Phoenix Suns: NBA All-Time Starting Fives

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Phoenix Suns: NBA All-Time Starting Fives

With all due respect to the Utah Jazz, the Phoenix Suns are the NBA franchise that’s had produced the best combination of excitement and success without actually hoisting a championship banner.

The Suns franchise has been in existence for 42 years. After reaching the postseason just once in their first seven seasons, they’ve reached the postseason 28 times in 35 years, including 18 of the past 21.

They’ve advanced past the first round of the playoffs 17 times, have reached the conference finals nine times and have taken part in a pair of outstanding NBA Finals series. The first was in 1976 against Boston Celtics, and in 1993 against Michael Jordan and his two-defending champs.

In 1975-76, after a 42-40 regular season, in just their second trip to the postseason, the Suns advanced to the NBA Finals to face the Boston Celtics team, who were led by Hall of Famers Dave Cowens and John Havlicek.

While the Celtics, would ultimately prevail in six games, Game 5 of the 1976 Finals is widely considered to be the greatest game in NBA history. In the game, the Suns rallied from a 22-point first half deficit, at Boston Garden, to push the game into overtime. In overtime, Havlicek made what seemed like the game-winning shot, but officials determined there was one second remaining. What followed was one of the smartest moves in NBA history. Suns' SG Paul Westphal called a timeout, with the Suns having none remaining. This resulted in a technical free throw for Boston and the ball at half court for Phoenix. With one second left, Gar Heard made a high-arching, turnaround jumper to force a second overtime. The game would ultimately reach a third, during which Glenn McDonald would come off the end of the Celtics’ bench to score six points and help Boston to a 128–126 win.

Nonetheless, there is no shame in losing the greatest game ever by a bucket.

Offensive firepower has not been short supply for the Suns throughout the years, as 23 players have averaged 14+ ppg while playing in 200+ games in a Suns’ uniform, with seven- Charlie Scott, Charles Barkley, Gail Goodrich, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tom Chambers, Paul Westphal, Connie Hawkins and Walter Davis- putting up 20+.

Additionally, Steve Nash, Kevin Johnson, Shawn Marion, Dennis Johnson, Alvan Adams, Larry Nance, Maurice Lucas, Jason Kidd, Michael Finley, Paul Silas, Dan Majerle and Joe Johnson have all starred for the Suns.

Three Hall-of-Famers- Hawkins, DJ and Barkley- have built a significant portion of their resumes in Phoenix. Five years after his retirement, Nash will make this a quartet.

From the Greatest Game Ever, to Walter Davis and Larry Nance, KJ-Chambers, KJ-Barkley, J-Kidd, Nash D’Antoni and “Seven Seconds or Less,” finally to Nash, post-D’Antoni-Marion-Stoudemire, the Suns have managed to consistently win games, put plenty of points on the board and excite fans in the process.

If the “Clipper Curse” began in 1976, in the Valley of the Sun saw the dawn of a 3+ decade run of prosperity at the same time.

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