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AP: 6b0bc4a2-7309-42ec-afb5-78bde719ab62
Phoenix Suns' Miles Plumlee (22) dunks as he powers past Indiana Pacers' David West (21) and Ian Mahinmi, of France, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, in Phoenix. The Suns defeated the Pacers 124-100. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The 41st game of the Phoenix Suns' 2012-13 season was a 98-94 loss that, in part, led to the team's decision to fire head coach Alvin Gentry.

At the time, the Suns were a dismal 13-28 and heading nowhere.

It was a bad time for the organization, and it was only going to get worse.

Things are different now.

With a 24-17 record at the new season's midway point, the Suns are very much in the playoff race and turning heads on a nightly basis.

"The word I would use, I think, is 'exhilarating,'" Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby told the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday. "I think the season has been exhilarating on every level just in terms of the success we're having, the coaching that we're getting, the excitement in the way we play."

Babby noted that the postgame scene after Wednesday's 124-100 win over the Indiana Pacers was one of excitement and happiness, which is a stark contrast from where things were one year ago.

"It's exciting and I find the whole thing exhilarating, particularly in juxtaposition to where we were a year ago," he said, adding that he'd also use the word "optimism" to describe this season. "There's a sense of optimism surrounding our group now in a way that we haven't had in a year or so. So I think everybody sees that we're making progress."

Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com

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