1993 Playoff Gallery
January 1, 1993
Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns entered the 1993 NBA Playoffs with the league's best regular season record of 62-20.
Phoenix fans were pumped up to face one of their biggest rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, in the first round.
Backup point guard Negele Knight replaced an injured Kevin Johnson in the starting lineup in Game 1.
Barkley scored a series-high 34 points in Game 1, but it wasn't enough as the Lakers stole a 107-103 win at America West Arena.
Danny Ainge and the Suns were stunned at the thought of facing elimination after dropping the first two games at home.
The leading vote-getter for the fourth straight year on the NBA's All-Interview Team, the Chuckster said, "I picked a bad time to have my worst game of the year," after missing seven fourth-quarter shots in Game 2.
Suns Head Coach Paul Westphal surprised reporters and encouraged fans with his prophecy, "We will go to Los Angeles and win both games. We will then come back to Phoenix and win Game 5. Then everyone will say what a great series it was."
Trailing 0-2 in the series, Sir Charles and the Suns stormed back in L.A.
The Suns overcame a 30-point performance from Lakers center Vlade Divac in Game 3 to win 107-102.
Barkley, who averaged 14.4 rebounds in the series, outmuscled the Lakers in Game 4 as the Suns tied things up, 2-2.
Things heated up in the deciding Game 5 as Barkley and Lakers forward A.C. Green had to be separated.
Suns fans tried to rattle the Lakers in Game 5 at the Purple Palace.
Suns guard Dan Majerle burried a clutch outside jumper with just 13.6 seconds left in Game 5 to tie the game at 95.
Overtime was Miller Time as Suns rookie center Oliver Miller recorded nine points, five boards and a block in the extra period to help the Suns hold off L.A., 112-104.
Suns play-by-play announcer Al McCoy interviewed Ainge after the Suns escaped the first round.
Rookie forward Richard Dumas outscored Sean Elliott 22-8 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals as the Suns defeated the Spurs, 98-89.
Westphal proudly wore his Suns' tie during the Western Conference Semifinals against San Antonio.
Majerle dropped 18 points on the Spurs in a Game 2 victory.
The Gorilla did an impressive Sir Charles impersonation during the playoffs.
Elliott predicted "things would be different" in San Antonio and they were. The Spurs evened the season series, 2-2, by winning Games 3 and 4 at the HemisFair Arena.
Spurs center David Robinson played all 48 minutes and scored 24 points in Game 5, but the Admiral's team still lost to the Suns 109-97 back in Phoenix.
Barkley was limited to 18 points in Game 4 in San Antonio before breaking out in Game 5 back home with 36 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter.
Barkley hit a 20-foot jumper over Robinson with 1.8 seconds left in Game 6 to seal the series for the Suns.
NBA Commissioner David Stern presented Barkley with the league's Most Valuable Player Award before Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.
In just his second start of the postseason, forward Cedric Ceballos scored 21 points in 23 minutes to lead the Suns to a Game 1 win, 105-91.
Majerle led the way in Game 2, recording 29 points and 10 boards.
KJ struggled in the second game, though, going 3-for-8 from the field and just 6-of-11 at the line, as the Sonics took a 103-99 win.
Who said Sir Charles couldn't play defense? Not Sonics guard Dana Barros.
Homecourt advantage swung back in the Suns' favor after Phoenix beat the Sonics on the road in Game 3, 104-97.
No. 9 scored a playoff-career high 34 points in Game 5, while setting an NBA Playoff record with eight three-pointers.
Sonics forward Derrick McKey had a hard time slowing down a relentless Barkley in Game 5, as he erupted for 43 points and 15 rebounds in the Suns' 120-114 victory.
"I just demanded the ball," he explained after the game.
Ceballos encourages his teammates in street clothes after he breaking a bone in his left foot early in Game 6 in Seattle.
After dropping Game 6 on the road, Barkley warned anyone that would listen that he was going to score 40 points and grab 20 rebounds in Game 7.
Throughout the game, Barkley updated the Sonics' bench on his rising stat totals.
And sure enough, he finished with 44 points...
...and a Suns' playoff record 24 boards, much to Sonics coach George Karl's chagrin.
Chambers also played a big role in the decisive game, making a surprise start and contributing 17 points and six rebounds.
Emotions poured out as the Suns ousted Seattle, 123-110, to claim the franchise's second Western Conference Championship.
The celebration erupted on the court. The Phoenix Suns were going to the 1993 NBA Finals.
The Suns entered the NBA Finals for the first time since 1976 with their hoop heads held high.
Unfortunately for the Suns, Ceballos would spend the entire Finals series on the bench and on crutches.
The Suns' league-leading 62 regular season victories ensured them of home court advantage in the championship round.
Team Captains KJ and the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan shook hands prior to Game 1.
A future Suns assistant GM (West) and future Bulls head coach (Bill Cartwright) battled for the Finals' first possession.
Although they didn't play the same position, the marquee matchup of the Finals was Barkley vs. Jordan, two of the league's top players, not to mention close friends.
Majerle scored 16 points in the opening game to go with eight boards.
"Doom Boom," who started all six Finals games, added 20 points and 12 boards in the first.
On the other end, though, Bulls forward Scottie Pippen recorded 27 points and nine boards to give the back-to-back champs a 1-0 lead in the series.
The 1991-92 MVP put on a show in Game 2, registering 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists to steal another road win in Phoenix.
Not even "Fourth Quarter Frank" Johnson could keep the Suns from going down 0-2. "We're in the right state for holes," Barkley said after the loss. "We fit in with the Grand Canyon."
After struggling with his shot in the first two games, KJ asked for the assignment of guarding Jordan to take his mind off of his offense.
Westphal gave his point guard his wish, but made no Lakers-like predictions upon his arrival at Chicago Stadium for Game 3.
There was no amount of video tape that could prepare KJ and the Suns for what was to come.
Jordan expected the Bulls to win 2-of-3 in Chicago and wrap up the Bulls' third straight championship.
KJ bounced back in Game 3, logging 25 points, seven boards and nine assists...
...while playing an NBA Finals record 62 minutes as the two teams battled back and forth through three incredible overtimes.
"Big Daddy" battled with Bulls forward Horace Grant throughout the game.
Barkley played Game 3's marathon with a heavily wrapped sore right elbow.
Yet, the enigmatic forward pulled down a game-high 19 rebounds and scored 24 points.
Chambers chipped in 12 points in 27 minutes in Game 3.
Westphal is the only person to be involved in both Suns historic triple-overtime Finals games, having played in Game 5 of the '76 Finals in Boston.
Majerle led the Suns with 28 points in the incredible win.
Barkley was one of six players to play more than 50 minutes in the game, logging 53.
Ainge and Barkley embraced as Game 3 was finally theirs after 63 gruelling minutes of basketball.
Having won four elimination games through the first three rounds, KJ said the Suns were a confident team, even playing on the road in Chicago Stadium.
Barkley and Majerle were all smiles after their first Finals victory. "This was the greatest basketball game I ever played in," said Chuck.
The tension was understandably high for Game 4 as Ainge and Jordan exchanged words, glares and a shove or two.
Jordan poured in 55 points in Game 4, the only game in the series to be won by the home team. "They had Jordan and we didn't," Westphal said of the difference in the game.
Despite MJ's showing, the Suns still had their chances in Game 4, as they were within two points in the final minute of play.