In Game 6 the Lakers held a 17point lead heading

first_imgIn Game 6, the Lakers held a 17-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Suns rallied and got to within three on a couple of occasions, but Bryant was too much to handle. He scored nine of his 37 points in the last two minutes and the Lakers won and advanced with a 111-103 win. Los Angeles would go on to defeat the Boston in Celtics in seven games to win another NBA title. With the Cardinals just one game away from the sports world’s biggest spectacle, the Valley and the rest of the state of Arizona are in a frenzy. It’s completely understandable — it’s been a pretty rare feeling in Arizona.In 113 combined professional seasons for the Cardinals, Coyotes, Diamondbacks and Suns, Valley teams have played for a league or conference championship only 13 times, going 4-9 in those opportunities.Here’s a chronological listing of how Arizona teams have fared in those games and series: The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The D-backs could push across only one run against Josh Fogg and Co. in Game 3 at Coors Field, losing 4-1. The next night, Colorado scored six runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by Matt Holliday grand slam off of Arizona starter Micah Owings. The Diamondbacks rallied for three runs in the eighth inning on a home run by Chris Snyder, but it wasn’t enough. Manny Corpas recorded the last four outs as the Rockies pulled out the brooms and won their first NL pennant. Colorado had just completed a remarkable 22-game stretch where they finished 21-1, however, they were swept by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. 1979NBA Western Conference Finals: Seattle SuperSonics defeat Phoenix Suns, 4-3After defeating the Portland Trail Blazers and the Kansas City Kings, the Suns took on the top-seed in the West, the Seattle SuperSonics in what would be another memorable series.Seattle took the first two games at the cavernous Kingdome, but the Suns would rebound to win the next three, including a 99-93 Game 5 win in Seattle. 1984NBA Western Conference Finals: Los Angeles Lakers defeat Phoenix Suns, 4-2The Suns weren’t especially good in the 1983-84 season, finishing 41-41 and earning the sixth seed in a mediocre Western Conference. However, they upset third-seeded Portland 3-2 in the first round and followed that up with a six-game series win over the Utah Jazz in the Western semis. That set up a conference finals matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers, the top seed in the West. The Lakers, led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, had gone 7-1 in the first two rounds of the playoffs. L.A. took the first two games of the series at the Forum in Inglewood, but the pesky Suns bounced back in Game 3 in Phoenix, winning 135-127 in overtime behind Walter Davis’ 34 points and double-doubles from Larry Nance (23 points, 12 rebounds) and Maurice Lucas (19 points, 17 boards).The Lakers took the next game at the “Madhouse” 126-115 to take a 3-1 lead. But the Suns fought back again, winning on the road in Game 5, 126-121. Five different Suns had 20 or more points in the game, led by Davis’ 27. Phoenix shot an astounding 61 percent from the floor in the game. Back at home, the Suns had a chance to even the series, but fell short, losing 99-97. James Edwards missed a contested shot in the lane and Nance couldn’t tip it in as time expired on the Suns’ season.The Lakers would go on to lose the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics in seven games. Shane Doan scored twice and Mike Smith made 36 saves for a 2-0 shutout in Game 4 that put Phoenix back in the series. Back in Glendale, Keith Yandle’s first playoff goal tied the game at 3-3 late in the second period. There would be no scoring in the third and the game headed to overtime, where Dustin Penner lit the lamp at 17:42 to give the Kings a 4-3 win and a five-game series triumph that sent them to the Stanley Cup Final for just the second time in franchise history. They’d go on to defeat the New Jersey Devils in six games. 2009NFC Championship Game: Arizona Cardinals defeat Philadelphia Eagles, 32-25This wasn’t supposed to happen. “The worst team ever to make the playoffs” according to NBC commentator Cris Collinsworth shouldn’t have been in the NFC Championship Game, let alone hosting it at University of Phoenix Stadium.The Cardinals, the fourth-seed after a 9-7 regular season, knocked off the Wild Card Atlanta Falcons in their first game, earning a trip to Carolina to face a Panthers team that hadn’t lost at home all season. The Cardinals forced six turnovers, including five interceptions, and pasted the Panthers 33-13 to advance to the conference championship game. After two difficult seven-game series triumphs over the Lakers and Clippers, the Suns met up with the fourth-seeded Dallas Mavericks. The Suns, the second-seed, did not have home-court advantage due to the fact that Dallas had six more regular-season wins.No matter. The Suns took Game 1, 121-118, on the strength of Boris Diaw’s 34 points and Nash contributing 27 points and 16 assists. Dallas took the next two games, setting up a Game 4 showdown in Phoenix. Leandro Barbosa came off the bench to score 24 points while Nash scored 21 and Phoenix evened things up, 106-86.The fun ended there, with Dallas taking Game 5 117-101. Dirk Nowitzki lit up the Suns for 50 points on 14-of-26 shooting from the floor and 17-of-18 from the free throw line. Dallas would end the series in Phoenix with a 102-93 win. The Suns led by 15 points after one quarter and by 12 at the half, but struggled in the second half, getting outscored 63-42. 