The Rundown: Suns become 1st team to clinch playoff spot

Published March 10, 2022, 2:45 PMMiguel Flores

The Phoenix Suns were the first team in the league to clinch a spot in the playoffs after beating the Heat Thursday (PHT).


Celtics 115, Hornets 101

Bulls 114, Pistons 108

Suns 111, Heat 90

Bucks 124, Hawks 115

Rockets 139, Lakers 130

Timberwolves 132, Thunder 102

Magic 108, Pelicans 102

Raptors 119, Spurs 104

Jazz 123, Trail Blazers 85

Nuggets 106, Kings 100

Clippers 115, Wizards 109

What went down

The Phoenix Suns became the first team to clinch a playoff spot earlier today. Though that seems like a novelty achievement for a team well over .500 and with championship aspirations, the Suns earned plenty of credit for whipping the East-leading Miami Heat on the road.

More good news for the Suns: Devin Booker returned earlier than scheduled. Booker, who had missed Phoenix’s last three games due to health and safety protocols, dropped 23 points on 7-for-12 shooting with nine assists and eight boards.

Phoenix is running away with the top overall seed for the playoffs with a 53-13 record, 8.5 games ahead of second-placed Memphis.

Miami faces more adversity in its campaign to stay atop the East. The Milwaukee Bucks, winners today versus the Atlanta Hawks, moved within two games of Miami. The Boston Celtics, who dropped the Charlotte Hornets in their matchup today, got to within 4.5 games of the Heat. Add the Philadelphia 76ers (2.5 games behind Miami) and the Chicago Bulls (3.5 games behind Miami) to the mix and you get one of the most exciting races to close a season in recent history.

Big-time baller

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum split the honor today.

The Greek Freak was unstoppable against the Hawks, going for 43 points on 15-for-22 shooting with 12 rebounds and five assists.

Fresh from a 54-point masterpiece against the Brooklyn Nets, Tatum followed with a 44-point encore today against the Hornets.

Malik Beasley also deserves some love. He sank 11 of his 17 3-point attempts for 33 points and broke the Minnesota Timberwolves’ record for 3s in a game.

What he said

The Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles continued today after losing to the Western Conference-worst Houston Rockets in overtime. RIP BOZO messiah and Lakers great James Worthy had this to say about the worsening condition in Los Angeles.

The good news for us Pinoys: Jalen Green broke out. The second overall pick dropped a career-high 32 points, including Houston’s first seven points in overtime.

Did you see that?

Eric Gordon had LeBron James spinning with the pass-fake.