Phoenix is guaranteed to start the playoffs in a strong position with a seventh straight win.
Phoenix, the undisputed championship leader, secured to be seeded No. 1 in the West in the playoffs, thanks to its seventh straight victory, obtained Thursday in Denver (140-130), where Devin Booker was sparkling with 49 points scored.
The sun is still shining as brightly as ever for the Suns: they will have the advantage of the floor every turn, even in the final, if they return a year after their failure against Milwaukee.
They again showed strength for the combative Nuggets but who folded in the last quarter (30-19).
Their skill was particularly formidable (60.5%), like Booker (10 passes, 3 interceptions), author of a 16/25 shooting, and unnecessarily sent to free throws (15/17).
He became the 4th youngest player in NBA history to pass the 11,000-point mark after LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant.
“It was a very high-intensity match. We wanted this 60th win of the season, and we got it. It feels good,” he said after the fact.
For the occasion, Chris Paul was back after 15 games of absence due to a fractured thumb and had no difficulty getting back in the bath (17 pts, 13 assists).
On the Denver side (6th), Nikola Jokic did what he could (28 pts, 6 assists, 6 rbds), sinning, however, by clumsiness (8 lost balls).
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies (2nd) made only one bite of the Pacers (133-103), ensuring their direct qualification for the playoffs.
Memphis, which will have to do without its young star Ja Morant, injured in the right knee for at least two weeks, could count on Desmond Bane (30 pts) and four other players between 16 and 20 points.
In the East, Milwaukee regained 2nd place in Philadelphia, disposing of, without trembling, Washington (114-102) its 8th success in ten games.
Without Giannis Antetokounmpo (right knee) or Khris Middleton (left wrist), the defending champions showed a great collective effort. In the wake of Jrue Holiday (24 pts, 8 assists), six players have between 10 and 21 pawns.
The Bucks had a lead of up to 28 in the 3rd quarter, leaving the Wizards (12th) to close the gap in the last, particularly to Kristaps Porzingis (16 pts, 9 rbds).
In 6th place, the last direct qualifier for the playoffs, remains Cleveland, with the same record (41-32) as its executioner of the evening, Toronto winner (117-104) of their fourth confrontation of the season. But it’s because the Cavs won the top three that they’re ahead of the Raptors.
The latter were guided by Pascal Siakam, untenable behind the arc (6/7), and finally the author of 35 points (6 assists). Chris Boucher also contributed off the bench (17 pts, 8 rbds).
The picture of the standings could still change, nine games from the end of the regular season, because Chicago, 5th, sees its mattress shrink (42-31).
Defeated (126-109) in New Orleans, the Bulls are in a negative dynamic since this defeat is the 7th in ten games.
Despite the big performance of Zach LaVine (39 pts), in the absence of DeMar DeRozan (groin), they exploded in the last quarter, won (40-24) by Pelicans led by Devonte Graham (30 pts) and CJ McCollum (25 pts).
The Louisiana franchise is putting the pressure back on LeBron James’ Lakers, chipping them the 10th place in the West, the last synonym of playoffs for the playoffs.
You also have to look back because San Antonio can still mathematically dislodge them.