2010NBA Western Conference Finals: Los Angeles Lakers defeat Phoenix Suns, 4-2After a solid 54-28 regular season, the Suns earned the third-seed in the Western Conference. They disposed of sixth-seeded Portland in six games in the first round to earn a second-round matchup with their old nemesis, the San Antonio Spurs.Phoenix dominated the series, highlighted by a 110-96 Game 3 win in San Antonio. Goran Dragic came off the bench to score 26 points in 17 minutes as the Suns took a 3-0 lead. They polished off the Spurs two nights later, 107-101, and would face the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.The top-seeded Lakers blew out the Suns in the first two games at Staples Center. Kobe Bryant scored 40 in Game 1 as Los Angeles breezed 128-107. It was Pau Gasol’s turn in Game 2. The Spaniard scored a game-high 29 in a 124-112 win.The Suns bounced back on their home floor, taking the next two. Amar’e Stoudemire scored 42 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 118-109 Phoenix win in Game 3. Stoudemire then led a balanced Suns’ attack in Game 4 with 21 points and Phoenix triumphed 115-106.The series shifted back to L.A. for a pivotal Game 5. The game was tied at 101-101 after Phoenix guard Jason Richardson banked in a three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left. Everyone in the arena knew it would be Bryant taking the last shot for the Lakers, and he did. He missed everything, throwing up an air ball. Richardson failed to block out Lakers’ forward Ron Artest, who caught the ball and put it up off the glass and in as time expired. But, they’d have to wait to find out who they’d play. The sixth-seeded Philadelphia Eagles knocked off the top-seeded New York Giants the next day to give the Cardinals a home game for the right to advance to the Super Bowl.Behind Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals dominated the first half. The duo hooked up on three touchdown passes in the game’s first 27 minutes, and Arizona held a commanding 24-6 lead at the break. They wouldn’t hold it.Donovan McNabb threw three touchdown passes in a span of 8:23 — the third, a 62-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson, gave the Eagles a 25-24 lead with under 11 minutes to play. Warner would answer. He led the Cardinals on a 14-play, 72-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass to rookie running back Tim Hightower. He then hit tight end Ben Patrick on a 2-point conversion that gave Arizona a 7-point lead with 2:53 left.The Eagles would advance into Cardinals’ territory, but the drive stalled at the 47-yard line after four consecutive incomplete passes by McNabb. Arizona couldn’t melt the remainder of the time, however, and Philadelphia took over with :09 left. McNabb completed a short pass to Jackson, but the Eagles’ attempts at lateraling the ball with no time left failed. Darnell Dockett recovered an errant pitch at the Eagles’ 12-yard line and the Cardinals were headed to Tampa to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII. 2005NBA Western Conference Finals: San Antonio Spurs defeat Phoenix Suns, 4-1The first year of the “Seven Seconds or Less” era was a lot of fun to watch. Mike D’Antoni’s team, fueled by point guard Steve Nash who returned to Phoenix on a free-agent deal, won 62 games, a 33-win improvement over the previous season. The Suns swept Memphis in the opening round, then ousted Dallas in six games to bring them to the conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs, who were just two years removed from winning their second NBA crown.San Antonio dominated the series, jumping out to a 3-0 lead before the Suns found their footing in Game 4. Amar’e Stoudemire scored 31 points and Joe Johnson chipped in with 26 as Phoenix churned out a 111-106 win.The momentum wasn’t sustained as the Spurs ended the series two days later at America West Arena with a 101-05 win. Tim Duncan had 31 points and 15 boards for the Spurs, who would go on to win their third NBA title. The Arizona Cardinals are facing the Carolina Panthers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.Each team is trying to reach the Super Bowl for just the second time in franchise history. The Panthers advanced to Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, where