The Phoenix Suns’ fans put on a show during the team’s Game 1 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.
The players on the team, and much of the NBA world, noticed.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was so impressed with the Suns’ crowd that he talked about it on two different shows on Tuesday.
“Right now I want to talk about all of you, the fans,” Smith said on his Stephen A’s World Show. “Because that crowd last night in Phoenix, salute to you. You’re special. Loud. Into every possession. Passion that came oozing through the screen, willing the Suns to pull away in the second half. And nobody running on the court or throwing things at players, either. None of that stupidity. Just pure energy. Positivity. Excitement. Last night’s Phoenix crowd was the best atmosphere we’ve seen at an NBA game in a year and a half.”
Smith continued: “I’ll tell you what, as good as the Suns are, I’m not so sure they pull that game out last night without their fans. Without the Phoenix crowd pushing them. Don’t forget the Western Conference is wide open this year. Phoenix, Utah, Denver, the Clippers, it’s going to be tight. The slightest advantage could put a team over the top. That means one of those fan bases, one of those home crowds might just be the difference in bring home a championship … Phoenix stand up. Phoenix stand up. You did last night. That’s what a crowd, a home crowd, is supposed to be like. Way to represent y’all.”
Smith also reacted to Phoenix’s fans on ESPN’s First Take, saying he wanted to get out to Phoenix Suns Arena for a game.
“That Phoenix crowd right there, it’s special to watch,” he said. “I’m going to go out there for a game. It’s special to see. They have a true real homecourt advantage and I’m telling you right now I understand COVID is going on and all this other stuff. If other teams that play against them don’t find a way to get their fans in their arenas and they ain’t like that, you ain’t beating Phoenix. I’m telling you right now, that crowd, is the proverbial sixth man and it is special to see. It was a treat to watch this game. You want to be there.”
Suns players also noticed the boost the crowd gave them in the team’s 122-105 victory.
“This crowd is crazy,” point guard Chris Paul said. “It’s crazy to have all the fans in there. The energy, it’s nothing like it. I told the guys this is why we fought so hard in the regular season to get homecourt advantage and I think we truly have that with our fan base.”
“I’m seeing less and less seats,” center Deandre Ayton said. “I don’t even think I saw seats, available seats. That is a great thing. This was the loudest game, to be honest, that I’ve ever played in.”
“The energy was electric and we’re just feeding off it,” wing Mikal Bridges said. “It’s going to make you get hyped.”
“I knew it gets pretty loud in there, but I haven’t heard it quite like that,” wing Torrey Craig said. “I don’t think any of us have. We just feed off that kind of thing. It was definitely good for fans and for us. I haven’t heard it quite get that loud. Hopefully it’s the same way tomorrow.”
“They’re really our sixth man on the court,” power forward Dario Saric said.
Can the Suns fans help propel their team to another victory Wednesday in Game 2?
Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in Phoenix.