Suns News: Phoenix’s Implausibly Historic Play in Clutch Moments Is the No. 1 Reason the Suns Are Favorites to Win the 2022 NBA Championship

Breaking news from Phoenix Suns camp: The NBA’s best team leads the league in nearly every clutch stat.

That’s not necessarily surprising as the Suns are in the midst of the best season in franchise history and have the league’s best record by a mile. What is surprising is how unbelievably dominant Phoenix has been when it matters most.

A deep dive into the numbers shows just how comfortable Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Co. are when the pressure is highest.

The Phoenix Suns came up clutch again in a win over the Golden State Warriors

The overwhelming news that the Phoenix Suns are historically great in the clutch makes them the prohibitive NBA championship favorites.
Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns celebrates with Devin Booker in the third quarter of a game against the Washington Wizards. | G Fiume/Getty Images

Phoenix held on (you’ll sense a theme here) 107-103 to beat the Golden State Warriors on March 30 in a game that had a playoff feel.

The Warriors are trying to round back into form before they attempt another deep playoff run, and Draymond Green had his best game yet after returning from a lengthy injury absence.

But it wasn’t enough for Golden State to beat the Suns in the final few minutes.

With his team trailing by a point, Booker went 2-of-2 from the free-throw line to give Phoenix a one-point lead with 34.2 seconds to play. After getting a stop, Paul nailed a floater for the final dagger.

The Suns entered the fourth quarter ahead by two. They trailed 92-91 with just under five minutes to play. They led 96-93 with three minutes left, and the game was tied at 96 with two minutes left.

“That’s who we are. We are a work team,” Phoenix head coach Monty Williams said of Phoenix’s mentality after the win, per ESPN.

“As I’ve said before, our guys are chasing something. When you’re chasing something, you don’t want to get to whatever you’re chasing and not be ready.”

The defending Western Conference champions have been ready all season. Especially when they need to be.

The Suns are unbelievably, incredibly, irrationally great when it matters most

Clutch situations are defined as when a game is within five points in the final five minutes. The Suns are pretty much lights out in those situations this year.

A stat dump proving why Phoenix is far and away the best team in clutch situations in the NBA this season (it’s an organized stat dump, though):

  • The Suns are 32-6 in games decided by five points or less — the next best team is the Memphis Grizzlies at 20-10
  • They’re shooting 56.7%, 6.1% better than second-place Los Angeles Clippers
  • They’re second in three-point percentage (43.7%)
  • They’re third in assists but tied for first in turnovers
  • They’re a plus-2.8; Memphis is second at plus-1.6
  • They have an offensive rating of 131.3; the Clippers are second at 126.1
  • They’re second in defensive rating at 98.5
  • They have a net rating of 32.8, more than twice that of the Clippers (16.2)
  • They’re second in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.57
  • They’re first in effective field-goal percentage at 64.2%; the Clippers are second at 60.4%
  • They’re first in true shooting percentage at 68.7%; the Clippers are second at 64.6%

So Phoenix is in the top three in 11 different clutch categories, including overall record and net rating — by a ton.

It’s no coincidence the Suns have the best record in the NBA.

That clutch gene is just one reason why the franchise is ready to win its first NBA Championship

Yes, Phoenix is dominant in the clutch. But it’s not the only area in which the Suns dominate:

  • They have a record of 62-14 — 8.5 games ahead of second-best Memphis
  • They’re second in scoring (115.2) with team shooting splits of 49/37/80
  • They’re plus-8.4 overall, ahead of the Boston Celtics, who are plus-6.5
  • They’re second in defensive rating (106.5)
  • They’re third EFG% (55.2) but also second opp EFG% (50.8)

To reiterate the news that’s somehow still flying under the radar: The Phoenix Suns are the best team in the NBA. By a wide margin. And they’re primed to win their first title in franchise history.

All statistics courtesy of NBA.com.

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