The Rivalry: Suns vs. Lakers Through the Years
January 1, 2010
1970 Playoffs: The first playoff game in Suns history came in just their second season of operation and matched up future Hall of Famers Connie Hawkins and Wilt Chamberlain of the Lakers.
1970: NBA greats Elgin Baylor (22) and Jerry West (44) helped set the stage for a rivalry that would last for decades.
1970 Playoffs: Hawk and Wilt battle for a rebound at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
1970: The Suns pushed the heavily favored Lakers to the brink, before dropping Game 7 in Los Angeles, 129-94, despite Hawk's 25 points and 15 rebounds.
1980 Playoffs: After defeating Cotton Fitzsimmons' Kansas City Kings, the Suns met the Lakers in the Semifinals 10 years after their first postseason meeting.
1980 Playoffs: The Lakers made relatively quick work of Phoenix, winning the series 4-1 with the help of eventual all-time NBA scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33).
1982 Playoffs: Alvan Adams and the Suns met the Lakers again in the Conference Semifinals two years later, only to be swept in four games.
1984 Playoffs: With the help of Larry Nance (22), the Suns advanced to the Conference Finals for the third time in team history, where they would once again meet up with the Lakers.
1984 Playoffs: The Suns dropped the first two games of the series, but on Game 3 in overtime with "Sweet D" scoring a series-high 34 points.
1984 Playoffs: The Lakers took the first two games in L.A. behind greats like Abdul-Jabbar (33), James Worthy and Magic Johnson.
1984 Playoffs: Walter Davis enjoyed a spectacular series, leading the Suns in scoring in four out of six games.
1985 Playoffs: Maurice Lucas and the Suns were swept by the Lakers in 1985.
1989 Playoffs: The Suns and Lakers met again in the Conference Finals, as Suns center Mark West went up against a young Serbian center named Vlade Divac.
1989 Playoffs: The defending NBA Champions were on a mission to win another title.
1989 Playoffs: Suns guard Kevin Johnson scored 27 points in the series opener, followed by 22 points in Game 2.
1989 Playoffs: In the end, the results again went the way of the Lakers, as they swept Jeff Hornacek and the Suns to return to the NBA Finals.
1990 Playoffs: The Cotton Express was not derailed for long, however, and rolled back into Hollywood for the 1990 Conference Semifinals.
1990 Playoffs: The Suns shocked the Lakers by taking Game 1 at the Great Western Forum. Suns forward Tom Chambers scored 26 points, while "Big Daddy" pulled down 16 rebounds.
1990 Playoffs: Hornacedk had a team-high 18 points in Game 2, but the Lakers would tie up the series 1-1 in Los Angeles.
1990 Playoffs: The "Madhouse on McDowell" was racking for Games 3 and 4 back in Phoenix.
1990 Playoffs: Chambers scored 34 points in Game 3, KJ put up 30 in Game 4, as the Suns won both games on their homecourt.
1990 Playoffs: KJ averaged 22.5 points and 11.4 assists a game in 1989-90.
1990 Playoffs: Magic Johnson scored 43 points in Game 5, but it would not be enough as Dan Majerle and the Suns "Beat LA! Beat LA!"
1990 Playoffs: The Suns celebrate their first-ever series victory over the Lakers backstage at the Forum.
1990 Playoffs: After clinching the series in L.A., fans back in the Valley welcomed home their Suns with open arms.
1993 Playoffs: The tables were turned in 1993 when the Suns and Lakers met again, this time with Phoenix the heavy favorites.
1993 Playoffs: Despite having the NBA's MVP in Charles Barkley, the Suns struggled out of the gates and dropped both of the first two games at the then-named America West Arena.
1993 Playoffs: Although they had won a franchise-best 62 wins during the regular season, the top-seeded Suns struggled to find their rhythm and found themselves one loss away from elimination.
1993 Playoffs: Suns coach Paul Westphal made a bold prediction following the Game 2 loss, telling reporters that his team would win Games 3 and 4 in LA, and come back and win Game 5 here. "Everybody will say what a great series it was."
1993 Playoffs: Barkley answered his coach's call, averaging 27.5 points and 11 boards to lead the Suns to wins in Games 3 and 4.
1993 Playoffs: Phoenix fans were ready for the Lakers in Game 5 at the Purple Palace.
1993 Playoffs: The Suns would not disappoint. Barkley scored 31 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, as Phoenix won in overtime to advance to the Conference Semis.
2000 Playoffs: Suns guard Jason Kidd dyed his hair blonde during the first-round, before matching up with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
2000 Playoffs: Just a rookie at the time, Suns forward Shawn Marion earned valuable minutes against the Lakers.
2000 Playoffs: After dropping the first three games in the series, Rex Chapman and the Suns broke through in Game 4, winning 117-98 at home.
2000 Playoffs: The excitement was short-lived, however, as the Lakers took Game 5 and the series, en route to their first of three NBA Championships.
2006 Playoffs: The Suns and Lakers butted heads again in the opening round of the 2006 playoffs, arguably their most intense postseason matchup.
2006 Playoffs: And we do mean intense.
2006 Playoffs: The Lakers played the role of aggressor early on, stealing a game in Phoenix before winning both games in L.A. to take a 3-1 series lead.
2006 Playoffs: Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning jumpshot in Game 4 that left the Suns on the brink of elimination.
2006 Playoffs: Bryant and Suns guard Raja Bell had more than a few heated words and run-ins, including one in Game 5 which saw Bell closthesline the Lakers' guard, earning himself a one-game suspension.
2006 Playoffs: No shot was more memorable than the three-pointer hit by Tim Thomas in Game 6 which tied the series at three games apiece and forced a Game 7.
2006 Playoffs: Game 7 at US Airways Center proved to be no contest as the Suns jumped all over the Lakers for a 121-90 victory and a 3-2 series win.
2006 Playoffs: It would not be the last time Mike D'Antoni and Phil Jackson would face each other in the postseason.
2007 Playoffs: The rivalry continued the following year when the Suns and Lakers (and their fans) once again went head to head in the opening round.
2007 Playoffs: Leandro Barbosa scored 26 points in both Game 1 and 2, as the Suns took a 2-0 series lead.
2007 Playoffs: The Matrix had 16 rebounds in the Game 1 win and 10 more in Game 2.
2007 Playoffs: The Suns dropped thier first game in L.A., but came back to win Game 4, led by Amar'e Stoudemire's 27 points and 21 rebounds.
2007 Playoffs: STAT followed up his monster peformance with another, recording 27 points and 16 boards in Game 5 to knock-out the Lakers, 4-1.
The Suns and their fans were excited about yet another playoff match-up with the Lakers, this time in the 2010 Western Conference Finals.
Amar'e Stoudemire and the Suns dropped the first two games of the series in Los Angeles.
Returning back to the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix held home court and tied up the series after taking Games 3 and 4.
Steve Nash's averages of 18 pionts and 10 assists were not enough as the Suns fell to the eventual champions in six games.
Another interesting chapter was added to the Suns-Lakers rivalry when Phoenix traded Nash to L.A. in 2012, and the Lakers hired former Suns coach Mike D'Antoni.
Suns guard Goran Dragic drives on his former teammate and mentor Nash during a 2013 matchup.