they lost to the New England Patriots 32-29 on a last-second field goal by Adam Vinatieri.Of course, the Cardinals shocked the world and advanced all the way to Super Bowl XLIII despite a 9-7 regular season, and nearly pulled off the upset. Ben Roethlisberger’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes gave the Pittsburgh Steelers a 27-23 win in one of the most memorable Super Bowls ever. 2001National League Championship Series: Arizona Diamondbacks defeat Atlanta Braves, 4-1Arizona’s first non-basketball entry involved the D-backs, who were in just their fourth year of existence.Bob Brenly’s team defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. Tony Womack was the hero in a decisive Game 5, knocking in Danny Bautista with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning.That pushed the D-backs to the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves, who were making their seventh straight postseason appearance. Arizona took Game 1 2-0 behind a strong pitching performance from Randy Johnson, who tossed a complete-game, three-hit shutout. Atlanta bounced back in Game 2, pounding the D-backs 8-1. The rest of the series was dominated by the Diamondbacks. Curt Schilling threw a complete-game gem in a 5-1 win in Game 3. Arizona’s bats exploded for 11 runs in a Game 4 victory and the Snakes polished off the Braves in Game 5 with a 3-2 win. Erubiel Durazo’s pinch-hit, two-run homer in the fifth inning off of Tom Glavine proved to be the difference. Johnson hurled seven strong innings and Byung-Hyun Kim got a six-out save to nail down Arizona’s first and only trip to the World Series — where’d they’d beat the New York Yankees in seven games in an all-time classic. Top Stories 2006NBA Western Conference Finals: Dallas Mavericks defeat Phoenix Suns, 4-2Even without Amar’e Stoudemire, who played in only three games all year due to a knee injury, the Suns advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the eighth time in franchise history. The Blazers took Game 5 in Portland, 120-114, powered by Clyde Drexler’s 32 points. Game 6 in Phoenix was a nip-and-tuck affair. The Suns led by six points with under four minutes, but the Blazers rallied. Jerome Kersey blocked a shot and hit a layup that gave Portland a 110-109 lead with 27 seconds left. Chambers committed a turnover with under 10 seconds to play and the Blazers capitalized at the free throw line, with Drexler knocking down two shots. Jeff Hornacek’s running three-pointer failed to draw iron and Buck Williams rebounded to ice the Portland win. Charles Barkley went off for 44 points and 24 rebounds for the Suns in a 123-110 win. Seattle fans are still ticked at the free-throw discrepancy in this game; Phoenix shot 64 free throws (making 57) while the Sonics got just 36.The Suns’ quest for a first title fell short in the NBA Finals, with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls winning their third straight ring in six games. Phoenix, the third-seed in the West, swept the Denver Nuggets in the first round and took out the Golden State Warriors in the Western semifinals. That meant another date with the Lakers in the conference finals. The Lakers came into the playoffs as the top seed and had swept the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics in the first two rounds.They’d make it three straight sweeps as they disposed of the Suns in four games. All four were relatively close, decided by eight points or less. Ironically, the Lakers were swept by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals. 2012NHL Western Conference Finals: Los Angeles Kings defeat Phoenix Coyotes, 4-1This was virgin territory for the Coyotes, who hadn’t won a playoff series since relocating to the Valley from Winnipeg in 1996. The ‘Yotes took down the Chicago Blackhawks in six games, then dominated the Nashville Predators in five to advance to the Western Final.There, they would face the Los Angeles Kings, a red-hot team who had gone 8-1 in its first two playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues.In Game 1 in Glendale, Dustin Brown scored at 2:11 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie and Dwight King added an empty-netter to give the Kings a 4-2 win. In Game 2, Jonathan Quick stopped all 24 shots he faced and Jeff Carter notched a hat trick as L.A. cruised 4-0. Back in Los Angeles, the Coyotes were much more competitive in Game 3. Daymond Langkow opened the scoring early in the second period to give Phoenix its first lead of the series, but it would be short-lived. Anze Kopitar scored 2:07 later to tie it, and King beat goalie Mike Smith at 1:47 of the third period to give L.A. a 2-1 win and a commanding 3-0 series lead. Comments   Share   1990NBA Western Conference Finals: Portland Trail Blazers defeat Phoenix Suns, 4-2For the first time in team history, the Suns got to the Western Conference Finals in consecutive years. They got their by exacting postseason revenge on the Lakers by beating them in five games in the semifinal round.In the conference finals, they’d face the Portland Trail Blazers, who were the three-seed and had already beaten the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs. Portland won the first two games on their home floor by a total of three points. The series evened up in Phoenix, with the Suns dominating the next two contests. The Suns shot 61 percent, with Tom Chambers hitting 11-of-13 shots, in a 123-89 Game 3 rout. Kevin Johnson scored 28 points and handed out 17 assists in Game 4, which was a 119-107 Suns’ win. