Phoenix Suns, a special challenge from the triple against the LA Clippers and a litmus test for his candidacy | NBA.com Argentina

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There is no mystery in the goal of Phoenix Suns coming into this season: return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. A decade of drought with failed projects and endless frustrations that, barring a catastrophe, will come to an end in 2020-2021. But of course, perhaps few thought (at least outsiders) that the Monty Williams outfit could be something more than a simple protagonist of the season.

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If there are moments that can build situations, those of Arizona are going through precisely one that can be vital, that can transform you into a true candidate. Beating the NBA leader as the Utah Jazz is proof of that.. Repeat the next night against another top team like LA Clippers it would be the definitive confirmation. That’s what the Suns will try to do. After the sensational victory against Salt Lake City in supplementary (117-113), it is time to travel to California to measure this Thursday (21 Mexico, 23 Argentina, 4 Spain, NBA League Pass) to those of Ty Lue, current 3rd of the West (34-18). A win by Phoenix (36-14) would put him just one game behind the Jazz (38-13) in the standings..

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But of course, what it would achieve is precisely to send a message to the rest and, above all, it would enhance the confidence in the own options of a team that has taken strong, safe and necessary steps in this construction. Chris Paul and Devin Booker as offensive leaders, a solid defensive structure with several pillars, a deep and profitable rotation, a good combination of experience and youth. The Suns will not only return to the Playoffs, but they have weapons to make noise. And they are preparing, of course.

“We face the game as if it were a Playoffs”, Deandre Ayton acknowledged after the win against Utah. “It was the closest thing to a postseason environment we’ve faced this year. And it was fun.”added Devin Booker, author of 35 points against the Jazz. “To be honest, I approach each game as if it were a Playoffs. For the intensity, the physical game, the refereeing … That reminded me of a Playoff game.”, recognized coach Monty Williams.

The same atmosphere will find the Suns this Thursday against Clippers who are also armed for the big fight. And it will be a new particular challenge from the triple. Utah is the team that scores the most from distance in the season (16.9) and the 4th in percentage of success (39.2%). Phoenix, for its part, is the third that allows the least, both in scored (11.4) and in success (34.4%). That battle of contrasts was left in Arizona on Wednesday: Utah shot a poor 11-44 (25%). Against Los Angeles it will be a similar battle, since the Clippers lead in effectiveness (41.5%) and 5th in conversions (14.3).

Can the Suns defense do their job again against Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and company? A test of enormous weight to finish scoring in the big fight.

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA or its organizations.

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