Before Charles Barkley was on television with EJ slamming players in the studio, he was on the hardwood with KJ slamming over players. The 2006 Lakers were an overmatched in talent, but they came one game within pulling off an improbable upset. The only time a Lakers team nearly pulled off a bigger upset was in 1993, when league MVP Charles Barkley and the top seeded Suns were down 0-2 in their series to the Lakers, back in the days where teams still played best of 5 series in the first round. It was a Lakers team that consisted of a rapidly aging James Worthy and Magic Johnson’s successor, Sedale Threatt. For Lakers fans who don’t remember Threatt, here’s a clip.
Phoenix head coach Paul Westphal guaranteed his team would come back and win the series. Just as he predicted, the Suns would take the next three games against the Lakers, making it to the NBA Finals for their second and last time in their history, where they were obliterated by the Chicago Bulls team, completing one of the greatest dynasties ever assembled, led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and a coach named Phil Jackson.
Speaking of Phil Jackson, his Finals victory over Phoenix gave him the 3rd nba title of his illustrious career. In terms of success, Phil Jackson is regarded as the greatest coach in the history of professional sports. He has never missed the playoffs once in his coaching career and only has two losing postseasons ever –in 2006 and 2007 against Phoenix. Prior to that, Jackson has never lost in the first round of the playoffs, including his years without Michael Jordan. Phil Jackson should never be mentioned in the same breath as Randy Pfund, but the 1993 and 2006 postseason serves as a cautionary tale for Lakers fans that its not over ’til its over. In the upcoming series, expect the Zen Master to be as astute as ever.