Phoenix Suns clinch playoff spot with win over L.A. Clippers


Michael Tipton (Flickr)

The Suns lost Game 5 at home Saturday night

Daniel Moreno, Reporter

On Wednesday night, the Phoenix Suns officially made the playoffs for the first time in over a decade after securing a 109-101 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Not only did the win secure them a spot, but a top-6 playoff spot at that.

The last time the Suns were able to make it to the playoffs in 2010, they were once again led by an all-time great point guard — Steve Nash.

However, their return to the postseason didn’t come easy last night.

The third-seeded Clippers have been one of the hottest teams in the league since the all-star break.  Going into Wednesday’s game, L.A. had won 12 of their last 14 contests – including an April 8 victory over the Suns.

Backup point guard Cameron Payne got the fans at Phoenix Suns Arena roaring with a hot hand in the first quarter.

That heat seemed to transfer to the rest of the team as the Suns finished the first frame shooting a stellar 64% from the field.

“We are not satisfied, we’re not settling,” second-year Suns coach Monty Williams said.

The team seemed to take this ideology to heart as they didn’t relax after their fast start against L.A.

Time and time again the Suns have displayed depth and the ability to fill in for each other when need be.

This time it was power forward Frank Kaminsky who stepped up.  He is filling in for the injured Dario Saric who was backing up Deandre Ayton.

Kaminsky’s timely hot streak Wednesday night kept the Clippers from tying the game going into the half.

Despite the Suns showing depth and teamwork the first two quarters, the second half could only be described as one thing — the Chris Paul show.

Undeterred by being held to only three points in the first half, Paul exploded for 25 after halftime. However, this has been Paul all season — showing up for the team when they need him most and leading by example.

His efforts were not lost on the limited-attendance crowd as they gave Paul a standing ovation, accompanied by chants of “MVP”, during the fourth quarter as the Suns closed out the game.

“He controls the whole game,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said. “He plays at his own pace, he gets guys involved, he knows where everybody is at. That is what a true point guard does and he did it tonight.”