Suns Have Mixed History as They Return to Western Conference Semifinals

Suns Have Mixed History as They Return to Western Conference Semifinals
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Phoenix Suns advanced to the Western Conference semifinals for a third consecutive season Tuesday night, thanks to the team’s 136-130 Game 5 win over the L.A. Clippers.

The victory capped off a 4-1 series victory for Phoenix, setting up a meeting against top-seeded Denver in the second round — a much anticipated showdown for Arizona NBA betting.

It will mark the fifth time the Suns and Nuggets have met in the postseason and the second time they’ve done so in the Western Conference semifinals, coming two years after Phoenix swept Denver.

It seems Arizona sports betting operators are siding with the Suns, as Phoenix currently has the second-best championship odds at +400 (behind Boston at +240). The Suns have the best Western Conference title futures at +145.

As for the Suns-Nuggets series, BetMGM Sportsbook Arizona lists Phoenix as a -135 moneyline favorite, while Denver comes in as a +115 underdog.

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Suns Western Conference Semifinal History

  • 1969-70: Lost to Lakers in 7 games 
  • 1975-76: Beat Super Sonics in 6 games  
  • 1978-79: Beat Kings in 5 games 
  • 1979-80: Lost to Lakers in 5 games 
  • 1980-81: Lost to Kings in 7 games 
  • 1981-82: Lost to Lakers in 4 games 
  • 1983-84: Beat Jazz in 6 games 
  • 1988-89: Beat Warriors in 5 games 
  • 1989-90: Beat Lakers in 5 games 
  • 1991-92: Lost to Trail Blazers in 5 games 
  • 1992-93: Beat Spurs in 7 games 
  • 1993-94: Lost to Rockets in 7 games 
  • 1994-95: Lost to Rockets in 7 games 
  • 1999-2000: Lost to Lakers in 5 games 
  • 2004-05: Beat Mavericks in 6 games 
  • 2005-06: Beat Clippers in 7 games 
  • 2006-07: Lost to Spurs in 7 games 
  • 2009-10: Beat Spurs in 4 games 
  • 2020-21: Beat Nuggets in 4 games 
  • 2021-22: Lost to Mavericks in 7 games 
  • Total: 10-10

Suns vs. Nuggets Playoff History

  • 1981-82 (1st round): Won in 3 games 
  • 1982-83 (1st round): Lost in 3 games 
  • 1988-89 (1st round): Won in 3 games 
  • 2020-21 (WC Semis): Won in 4 games 
  • Total: 3-1

Suns Looking to Avenge Last Year’s Flop

It’s been just under a year since the Suns blew a 2-0 series lead against the Dallas Mavericks en route to a seven-game defeat.

Phoenix went  up 3-2 in that series after a 110-80 Game 5 win at home, only to lose the last two games by a combined margin of 60 points.

This year, Phoenix enters the second round as the lower-seeded team, meaning the Suns will need to hold their own in the Mile High City, before returning to the Valley for Games 3, 4 and (if necessary) Game 6.

Each of Phoenix’s last two second-round victories came in four-game romps against the Nuggets in 2021 and Spurs in 2010, though this year’s series against Denver will likely push the team a bit more.

The Suns and Nuggets split their four-game regular season series, with Phoenix winning each of the games when Kevin Durant was in the lineup.

The former league MVP figures to play a key role in this year’s matchup, with Durant averaging 28.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in the Clippers’ series.

If Durant and Devin Booker, who led the team in scoring (37.2 points per game), can stay hot, then the Suns have a good shot at capturing the franchise’s first NBA title in 2023.

Suns-Nuggets 2023 Regular Season Result

  • 128-125 OT loss on Dec. 25 
  • 126-97 loss on Jan. 11 
  • 100-93 win on March 31 
  • 119-115 win on April 6


Christopher Boan is the lead writer at after covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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