a stacked Western Conference. 

"We're figuring it out. I'd say some games we're probably not playing well but we're playing great defense and trying to let it lead to our offense," Suns guard Cameron Payne said following Saturday's practice. "We're just playing our culture of basketball and we're doing it together."

"The foundation of our defense is being laid right now and we want to keep growing and getting better transition defense has been off the chart the last few games," Williams said.

The last time the Suns won this many consecutive games was during the 2006 season. Phoenix will look to make it 12 in a row on Sunday when they host the Denver Nuggets (9-7) who have lost their last three contests. The Suns will be looking to avenge their Opening Night loss against Michael Malone's team with their winning streak on the line.

"I think our guys are anxious to play them just because of what happened on Opening Night but I think that's low-hanging fruit if you will," Williams said. "I think we just want to win and we want to keep getting better and we know they're a good team. For them to be in the position they're in without (Jamal) Murray says a lot about Mike and Jokic and their system and how they've been able to just keep going."

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Sunday at Footprint Center. Abdel Nader (right knee) and Frank Kaminsky (right knee) are both out for Phoenix. Nikola Jokic (right wrist) is listed as questionable while Michael Porter Jr. (low back) and Zeke Nnaji (right ankle) are out for Denver.

Follow the conversation with Lina Washington on Twitter: @LWashingtonTV. If you have a sports story idea, e-mail Lina at LWashington@12News.com.

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