The Phoenix Suns are set to embark on their first NBA In-Season Tournament journey, carrying a 12-8 record that places them fourth in the Western Conference. Despite their decent standing, the Suns are determined to raise their game and pursue their ultimate goal of claiming their first-ever championship.
Leading the Suns' charge is head coach Frank Vogel, who brings a wealth of experience and a championship pedigree to the table. Vogel, who guided the Los Angeles Lakers to a title in 2020, will face his former team as the Suns take on the Lakers in the quarterfinals of the 2023-24 NBA In-Season Tournament.
Vogel, known for his defensive prowess, instilled a strong defensive identity during his tenure with the Lakers, earning them a top defensive rating in 2020-21 and a No. 3 ranking in their championship season of 2019-20. After his departure from the Lakers following the 2021-22 season, Vogel was appointed as the Suns' head coach in June, replacing Monty Williams.
Commenting on the Suns' upcoming quarterfinal knockout round, Vogel drew parallels to the single-elimination format of NCAA men's basketball's "March Madness," the Division I tournament.
"You don't really see that in the NBA, because of the seven-game series and nature of that," Vogel remarked. "You get Game 7s, but that's not quite the same. I just think it's an exciting thing for all fans.
"I know that our players and our coaching staff and organization, owner, is really excited about what this is going to look like. These guys, it doesn't matter what they're playing, if they're playing a game of cards, whatever, they're highly, highly competitive individuals. So they want to win whatever competition is in front of them. It'll be exciting to see."
The Suns, eager to showcase their competitive spirit and championship aspirations, are poised for an intense battle against the Lakers in the single-elimination format of the NBA In-Season Tournament. The clash promises to be a thrilling spectacle for fans, with both teams vying for a place in the semifinals.