As the Suns and Flakers prepare to meet in this season's Western Conference Finals, it got me thinking about another Phoenix-Lal series from not too long ago.  20 years ago actually.  LA was the top seed coming off a 63 win regular season.  They had made the Finals 7 of the previous 8 seasons and won titles in 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988.  They had Magic Johnson, the MVP of that 1990 campaign, his 3rd such award in 4 years.  And they were heavy favorites in their second round matchup vs the 4th seeded Suns.

But something happened in that series that changed the landscape in the NBA.  Phoenix came in under the radar and knocked Lal off, stunning them in 5 games.  The main culprit was Kevin Johnson, who played out of his mind in that series.  LA had no answer for the point guard who would routinely blow past Magic at will in that series and would help change a lot of things in LA.  Riley would resign as coach after that year and the Flakers' aura of invincibility was gone. Suddenly, they were beatable.

I couldn't help but think of this season's playoffs.  Granted it's the Western Finals, not the semifinals, but the similarities are compelling.  Not too many people really are giving this Phoenix team a chance.  Even though Lal struggled in their first round series, that seems like a distant memory because of how lame the Jazz are and how they were undermanned in their series.  The Flakers are again beginning to be seen as unbeatable.

There's obvious differences too.  That Phoenix team was really solid.  Beside KJ they had Tom Chambers, Jeff Hornacek, Eddie Johnson, a young Dan Majerle and an underrated Mark West, who averaged 11 and 10 in the playoffs.

So if Stoudemire can play the statistical role of Chambers (good possibility), Nash can do his best Kevin Johnson impression (probable), can Jason Richardson, Grant Hill and Channing Frye emulate Hornacek, Johnson and West?  That's to be determined.

Here's hoping history can repeat itself in this series.  Go Suns!

tb727 5/14/2010 12:10:00 PM Edit
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8 Responses so far.

  1. JR says:

    Imagine how much damage KJ would have done versus Derek Fisher? lol

  2. rondo-is-love says:

    Imagine how much damage Steve Nash WILL do to Derek Fisher :)

  3. tb727 says:

    Yeah KJ would've been Russell Westbrook x2 lol

  4. JR says:

    Btw TB, I saw that Fisher Lied pic a few days ago and was going to tell you about it, but was saving it for your birthday. lol.

  5. tb727 says:

    Haha love those girls! They did the right thing by wearing that!!!

  6. Bohemian says:

    It's a difficult series to watch because you always want the Lakers to lose but if we beat the Magic then I would definitely like to face (and rip) the Lakers again in the Finals. Plus, I believe Phoenix is a worse matchup for us than the Flakers. Steve Nash is probably my favorite non-Celtic player and he can really play the game. Rondo would excel though...hmmm...we'll see! Let's try and beat the Magic first :)

  7. Bohemian says:

    TB, the Fisher Lied t-shirt is green, coincidence? ;)

  8. tb727 says:

    Haha that was interesting Bohemian. I know the Jazz sometimes pull out those retro green uniforms, but still it's rare.

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