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Suns clinch top-10 seed in Western Conference

© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns will officially be at least playing in a play-in game, as they clinched a top-10 seed in the Western Conference standings with the Houston Rockets losing today.

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The Suns, who have won two straight are currently in sixth place with a 45-31 record. They moved out of the No. 7 seed (a play-in spot) with a 122-101 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last night.

Phoenix is tied with the New Orleans Pelicans, a game ahead of the Sacramento Kings and a full game back of the Dallas Mavericks. The Los Angeles Lakers are 1.5 games back of Phoenix and the Golden State Warriors three games back.

With six games left for Phoenix, four of them come against teams they are fighting for playoff position with. Here are the final six games for Phoenix:

  • April 5 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (53-23, 1st in West)
  • April 7 vs. New Orleans Pelicans (45-31, 7th in West)
  • April 9 vs. Los Angeles Clippers (48-28, 4th in West)
  • April 10 at Los Angeles Clippers
  • April 12 at Sacramento Kings (44-32, 8th in West)
  • April 14 at Minnesota Timberwolves

For seeding purposes, the Suns only officially own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pelicans of the teams closest to them, while the Mavericks and Lakers have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Suns.

The Suns and Kings series is tied at 2-2 entering that April 12 matchup. The Clippers lead the season series 2-0 over Phoenix with two games remaining between the two.

So, the Suns have a chance to win the tiebreaker over the Kings, but if they win both against LA, it could go very down in the tiebreaker criteria, as the Suns would have a very similar division and conference record if both them and the Clippers finish with the same record.

The tiebreaker basis for two teams with the same record:

If the Suns happen to be tied with three or more teams, this is how it will be decided:

Phoenix still has the hardest remaining schedule in the NBA, according to Tankathon with a strength of schedule of .638. The Lakers (.556) and Kings (.551) are fifth and sixth in most difficult remaining schedules, respectively.

Of the other teams pertinent to Phoenix’s standing, the Clippers (.508) rank 12th in strength of schedule. Golden State (.466) is 21st, New Orleans (.466) is 22nd and Dallas (.450) is 25th.

The Suns control their whole fate now and will for sure be out of the play-in if they win every game at this point, but that is much easier said than done with their schedule. What could be a good or bad thing is that Phoenix can swing its place in the standings a lot every night because of who they play.

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

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