On social media sites, Thursdays have turned into Throwback Thursdays. People post old pictures on their Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts every Thursday to showcase a special moment from the past. ValleyoftheSuns has decided to join the craze and bring Suns fans some of the most memorable moments, good or bad, in the team’s history. This week, we go not too far back to recount one of the few bright spots from a year ago.
Date: Feb. 27, 2011
Place: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Set-up: Hanging on for their postseason lives, the Phoenix Suns began the day a game-and-a-half back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. Overall, February was a rather kind month to Steve Nash, Grant Hill and the rest of the Suns’ squad. Heading into its non-conference clash with the Indiana Pacers, Phoenix had won two in a row and seven of its first 10 games to begin the month.
And, the Sunday afternoon seemed to play right into the Suns’ hands — at least for the first three-plus quarters.
Steve Nash recorded his usual double-double (10 points and 12 assists) and Grant Hill scored a season-high 34 points, but following a pair of Marcin Gortat buckets with a little over five minutes to play, Phoenix went cold as ice.
Taking advantage of nine straight empty possessions by the Suns, the Pacers reeled off a 9-0 run to take a 99-96 lead with 1:02 remaining. Hill responded, tying the game up with 43 seconds remaining on a three-point shot, and the back-and-forth affair would be settled in overtime after both Jeff Foster and Danny Granger failed to convert on game-winning jump shot opportunities in the waning moments.
In overtime, Hill scored the first seven points, but the lead would be short-lived for Phoenix.
The Pacers would go on to score nine of the extra session’s next 11 points, capped off by Josh McRoberts’ game-tying, three-point play with 23 seconds to go. On the play, Channing Frye was whistled for the costly personal foul, but the former Arizona standout would get the last laugh.
The Shot: After calling a timeout following McRoberts’ And-1 conversion, the Suns whittled down the game clock to under four seconds. Unable to get a quality look, head coach Alvin Gentry decided to use the team’s final 20-second timeout — a move that would prove both wise and fruitful.
On the ensuing possession, Hill inbounded the ball to Nash from the far baseline. The two-time MVP caught the pass a few feet above the top of the key and quickly swung the ball over to Frye, who was standing free-throw line extended on the other side of the arc.
In one fluid movement, Frye pump-faked to get Granger up in the air and then fired away as time expired. The 23-foot jumper hit nothing but net, giving the Suns an exhilarating 110-108 overtime victory over the Pacers.
Aftermath: Directly following the Suns’ two-point win in Indianapolis, Frye played the hero again, nailing a three-point shot with 6.6 seconds to play in an overtime victory against the New Jersey Nets. But the late-game heroics would be few and far between for Phoenix after its pair of instant road classics.
The Suns dropped nine of 14 games in the month of March and in the process saw their playoff hopes fall by the wayside. Phoenix finished the 2010-11 campaign with a record of 40-42, good for No. 10 in the Western Conference.