PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns are back in the playoffs after an 11-year drought. After a dominating 51-21 record this season, the Suns earned the second seed in the Western Conference.
For the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Suns are taking on the Los Angeles Lakers.
In Game 1, the Suns held their own and came away with an exciting win. After that dramatic and intense Game 1 victory, the Valley is ready to cheer on the team in their quest for the 2021 NBA championship.
But what if you’re new to the Suns' bandwagon? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are five things to know about this year’s Suns squad.
Chris Paul is the facilitator
The Phoenix Suns added point guard Chris Paul last November and his impact on the team has been immense. Paul was an MVP candidate all year long as he led one of the most potent offenses this season. His leadership skills have paid dividends with the young core of players. Everyone will be keeping an eye on Paul in Game 2 to see how he plays after suffering a stinger in Game 1.
Devin Booker is ready for the playoffs
Devin Booker is the main offensive threat for the Suns. He’s a dynamic scorer who can take over games offensively. After spending his career on the outside of the postseason, he is finally in the playoffs and many wondered how he would play. Booker quickly gave us the answer, scoring 34 points; the most points scored by any Suns player in their playoff debut.
Deandre Ayton brings the muscle in the paint
Deandre Ayton is the Suns' starting center and former number one overall pick. This season, Ayton had a breakout year for Phoenix. His presence in the paint is providing an impact on the offensive and defensive side of the court. And after Game 1, it looks like Ayton is continuing his powerful performance. The young center grabbed 16 rebounds, the most by any Suns player in their playoff debut.
Mikal Bridges is an X-Factor
The case can be made for Mikal Bridges to be named the NBA’s Most Improved Player this season. The third-year player made incredible strides, improving his already strong defensive skills and shooting from beyond the arch. He even earned the 2021 Majerle Hustle Award. Bridges is often asked to defend the opposing team’s best players and his play this year is a big reason for the team’s success.
The bench this season is deep
You can’t talk about the Suns team without mentioning the amazing effort from the bench. Players like point guard Cam Payne, forward Cam Johnson and forward Torrey Craig contributed some great minutes this year and gave incredible effort when the starters took a rest. Opposing teams couldn’t let down their guard with this group. The depth and ability of the Suns' bench will be a big asset for the team in the playoffs.
So now you’re primed and ready to go to cheer on Phoenix as they make their way in the NBA playoffs. If you're planning on cheering on the team in-person at the games, the Suns announced Tuesday that they are allowing 16,000 fans into Phoenix Suns Arena starting with their next home game.
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