Across the Internet, Thursdays have turned into Throwback Thursdays, where social media users and abusers post old pictures of themselves. ValleyoftheSuns has decided to jump into the Phoenix Suns’ past to remember some of the best, worst and weirdest moments in franchise history.
Date: February 27, 2013
Place: AT&T Center, San Antonio
Set-up: For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we go back to last season. Why you might ask? Because before the present-day incarnation of the Suns take on the San Antonio Spurs Friday in the biggest road game to date, they need not look any further than the hapless 25-57 squad that pulled off an unexpected victory in the River City.
Johnson’s shot: Heading into their third contest of the 2012-13 regular season, the Suns and Spurs looked to be a far cry from the two rival organizations that battled six times in the postseason from 2000-10. By their final matchup of the campaign, Phoenix was limping in 20 games under .500, while San Antonio was gearing up for the postseason having won 18 straight games at home.
After jumping out to an early lead, the Suns could never seem to get control of the game over the next three-plus quarters. The Spurs held double-digit leads on a handful of occasions, but up until the final minutes of the game they were more than content to lead by an arms distance of six, seven or eight points.
But down by seven with a little more than three minutes to play, Jermaine O’Neal and Marcus Morris took over for Phoenix. The duo scored eleven straight points down the stretch to pull the Suns to within four with 11 seconds remaining.
Goran Dragic would whittle that lead down even further with a short jumper, setting the stage for a wild final few seconds.
Trailing 99-97 with four ticks still on the clock, Morris immediately fouled Manu Ginobili following Dragic’s shot. Despite being a career 83-percent shooter from the charity stripe, the Spurs guard missed the second of his two attempts from the line.
Without a timeout, O’Neal corralled the rebound and immediately heaved the ball down court. Swingman Wesley Johnson, who was one of five players around the paint at the time of the free throw attempt, managed to get all the way down court in time for the pass. In one fluid motion, he rose up from right of the arc and drained a 24-footer in the face of Tiago Splitter as time expired.
Aftermath: Although the Suns’ bench celebrated the buzzer-beater as if it won the team an NBA championship, they would need overtime to get past the vaunted Spurs. And as it turns out, the extra session didn’t turn out to be all that difficult. San Antonio went on to miss all eight shot attempts in overtime, and Phoenix pulled off the unlikely win by a final of 105-101.
O’Neal finished with an impressive double-double (22 points and 13 rebounds) off the pine, and Dragic also pitched in with 13 points and 13 assists.
The regular season win marked the Suns’ first at the AT&T Center since Oct. 29, 2008.