When can the Phoenix Suns Clinch the Western Conference Top Seed?

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

A wrist injury to Chris Paul and then a sudden COVID-19 scare for Devin Booker certainly jeopardized it for a few days, but regardless, the Phoenix Suns and their hold on the Western Conference now looks more fortified than ever.

After sweeping the Chicago Bulls out the door and onto the curb last night, the Valley Boys inflated their lead in the West over the second place Memphis Grizzlies to nine games. With only 11 games left on their regular season schedule, it would take a wild turn of events for them to fall out of their top seed positioning.

So in leaving such “madness” for the college game to play with over these next few weeks, one can assume it’s not a matter of if, but when the Suns will clinch the West’s number one seed.

Based on their remaining slate of games, their lead over the Grizzlies, and their lead over the Golden State Warriors—who are technically not out of the race, the Suns can secure the Western Conference’s top spot with three more wins.

Phoenix’s next three opponents include the following:

  • Sacramento Kings
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Denver Nuggets

With exception to the Kings, who quite frankly feel like a layup victory at this point, all their other opponents represent challenging, but still beatable opponents. The Suns are a combined 3-1 against those teams this year.

The top seed is certainly within their reach, with that Denver contest being a potential target game and just five days away.

However, other clinching scenarios still exist. At this point, a Memphis loss will count just as much as a Suns win. So hypothetically, if the Suns were to win their first two games against the Kings and the Timberwolves, while the Grizzlies lost one—they would successfully clinch the top seed. The same goes for Golden State, but on a two-game cushion, as they sit an extra contest back from Phoenix.

Put simply, it does not matter how the Suns get there, but it’s a three game margin that the Suns need to establish to secure this coveted playoff positioning.

While the Grizzlies also have something of a layup in their first game this week, they play an Eastern Conference juggernaught who might end up helping Phoenix by snatching up wins against Memphis. They play the following three opponents next:

  • Houston Rockets
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Indiana Pacers

With it coming on Memphis’s home floor, that Brooklyn game will feature Kyrie Irving—who nobody wants a piece of right now. While considering the likelihood that Memphis will lose that game, Phoenix might be able to clinch the top seed prior to their matchup vs the Nuggets depending on how many wins they can secure on their own end.

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But again, that represents just one of the many ways Phoenix can lock up the top seed in the West. Fans will just need to keep that three game margin in mind, and keep an eye on the other games happening around the league this week.