After the MVP season and the only NBA Finals in his career, Charles Barkley entered the 1993/94 season with a back injury, and there were rumors that he is even considering retirement. Despite the injuries and severe pain, Charles was the first scorer (21.6) and rebounder (11.2) of the team, and the Suns were the best offensive team in the NBA that year, scoring 108.2 points per game.
They had five players that averaged over 15 points that season. Kevin Johnson became elite playmaker (20 points, ten assists), Dan Majerle was a great three-point shooter, Cedric Ceballos played great that season. Veteran A.C. Green helped both on the floor and in the locker room with his experience and knowledge. Suns finished the regular season with 56-26 record and young, and “hungry” Golden State Warriors waited in the playoffs.
The story of this mini-rivalry began during the regular season game, which Warriors and Suns played in a crowded Coliseum Arena. Chris Webber, then a 21-year-old rookie, dunked over a surprised Barkley. It would be all right if that dunk didn’t lead to a Nike commercial with Latrell Sprewell and Webber, in which they both joked about that dunk.
The start was a shock for home team fans, spectators who followed the game on TV and all players on the court. Barkley scored 27 points in the first quarter, shooting perfectly (11/11), and after he scored 12 points, Chuck ran by Don Nelson, Warriors coach and asked him, “Will you double me?” Nelson decided that such a move was a suicide because of the excellent flow of the ball and great Sun’s shooters.
Weeks after the season ended, Webber and the Warriors had to play against Barkley and Suns again. This time it was in the first round of NBA playoffs. Barkley had arguably his best performance ever in game 3 of the series. That game was the best part of the series, the third game in Oakland, in front of regularly the best fans of the league. Barkley said before the game that Sprewell offended him in a second game, which motivated him to play exceptionally well that game.
The start of the game provided a shock for Warriors fans, spectators who followed the game on T.V., and all players on the court. Barkley scored 27 points in the first quarter, shooting 11-11 from the field. After he scored his 12th point, Chuck ran by Don Nelson, and asked him, “Will you double me?”
Nelson decided that such a move would be the worst possible decision because of the excellent ball movement and shooters Suns had on their roster. Barkley didn’t stop, and he scored 38 points in the first half, breaking the record of the playoffs, and he ended the game with 56 points. He also added 14 rebounds, four assists, and three steals to the stat sheet that game. That was the third-best game in the history of the NBA playoffs behind Michael Jordan’s 63 points against the Celtics and Elgin Baylor’s 61 points.