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The Warriors pounded the Suns in Game 1, behind Rick Barry’s 38 points. But the upstart Suns bounced back in Game 2, winning 108-101 and stealing home-court advantage from the mighty Warriors. Golden State would steal it right back, winning Game 3 at the Madhouse on McDowell, but the Suns outgunned the Warriors in Game 4, 133-129 in double overtime behind Keith Erickson’s 28 points. Golden State buckled down and won a seemingly pivotal Game 5, 111-95, putting all the pressure on Phoenix.Back at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, Alvan Adams made a late layup and Garfield Heard blocked a shot to preserve a 105-104 win that set up a Game 7 showdown. The Suns won rather easily, handing the Warriors a 94-86 loss and earning a trip to the NBA Finals, where they’d lose to the Boston Celtics in six memorable games. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 2016NFC Championship Game: Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers??? Phoenix couldn’t finish off the Sonics, though. Seattle dominated the glass and squeaked out a 106-105 win, setting up a Game 7 showdown in the Emerald City. The Sonics led by eight points with under :20 to play, but the Suns wouldn’t quit. Walter Davis hit a runner in the lane to cut the lead to six. Then Davis came up with a steal and a layup to make it a four-point game with :07 left. Seattle’s Wally Walker then inbounded the ball right into the hands of Suns’ star Paul Westphal, who hit a layup and was fouled with :04 left. With no timeouts left and trailing by two, Westphal had no choice but to clang the free throw off the rim and hope for an offensive rebound. It wasn’t to be, as Seattle’s Jack Sikma grabbed the rebound, giving the Sonics the win.They’d go on to defeat the Washington Bullets in six games for the NBA crown. 2007National League Championship Series: Colorado Rockies defeat Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-0After sweeping the Chicago Cubs in three games in the NLDS, the D-backs ran into a buzzsaw.The Rockies closed the regular season by going 14-1, then swept the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS to push them into the league championship series for the first time in franchise history. There, they remained red-hot. Jeff Francis combined with four relievers to outduel Arizona’s Brandon Webb in Game 1, winning 5-1. Game 2 at Chase Field went into extra innings, but the Rockies surged ahead in the top of the 11th inning when Jose Valverde walked Willy Taveras with the bases loaded, scoring Ryan Spilborghs and providing the margin in a 3-2 win. 1976NBA Western Conference Finals: Phoenix Suns defeat Golden State Warriors, 4-2The Phoenix Suns were only in their eighth year of existence when they reached the playoffs for the second time. Not much was expected from John MacLeod’s team. After all, they were just 42-40 in the regular season, finishing third in the Pacific Division.In the first round, they’d play the Seattle SuperSonics, a team that finished a game ahead of them in the standings. The Suns disposed of the Sonics in six games to reach the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, the defending NBA champions, who had won a league-high 59 games in the regular season. 1989NBA Western Conference Finals: Los Angeles Lakers defeat Phoenix Suns, 4-0Jump-started by a trade that brought Kevin Johnson to the Suns from Cleveland, the free-agent signing of Tom Chambers and the drafting of Dan Majerle, the Suns improved their win total from the previous season by 27 games. 1993NBA Western Conference Finals: Phoenix Suns defeat Seattle SuperSonics 4-3This was a classic in a postseason that noted basketball writer Bill Simmons called the best of all-time. The Suns almost never got to this point, as they were down 0-2 to the Lakers in the first round. They famously rallied, won the series in five games and then took down David Robinson and the Spurs to advance to the conference finals.The Suns took Game 1 on their home floor, winning 105-91. Seattle bounced back in Game 2, stealing home-court advantage with a 103-99 win behind Ricky Pierce’s 34 points. That see-saw pattern would continue in the series. Phoenix won all the odd-numbered games. Seattle took the evens. It set up a Game 7 at AWA. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img