The title says it all – 16 years ago today the Suns and Bulls played one of the greatest games in NBA Finals history. The game was only the 2nd triple overtime game in Finals history – matching Game 5 of the 1976 Finals which also featured the Suns – then playing the Celtics. Interestingly enough Suns (and current Kings) head coach Paul Westphal was a Suns player during the ’76 game and is the only man to be a part of both games.
The Bulls had taken both Games 1 and 2 from the Suns in Phoenix and the prevailing sentiment was that with 3 consecutive contests in Chicago the Bulls would sail to their first three-peat. Fortunately the Suns had other ideas and battled the Bulls for three overtimes before Phoenix prevailed to take their first game in the series.
Former Birmingham Barons Right Fielder Michael Jordan led the way for the Bulls with 44 points while the star of the Sega CD video game Slam City with Scottie Pippen – Scottie Pippen fell one assist shy of a triple double and added 26 points. Jordan and Pippen combined for 60% of Chicago’s 130 field goal attempts (43 shots from Jordan and 35 from Pippen). The Suns were a little more balanced with Charles Barkley, KJ, and Thunder Dan all scoring over 20 points.
A few more interesting stats/notes from the game:
- KJ set an NBA Finals record for minutes played – playing 62 of a possible 63 minutes.
- Dan Majerle played 59 minutes – the most ever played for a player that did not commit one personal foul.
- The Bulls lost the game despite attempting 31 more shots than the Suns. Part of this can be explained by the fact that Chicago attempted just 9 free throws to the Suns 31.
- Trent Tucker played more minutes (14) than childhood-wrecker John Paxson (5).
- As a superstitious measure I ate various portions of steak from the 2nd quarter until the end of the 3rd overtime in my family guest room. Good memories.
Enjoy some clips of the game.
Beginning of the game –
Most of the Third OT –