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Phoenix Suns Clinch Top Spot In NBA's Western Conference During Excellent Month Of March

The Phoenix Suns are having as great a regular season as they had last term. They came within two games of winning a championship last year but ultimately gave way to the Milwaukee Bucks.

With another run to the final looking likely, the Suns have clinched the No.1 spot in the Western Conference and have put 61 wins together so far. In their 14 games played in March, they have scored a total of 1717 points, sinking 647 field goals on 51.4 percent shooting. They've also hit 40.8 percent of their attempts from three.

They're now favored to win a championship this year; the bookmakers are offering odds of 10.3 on that front, while fans in Phoenix could take advantage of a First Bet Insurance of up to $1,100 using the promo code: BETAZCZR from Caesars sportsbook Arizona.

Meanwhile, point guard Chris Paul has returned to a squad that performed admirably in his absence. The veteran suffered a broken thumb that had kept him away from playing since the All-Star break but returned to help the Suns clinch the top spot with a 140-130 win over the Denver Nuggets last week.

He was pretty eager to rejoin the team on the floor and made good on the return, scoring 17 points along with 13 rebounds.

"I've been playing pickup, 3-on-3, 2-on-2, but 5-on-5 is totally different, especially when your first game back is in Denver. I mean, whew!" he said, per ESPN.

Devin Booker scored a season-high 49 points, adding 10 assists but those weren't the numbers on his mind, with 60 wins the target for the team on the night.

"Sixty wins is something I never even thought of, to be completely honest," he said.

"We have a special team, it's that simple," Paul added. "But just being back for the warmup stuff, the pregame stuff, you know what I mean? There's nothing like being part of this team. I'm just happy that I could get back."

The Nuggets were on top for most of the game but Phoenix went on a 36-24 run in the fourth quarter to close things out and go 30-6 in road games this season. They've since won another game, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 114-104 on Sunday.

"To beat that team, you have to play almost perfect basketball," Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. "We did it for stretches tonight, but down the stretch they showed why they're the best team in the NBA."

The Suns only lost four of the 15 games they played while Paul was sidelined but getting him back on a night during which they could win that 60th game must have been inspirational.

" don't think one person in our locker room wasn't thinking about 60 wins and what it meant," coach Monty Williams said.

"I think getting Chris back tonight gave us a ton of confidence. And Book having one of the best performances I've seen him have since I've been here. the fact that he's not in the MVP conversation is just somewhat silly.

"When you can will your team to win like that and do it in a fashion that he did tonight, it says a lot about his work ethic and his individual ability."

The MVP chants were rife and effusive as Booker put his offensive arsenal on display. They rang through every time he stepped up to take free throws and the guard would sink 15 of 17 in response.

Booker was asked whether he feels he should be in the MVP conversation following the chants and, while he did agree, he said he wants the team to get the credit it deserves too.

"Yeah," he said.

"People playing with my name man, it's just too much for me. I've been at it for a long time now, and I'm the type to see anything and take it as disrespect. Now that we have the one seed locked up, we've been winning basketball games for two years straight now, this team needs some flowers.

"Coach Monty should have been coach of the year last year -- there's just so much I feel doesn't get talked about in this team. We've done a good job of not worrying about what people say about us, but it needs some recognition."

Williams also revealed he was forced to play Paul for more minutes than he planned to as the guard convinced him he was fine.

"I'm a liar. I said I wasn't going to play him in the 30s. But I was talking to him and he kept letting me know he was fine," the coach said. "And once he gets going you do not want to mess with that rhythm."

"It's special, man," Paul claimed. "It's been 17 years for me and only the second time I've been on a team that won 60 games."