With five games played, both LA teams are down 3-2 and are facing elimination. In addition to the fact everyone in the NBA League Office will lose their mind if both LA teams are out of the Playoffs in the First Round, there’s another fun fact to the Lakers-Suns series. We get to see if the Suns will avenge a loss that happened 22 years ago.
On May 28th, 1989, the Lakers were on a 10-game winning streak heading into Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. With another win, the ball club from LA would sweep their third consecutive series, and with that win, secure another ticket to the NBA Finals.
That LA team had Magic Johnson running the show and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in what would be his last NBA season. On the other side, Phoenix had Jeff Hornacek, Eddie Johnson, Tom Chambers, and Kevin Johnson.
The Suns were trying to avoid the sweep, but the best they could do was stay close at halftime when they were down by 11. Lakers won the third quarter with a 13-point lead, but the Suns weren’t willing to lose without a fight. However, the Lakers closed out the game and won 122-117 in the end.
Even though they had Magic on their team, another player won the game for the Lakers. Byron Scott exploded in that game and scored 35 points in 39 minutes of game time. Magic added 21 points and 20 assists. On the other side, Tom Chambers scored 41 for the Suns, but it wasn’t enough.
“Always in control. This team never – I don’t know what the word is to describe it – never gets scared. We just say, ‘OK, let’s make the play and win the game.‘ We always felt in control. We just made the plays. We made a couple of mental mistakes, but we corrected it from there. They kept coming back, coming back. But we made the plays.”Magic Johnson, LA Times
Even though they’ve dominated the Western Conference that year, the Lakers got a taste of their own medicine – the Detroit Pistons swept them in the 1989 Finals. For the 2021 Lakers, Magic had the main ingredient of the recipe to avoid defeat. They can’t get scared and have to be in control. With AD out and LeBron’s ankle not being 100%, the Lakers need to play a slow, methodical game.
If they get into a wild shootout with this young Phoenix team led by The Point God, it’s not going to end well for LeBron, Davis, and the crew.