ESPN is all-in on nostalgia right now and with YouTube, we have the power to watch about any old game our heart desires. I thought it would be fun to take it back to one of the most memorable Phoenix Suns games of the 2000s: Suns vs Lakers, Game 6, Western Conference First Round, from May 3, 2006.
Calling all bored and dejected Phoenix Suns! Join me on a glorious journey back in time to the year 2006, when not only was live, impactful NBA basketball a real thing on a nightly basis, the Suns were in the midst of the Seven-Seconds-or-Less Era and led by the greatest Phoenix Sun of all time, Steve Nash.
Setting the Scene
After becoming the darling of the NBA in the 2004-05 season, a season in which they went from 29 wins and 13th in the Western Conference (feels familiar right?) to 62 wins, the best record in the NBA, and an MVP performance from free agency signee, Steve Nash, the Phoenix Suns ran into some more adversity in 2005-06.
They managed to put together a 54-win campaign and grab the 2-seed in the Western Conference (they had the third-best record but the NBA had a dumb division winner rule then) behind an even more stellar season by Steve Nash and a breakout campaign from off-season acquisition Boris Diaw (from the Joe Johnson sign-and-trade with the Hawks…yikes).
They did so with All-NBA talent Amar’e Stoudemire for virtually the entire season as he underwent his first micro-fracture surgery on October 18, 2005. Two weeks before the season began. He would struggle mightily in three appearances before calling it quits for the season.
The Suns entered their first-round series with the Lakers (45-37 that season) as a heavy favorite as this was Kobe Bryant’s return to the NBA Playoffs after a one-year hiatus post-Shaq drama and trade to the Miami Heat.
That blew up in their face quickly as after gaining a 1-0 advantage series with a 107-102 victory in Phoenix in Game 1, the Phoenix Suns would lose the next three games in the series, including blowing a five-point lead in the final 12 seconds of Game 4 in Los Angeles and Kobe Bryant hitting one of the most legendary shots of his all-time career at the buzzer in overtime for a 99-98 Lakers win.
The Suns found themselves down 3-1, more often than not, insurmountable odds for an NBA team to come back from. They would win Game 5 in Phoenix with ease, to the tune of 114-97.
This set the scene for Game 6 in Los Angeles on May 3, 2006.