I read somewhere that FSN AZ is going to be re-broadcasting last season's first round Game 6 against the Lakers. Since I'm remote, I guess I'll have to settle for the next closest thing to Suns basketball on TV tonight when Denver meets Golden State in a game that will have major implications for my fantasy team. But since I've got some time to kill before that game starts, I thought I would take a moment to come up with what I would consider my own list of "classics" in my short tenure as a Suns fan. I apologize in advance for the disproportionate number of games against the Mavericks on this list. There are two reasons for that, one being that most of the Suns games I get to see live are the ones here in Dallas where I live, and the other being that those two teams just match up so darn well that the outcome is normally not decided until the last few minutes of the game. So here is my list of favorite Suns games:
- Suns at Dallas, November 2004. Anyone who read my Meets and Greets entry from a couple of days ago knows that this was the game that turned me into a Suns fan. When the game started, both teams had a record of 6-2. Good, but not perfect. Nobody had any idea that the Suns would go onto a 31-4 start, or that Steve Nash would end up winning the first of two MVP awards (so far). It was Nash's first game back to play against the team that had let him go in the offseason, and you could just feel that he had something to prove that night. The Mavs had something to prove too--that they were a better team even with Nash no longer around. The game was back and forth the whole way until the final couple of minutes, when the Suns finally siezed control and won by six. But it wouldn't have mattered the outcome; I had already made up my mind by halftime that this would be my next team to follow.
- Suns at Sacremento, February 2005. The supposed no-defense Suns win the game with a buzzer-beating block. Brad Miller and several other Kings go ballistic and start tossing headbands and screaming at the refs. I start laughing so hard I spew whatever it is I was eating in several different directions.
- Suns vs San Antonio, January 2006. Gritty, gutty performance by the Suns in the closest thing they had to an even matchup between the two teams last season. Both teams were coming off of back-to-backs, both had everyone present and healthy (except Amare), and the Suns got it done with some really nice clutch plays that said "uh uh, not this time, Spurs!". I didn't know it at the time, but this game was kind of a preview of things to come for the Amare-less Suns who would show the same kind of mettle throughout the playoffs.
- Suns at Dallas, March 2006. Boris Diaw had a handful of triple-doubles last year. I got to see one of them in person. But it wasn't just Boris stepping up to the plate in this game. After being mostly outplayed the first half, the entire Suns team stepped up in the second half, and especially in the fourth quarter. Aside from Boris living up to his "3D" nickname, there were a couple of Nash plays that made the highlight reels, including a sick layup over and around Dirk Nowitzki, which had the latter just shrugging and shaking his head as if to say "what can I do?" I treated myself to this game in person after several weeks of working way too many hours on a project that was not going well at the time, and I really just needed to see something cool that day. I'm happy to say the guys didn't let me down.
- Suns at Dallas, Game 6 WCSF 2005. I didn't get to see this one live, but boy it sure was fun to watch on TV! A buzzer-beating 3-pointer sends the game into overtime, where the Suns finish off the Mavs by 4. This was my favorite Suns game of all until...
- Suns at Lakers, Game 6, First Round 2006. Wow. That's the only way I know how to describe this one. Awesome, big-time team effort from everyone involved to pull off a season-saving overtime win that put this Amare-less Suns team in the history books as only the eighth team ever to win a 7-game series after being down 1-3. Yes, there was still a Game 7 needed to make it official, but this is the one that really decided the series.
- Suns at Nets, December 2006. This may be my favorite NBA game of all time, at least as far as the regular season goes. Both teams playing at a high level. One point guard goes for 38/14/14, the other for 42/13/6, with seven total turnovers between them. The game looks to be over with the Suns down by three and only four seconds to go, then Nash nails a 3-pointer. The game looks over again at the end of OT #1 on a similar shot by the Nets that goes in....and then out. The game FINALLY comes down to an inbounds pass for the Suns...and the ball nearly goes out of bounds! Horrible memories of Game 4 vs. Lakers start to surface, but mercifully, a miraculous save by LB gives the ball to Nash for the game-clinching free throws. Final score: 161-157.
Well, if I really thought about it, I could probably come up with at least a half-dozen other games to add to this list, but Golden State has jumped out to a 10-2 lead over Denver, and I sense that my second-favorite team needs me. So I must wrap up it up here. But I would love to hear from others on the subject.