Written By: Trevor Lightfoot @TrevorLightfoot
It’s not easy being a Phoenix Suns fan. The franchise has the most wins without a championship and has not even made a Finals appearance in over 20 years, not to mention the fact that the organization already reached an apex in terms of jersey design in the 1990’s – it’s been all downhill ever since. Adding insult to injury, the Phoenix Suns have arguably the most extensive and devastating laundry list of NBA Playoff losses. We have taken it upon ourselves to be a bit masochistic and relive some of those terrible memories. Here are the top 6 most devastating Phoenix Suns playoff losses.
Number 6. Ron Artest and the unfortunate put back layup via terrible Kobe shot
Before Metta World Peace there was Ron Artest, the ultra aggressive player recognized for both his tenacious playing style and failed rap career. In the 2010 Western Conference finals, the Suns title contending years were coming to a close and Artest made sure to lock that door and throw away the key. Here’s how it all went down. With one-minute left the Lakers had the ball and a three-point lead. After an atrocious – I mean atrocious to the point that one has to question Artest’s general understanding of the game of basketball – flurry of ill-advised shots, Artest pulled off a miracle rebound-layup combination that hurled the Lakers into victory.
Number 5. Kobe Bryant and his “of course I made it” playoff buzzer beater
Kobe is one of the greatest NBA players of all time; I don’t think anyone in their right mind can argue that point, even if you despise the guy. But how did this play even happen? The Suns had the game locked up! So many things had to fall into place for Kobe to even get the opportunity to take that final shot. First, Nash had to get trapped and the referee had to call a jump ball instead of a foul. Then the Lakers had to win the tip, which probably wasn’t too difficult given that Nash represented the Suns during the jump ball. Next, the ball had to find its way into the slithery hands of Kobe instead of anyone else on the court. Finally, there had to be just enough time remaining to allow Kobe to find a spot on the court to get a shot off. It all happened so fast. Where am I? Didn’t the Suns have the lead a second ago? Is this a dream?
Number 4. Tim Duncan and the three-point shot heard around the world
Over the course of his career, Tim Duncan has averaged 18% from distance and has made exactly 30 three-pointers. How and why did this shot go in? Is there some conspiracy to keep the Suns from reaching the finals again? Forget about winning a championship, lets just get back to the table and then we can talk about eating.
Number 3. The greatest game ever played.
In game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals the Phoenix Suns came back from a massive deficit against the Boston Celtics. The game was filled with controversial and epic moments: questionable fouls, premature court storming, buzzer beaters, etc. Eventually the Suns would lose in triple-overtime and Boston would go on to win the championship.
Number 2. Robert Horry and the “don’t you dare touch him” hip check
First and foremost, who does this? Seriously though Mr. Horry, you’re a grown man. Do you really need to stoop to the level of jealous pre-teen bully and perform reckless cheap shots against the best player on the court, especially when the game is out of reach? In the words for Jackie Chiles, I am “mortified and stupefied” by what Horry did on this play. Commissioner David Stern managed to somehow add even more salt to the wound by (wrongfully) suspending both Boris Diaw and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Number 1. John “Dream Crusher” Paxson and the “what gives you the right” finals clinching three-pointer
The shot that still haunts the dreams for Suns fans of all generations. Just devastating