Last night the Suns completed their historic 2021-22 regular season. As the team prepares for the playoffs with Game 1 of the first round this coming Sunday, let’s take a moment to account for many of the records, firsts and other notes that put into context what a special regular season it was.
FRANCHISE RECORD 64 WINS
The Suns won a franchise record 64 games, surpassing the previous mark of 62 held by the 1992-93 and 2004-05 squads. The 2021-22 Suns are only the 25th team in the 75-year history of the NBA to win at least 64 games in a season.
BEST RECORD IN THE LEAGUE … BY 8 GAMES
The Suns’ 64-18 mark earned the team the number one overall seed throughout the postseason as the league’s best record. This is the third time in franchise history that the Suns have finished with the NBA’s best record, also doing so in 1992-93 and 2004-05.
Not only did the Suns finish with the league’s best record, they finished eight games above the NBA’s second-best record (Memphis at 56-26). The 2021-22 Suns are the first team in 22 years and just the fifth team since the NBA-ABA merger to finish at least eight games up over the league’s second-best record. The list since the merger: 2021-22 Phoenix Suns (8 game lead for league’s best record), 1999-00 Los Angeles Lakers (8), 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (8), 1991-92 Chicago Bulls (10), 1983-84 Boston Celtics (8).
FIRST TEAM EVER TO INCREASE WIN TOTAL BY AT LEAST 13 IN THREE STRAIGHT SEASONS
In 2018-19, the Suns won 19 games. The team jumped to 34 wins in 2019-20 then 51 wins in 2020-21. By winning 64 games in 2021-22, the Suns are the first team in NBA history to increase its win total by at least 13 wins in each of three consecutive seasons. In fact, prior to this season only team had ever increased its total by as many as 10+ wins in each of three straight seasons (Boston from 1970-1973).
FRANCHISE RECORD 32 ROAD WINS
In addition to a franchise record for overall wins, the Suns set a franchise record with 32 road wins this season, surpassing the previous mark of 31 road wins set by the 2004-05 team. By going 32-9, the Suns’ .780 road winning percentage tied for the fifth-best road record in NBA history, trailing only the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors (34-7), 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (31-7), 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (33-8) and 1972-73 Boston Celtics (32-8), and tied with the 1996-97 Miami Heat and 1974-75 Boston Celtics.
BETTER ROAD RECORD THAN ANY OTHER TEAM’S HOME RECORD
The Suns’ 32-9 road record was better than any other team in the league’s home record. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Suns are just the second team in NBA history to finish with a better road record than any other team’s home record along with the 1969-70 New York Knicks.
FRANCHISE RECORD 18-GAME WINNING STREAK
The Suns opened the season 1-3, before going on an 18-game winning streak from Oct. 30 – Dec. 2, the longest streak in franchise history (surpassing the previous record of 17 straight wins from Dec. 29, 2006 – Jan. 28, 2007). The 18-game streak marked just the 17th winning streak of at least 18 games in NBA history.
Within the 18-game winning streak, the Suns completed ‘no-loss November’ by going a perfect 16-0 in the month. It marked both the most wins in a month and the most wins without a loss in a month in franchise history, and ties as the second-most wins in a month without a loss in NBA history, trailing only the Atlanta Hawks' 17-0 record in January of 2015.
The Suns had four separate winning streaks of at least eight games this season, winning 18 straight from Oct. 30 – Dec. 2, 11 straight from Jan. 11 – Feb. 1, eight straight from Feb. 5 – 24 and nine straight from March 13 – 30. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Suns are just the eighth team in NBA history to have four winning streaks of at least eight games in the same season and the first team to do so since the 2007-08 Boston Celtics.
TWO UNBEATEN MONTHS ON ROAD
The Suns finished a perfect 8-0 in road games for both the months of November and January this season. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the Suns are the first team in NBA history with multiple unbeaten months (min. eight games) on the road in the same season.
UNDEFEATED WHEN LEADING AFTER THREE QUARTERS
The Suns went a perfect 47-0 when holding a lead after three quarters this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 47-0 record when leading after three quarters is an NBA record for most wins in a season without a loss when entering the fourth quarter with the lead (previously 43-0 by the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers).
In addition, the Suns were .500 (17-17) in games when trailing after three quarters.
TOP 5 IN OFFENSIVE RATING AND DEFENSIVE RATING
“If you can be a top-five offensive and defensive efficiency team, you got a chance to win big,” Monty Williams said that on March 13 and has expressed a similar sentiment throughout his time as Suns head coach. The Suns achieved that goal in 2021-22, finishing fifth in Offensive Rating (114.2) and third in Defensive Rating (106.8) to post the league’s best Net Rating (+7.5). This marked the first time the Suns have recorded the NBA’s best Net Rating as far back as the NBA Advanced Stats database goes (since 1996-97).
33-9 IN CLUTCH GAMES
The Suns posted a league-best 33-9 record in games to reach clutch time (defined as a game within five points in the final 5:00). The Suns outscored their opponents 379-272 in 130 minutes of clutch time this season, shooting 57.8% from the field and 43.1% from three-point range.
The Suns led the NBA by shooting 48.5% from the field, the franchise’s first time leading the league in field goal percentage since 2009-10.
ALL-STAR COACHING STAFF
By holding the Western Conference’s best record through games played on Feb. 6, the Suns earned the opportunity for Monty Williams and the rest of the Suns’ coaching staff to coach Team LeBron at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland. It marked the fifth time in franchise history that the Suns coaching staff worked the NBA All-Star Game with 2022 joining 1981, 1993, 1995 and 2007.
FRANCHISE RECORD 7 STRAIGHT GAMES SCORING 125+ POINTS
The Suns scored at least 125 points in seven consecutive games spanning March 13 – 24, setting a Suns franchise record by surpassing the previous record of five straight in 1992. The Suns’ seven-game streak marked the longest such streak by any NBA team in nearly 24 years since the Denver Nuggets scored 125-plus points in seven straight games in 1988.