PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns have officially broken their 10-season NBA playoff drought with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night.
It’s a welcome sight to see for Suns fans who have had little to cheer for outside of the likes of the progression of Devin Booker becoming a young star, and some other fan favorites who have come and gone over the last decade.
The last time the Suns played in a playoff game was 2010 when Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, and Channing Frye were three of the biggest faces of the team.
Every player on that roster has since retired, with the exception of Goran Dragic (Miami), Jared Dudley (Lakers), and Robin Lopez (Washington).
While the playoff berth is exciting to see, this year’s Suns team has bigger goals this season than a first-round exit. The trio of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and DeAndre Ayton has run through the Western Conference this year and the team is right in the mix for the number one seed come playoff time.
Their momentum from going 8-0 in the “NBA Bubble” last season, coupled with the additions of veterans Chris Paul and Jae Crowder, have brought the Suns to a 44-18 record, and sparked national attention as a real contender for a deep run in the playoffs.
The race for the 1-4 seeds in the Western Conference is extremely tight, so every one of the Suns final 10 games in the regular season will be crucial, including a matchup against the Utah Jazz on Friday, who are 1 game ahead of Phoenix for the number 1 seed.
Suns fans from around the Valley - and the country - expressed excitement for a return to the playoffs.
"I actually shed a little tear," said Jimmie Hardy, a Suns fan who lives in Philadelphia. "Even though I know it's not, like, a championship or anything."
Fans in the Valley are looking forward to a big-time playoff atmosphere, after missing out on the postseason for the past decade.
"This is definitely a Suns town when the team is really good," said fan Steven Malina.
Malina said he's been a fan for decades.
"It's not great there's been all these years of losing, the last several years," he said. "But it makes it that much more special in a way when you do have a really great team."
Then there's superfan Patrick Battillo, known as "Mr. Orng," and a regular at Suns games.
"You can just feel the buzz all around the Valley, not just around downtown, with the excitement that this past year has brought with the Phoenix Suns," Battillo said.
Battillo was in attendance to watch the Suns clinch the playoff berth Wednesday night and knows many fans who are ecstatic.
"We were all messaging each other over the past half a day, just with excitement that we are finally back in the playoffs," he said.