Chambers bond with Seattle was broken
Chambers, who showed a great deal of promise already as a rookie for the 1981-82 San Diego Clippers, made a name for himself while starring for the mid-1980s NBAs' young guns' – Seattle SuperSonics.
The performance which made Chambers an instant NBA celebrity was the 1987 NBA All-Star game in Seattle, playing in front of the home crowd and being picked for a game as a replacement, Chambers paced the West squad to a great win with 34 points and thus collected Game MVP honors!
However, Chambers' bond with Seattle would soon be broken. At the time, the 1987 Western Conference finalist had three All-Star players who demanded the ball in order to deliver their share of 20+ points per night – Chambers, Dale Ellis, and Xavier McDaniel. With the addition of lefty power forward Derrick McKey before the 1988-89 season for some in Seattle, it seemed that Chambers's era was near the end and that he could be a replaceable part of the Sonics 'quotation'.
Joining the Phoenix Suns
So, on July 5th, 1988, Chambers, an unrestricted free agent at the time, made a lifetime decision to sign with the Phoenix Suns, at that time the struggling and troublesome NBA franchise from Arizona, which was in the process of putting together a nucleus of the eventual 1990s title contender.
In Phoenix, Chambers joined forces with the explosive point guard Kevin Johnson. Playing at an incredible pace, the two All-Stars soon became one of the NBA's most prolific scoring tandems. In his first season with the Suns, Chambers exploded for new career-highs 25.7ppg, 8.4rpg, 2.7apg on his way to being selected to the 1988-89 All-NBA second team. The Suns made the playoffs that season, but the Lakers swept them in the 1st Round of the 1989 NBA playoffs.
Next season, Chambers played like a man possessed, scoring at will against any given opponent. He topped 50+ points two times, 40+ points five times, and 30+ points eighteen times. It seemed that he clinched his new career-high when he scored unbelievable 56 points on 19-29 shooting vs. the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on February 18th, 1990.
The best revenge game
Just 34 days later, this time in sunny Phoenix, he even topped this number with a masterful 60-point shooting exhibition vs. his ex-team Seattle Supersonics en route to a 121-95 Suns blow-out win. And it's not like the Sonics weren't playing any defense. Chambers was lighting them up at will, either shooting or getting to the rim; Sonics did anything to prevent him from scoring, but all their efforts were in vain!
That hot day in the desert of Arizona, they all tried to stop the smoking Tommy Gun – Derrick McKey, Xavier McDaniel, Michael Cage, even rookie Shawn Kemp.
“What I remember is like a guy having a video-game-like night!”
Chambers was just relentless and kept scoring regardless of the defender in front of him. In an unstoppable mode, he hit 22-32 shots from the field and 16-18 free-throw attempts on his way to a new career-high of 60 points!
“It was fun. Guys I used to practice with, guys who were 'we don't need him in Seattle anymore'. And I just LIT THEM UP. It was so fun and so rewarding. And then - 'Chambers forces it'! How do you force when you are 22-32?”
The 1989-90 campaign was the most productive in Chambers' NBA career. All-Star forward posted averages of 27.2ppg, 7.0rpg, and 2.3apg and was once again voted to the All-NBA Second Team. The 1989-90 Suns also went a few steps ahead in their postseason efforts – after eliminating the Utah Jazz (3-2) and completely surprising the Western Conference Lakers (4-1), the end of the memorable run came in the Western Conference finals, which they eventually lost to the Portland Trail Blazers by 2-4!