Monday High 5: Suns Elevate to Best Record in NBA

Matthew JohnsonMay 3, 2021
Share This

With all due respect to the National Football League and the great television product that is the NFL Draft, the biggest story in sports today, yesterday, tomorrow, this week, last week, this month and last month is the Phoenix Suns owning the best record in the entire NBA. It tops our look at the biggest takeaways from the weekend in sports.

Suns knock off Utah for top spot in the West.

The Phoenix Suns took care of business last week with a 109-101 win Wednesday night over the L.A. Clippers to clinch a spot in the playoffs, qualifying for postseason play for the first time since 2009-10Two nights later, the Suns blew out the Utah Jazz 121-100 to claim the top spot in the Western Conference standings and ownership of the best record in the NBA. Devin Booker’s 32 points on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder kept the momentum going, giving the Suns their fourth straight win, with eight games remaining in the regular season. 

Big Takeaway: If not for Tom Brady winning his seventh Super Bowl, the Phoenix Suns would be the biggest sports story of the year, not only here in the Valley but also nationally. There is still time for that to happen (the Suns winning a championship would do it), but until then we should be making a bigger deal out of this team and enjoying every moment they give us. Suns playoff basketball is back. 

Cardinals pick free players, overreactions ensue. 

The Arizona Cardinals drafted inside linebacker Zaven Collins from Tulsa with the 16th overall pick in the NFL Draft Thursday night, followed by the 2nd round selection of small but speedy wide receiver Rondale Moore out of Purdue. Late round picks on Saturday were highlighted by cornerbacks Marco Wilson from Florida and Tay Gowan from Central Florida. Overall, the Cardinals added seven new players from the draft and will bring in several more undrafted guys in the coming days.  

Big Takeaway: The draft gets way too overhyped every year and this one was no different. You won’t get a draft grade or any opinion from us on the Cardinals taking Collins because never in our lives have we ever wanted to watch Tulsa football games. The one thing we do know is that he enters a very good situation with Vance Joseph still in charge of the defense. This is also general manager Steve Keim addressing the defensive side of the ball, something he’s focused on since the Cardinals finished dead last in defense in 2019. Collins will benefit from being around veterans such as linebacker Jordan Hicks and lineman J.J. Watt, but if you listen to his draft day reaction, he already sounds like a seasoned vet. 

Torey Lovullo wins 300th career game as manager. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks took three out of four from the Colorado Rockies this weekend, improving their record to 15-13 on the season. Sunday’s 8-4 victory gave manager Torey Lovullo his 300th career win and a chilly ice bath to go with it. 

Big Takeaway: Lovullo has turned a relatively unknown group of baseball players into a very fun team to watch in 2021. Much like a chef in the kitchen, the manager has to make sense of the ingredients he’s given and Lovullo is making an In-and-Out Burger menu with Taco Bell ingredients. 

MadBum is back! 

D-Backs starter Madison Bumgarner pitched his third straight impressive start Friday, limiting the Rockies to one run in five innings. Over his last three starts, Bumgarner has allowed only two runs over 17 innings pitched. 

Big Takeaway: There’s many variations of this quote, but it sums up the MadBum situation nicely: One is a mistake, twice is a pattern but three is a trend. Bumgarner is trending the right way for the first time in an Arizona uniform. 

Coyotes need a miracle to make the playoffs. 

The Arizona Coyotes have four games remaining in the regular season but sit in fifth place in the division standings, looking up at the St. Louis Blues. Even worse news is the Blues have seven games remaining to play, thus more chances to get points in the standings and hold on to the fourth and final playoff spot.  

Big Takeaway: The Coyotes need to win all four games and hope the Blues lose five of their final seven. It’s unlikely but miracles in hockey have happened before. 

For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.