DAR Sports: 1993 NBA Finals- Phoenix Suns vs Chicago Bulls

By @TrueGodImmortal

The 1992-1993 Phoenix Suns were seen as a team of destiny. Going 62-20 in the season led by the 1992-1993 NBA MVP Charles Barkley, the Suns were working their way through the regular season with a focus like no other. They had one goal in mind. One true focus: win the 1993 NBA Championship. However, for the Suns, there was one huge obstacle in front of them that presented a challenge: the two time defending champions Chicago Bulls and the best player in the game, Michael Jordan. In order for the Suns to fulfill their so called destiny and win the NBA title, they would have to find a way to put a stop to the Chicago Bulls continued dominance.

Admittedly, I was a fan of Kevin Johnson and Charlea Barkley, but of course, my favorite team was the Chicago Bulls. I thought the Suns were a great team and one of my favorites to watch play from that era(my favorite teams to watch play during the 90s were the Bulls, Suns, Knicks, and the Sonics). With Jordan and Barkley being two of my favorite players, this was a dream NBA Finals for me and I knew the clash would be legendary. The Suns had a solid squad, with some lethal shooters, a solid bench, and of course Sir Charles. The Bulls had... Well, they were the Bulls. 2 time defending champions, led by Horace, B.J. Armstrong, Pippen and of course Jordan.

The road to the Finals for both teams was quite interesting, as the Suns struggled against The Lakers in the first round before pulling out a 3-2 series victory. They would defeat the Spurs in 6 games, but get pushed to 7 games by the Sonics in the Conference Finals. The road to the NBA Finals for the Suns was not pretty by any means and the Bulls would face a mighty challenge in the playoffs themselves. After defeating the Atlanta Hawks and Cavs in consecutive sweeps, the Bulls would face the top seeded Knicks in the Conference Finals and lose the first two games. It looked as if the dominance of the Bulls was coming to an end, but the Bulls managed to win 4 straight games and defeat the Knicks in 6 games. The stage was now set.

The starting lineup for the Suns featured KJ, Dan Majerle, Richard Dumas, Mark West, and of course Barkley. The Bulls starting lineup would feature B.J. Armstrong, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, Pippen, and of course Jordan. Phoenix had the best record in the league, so they had the home court advantage, and Game 1 would take place there at the America West Arena. History was set to be made.

*Game 1

-The first game of the series turned out to be very telling, as Jordan and the Bulls got out to an early double digit lead in the first quarter. The Suns would play hard and cut that lead down, but the Bulls held on and won 100-92 to take a 1-0 series lead with Jordan's 31 points and 5 assists in the game. Barkley would finish with 21 points and 5 assists himself, and despite the loss, you knew the Suns would come out swinging in game 2.

*Game 2

-Everybody came prepared to play their hardest in game 2, and the game was close throughout. The Bulls would take a decent lead into halftime and the Suns would cut that down again in the 2nd half. Unfortunately for the Suns, they ended up taking the loss 111-108, but the stats for many of the players were amazing. Jordan almost had a triple double, with 42 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists, while Pippen did have a triple double, with 15 points, 12 points, and 12 assists. Horace Grant would finish with 24 points and 8 assists, as the three combined for 81 of the Bulls' 111 points. The Suns were led by Barkley's 42 points and 13 rebounds, along with 20 points from Danny Ainge. Game 2 was an intense one, and with the Bulls leading 2-0 in the series now, you knew the Suns would have to come back firing in Chicago.

*Game 3

-The Suns definitely came back firing, as game 3 was a classic and went into triple overtime. Fueled by their desire to win and their destiny, the Suns came into Chicago with one goal: win at least 2 of the 3 games. The Suns started that goal off on the right foot, as they would take game 3 in a 129-121 triple OT victory, but once again the stats for both teams were amazing. For The Suns, Barkley would finish with 24 points and 19 rebounds, Dan Majerle and his 3 point shooting proved clutch with 28 points, and KJ would finish with 25 points and 9 assists. Jordan would lead the Bulls with 44 points and 9 rebounds, while Pippen would finish with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Horace Grant would pull down 17 rebounds and score 13 points. The Bulls now led the series 2-1 and you knew the Suns would try their best to even the series up in game 4. Could they do it?

*Game 4

-Michael Jordan was unstoppable in game 4. Shooting 57% from the field, Jordan would finish the game with 55 points and 8 rebounds. The Suns played hard, and Barkley even managed a triple double with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, but it would not be enough to give the Suns a victory, as the Bulls pulled away with a 111-105 victory. Kevin Johnson finished with 19 points for the Suns, while Horace Grant pulled down 16 rebounds and score 17 points for the Bulls. The Bulls took a 3-1 series lead and with game 5 in Chicago, they looked to close it out at home.

*Game 5

-The Suns would not die, as they came out playing hard, getting out to a first quarter sizable lead. The Bulls would stay in the game thanks to Jordan, who finished with 41 points, but Horace Grant and B.J
Armstrong were both held to low scoring totals, as the Suns got 24  points from Barkley, 25 from KJ, and 25 from Richard Dumas to win 108-98 and make the series 3-2. As Game 6 approached, we headed back to Phoenix to see if the team of destiny could pull off a huge comeback victory and win the series.

*Game 6

-The NBA Finals deserves a game that comes down to the wire. Oddly enough, in many of the Bulls finals appearances, the game they win the series with usually comes down to a last minute shot. This game 6 would be no different. The Bulls got out to an early lead, but the Suns would come back swiftly, gaining a 98-94 lead late into the 4th quarter. Jordan would cut that lead to 98-96 with a layup and a Dan Majerle missed 3 pointer would set the tone. With just 3.9 seconds left in the game, John Paxson would hit a three pointer to give the Bulls a 99-98 lead and the victory. The Bulls would win the series 3-2, lead by Jordan's 33 points and Pippen's 23 points and 12 rebounds. The Suns would get 21 points from both Majerle and Barkley, while KJ finished with 19.

This Finals victory would complete the first 3-Peat for the Bulls and soon after, Jordan would announce his first retirement. The death of his father proved to be too much to handle and he lost his will to play the basketball at the time. Regardless, the celebratory moment that came with the Bulls 3rd straight championship and the solidifying of the legacy is engrained in history. Jordan would of course win the Finals MVP award, his third in a row as well. This loss would prove to be heartbreaking for Barkley, as he never made it back to the NBA Finals again.

The Chicago Bulls first 3-Peat was complete.

Your 1993 NBA Champions, the Chicago Bulls.



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