The Phoenix Suns toiled hard in the regular season, winning 51 games - a tally one shy of the league-best this year.
They did all of that for home-court advantage in the postseason, their first since 2010. And boy, did the near sell-out crowd come up huge in Game 1 of the Conference Semifinals against the Denver Nuggets.
The crowd went berserk in the second half, as their Suns comfortably clinched Game 1 122-105 on the back of a huge 39-12 run including 16 unanswered.
THE VALLEY IS HYPED RIGHT NOW. pic.twitter.com/uFCGb8Hhma- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 8, 2021
The team gave the crowd plenty to cheer about, finishing alley-oops in transitions, knocking down 3s in fastbreak, turning stops into buckets and extending the lead.
Purple Palace is ROCKINNNNN#RallyTheValley- JJ Watt (@JJWatt) June 8, 2021
This Suns crowd is on another level right now- Cassidy Hubbarth (@CassidyHubbarth) June 8, 2021
Postgame, veteran Chris Paul gave the Phoenix crowd a shoutout - "This crowd is crazy, it's crazy to have the fans in there and the energy. There's nothing like it."
"This is why we fought so hard in the regular season to get home court advantage." - @CP3 on the fans energy during the @Suns Game 1 win #ThatsGame #NBAPlayoffs- NBA (@NBA) June 8, 2021
Game 2: Wednesday at 9:30pm/et on TNT pic.twitter.com/DAXaHIZuyV
The excitement of the crowd should come as no surprise as their team are not only in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years but also playing well.
Four Suns scored 20 or more in the win, the first time the team has achieved that in a playoff game since 2006. The team's young center in Deandre Ayton won his matchup with the league MVP favourite Nikola Jokic and they cruised to victory without having to burden their scorer in Devin Booker, who finished with 21 points and eight assists.
They'll have a chance to extend this 1-0 series lead in front of the same crowd again on Thursday for Game 2, which is scheduled to tip-off at 9:30 p.m. ET.
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