1989–90 Phoenix Suns season

The 1989–90 NBA season was the 21st season for the Phoenix Suns in the National Basketball Association. Cotton Fitzsimmons was head coach for a club that returned to the Western Conference Finals. All home games were played at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Suns finished third in the Pacific Division with a 54–28 record. In the first round of the playoffs, the Suns defeated the 4th-seeded Utah Jazz in five games. In the semifinals, they upset the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in five games, but lost to the Portland Trail Blazers four games to two in the Western Conference Finals.

The season was highlighted by Tom Chambers setting a franchise record for points scored in one game, when on February 18, he scored 56 points on the road against Golden State Warriors. Just over a month later, he would break his own record when he scored 60 against Seattle SuperSonics on March 24. Chamber's record would be broken by Devin Booker on March 24th 2017 by scoring 70 points against the Boston Celtics.

Last season's Most Improved Player Kevin Johnson was selected to the 1990 NBA All-Star Game along with Chambers. It was his first All-Star selection.

NBA Draft

The Suns traded first-round pick Anthony Cook on draft night to the Detroit Pistons for 27th pick Kenny Battle and Micheal Williams. Battle played for a season and a half before being waived in January 1991. Micheal Williams would play six games for the Suns before being waived. The Suns received the 46th pick (Ricky Blanton) from the Chicago Bulls when they traded Craig Hodges for Ed Nealy. Blanton, after knee surgery, sat on the bench for the 89–90 season, and was waived shortly after the start of the 90–91 season. Mike Morrison played sparingly in the 89–90 season, and was traded before the start of the 90–91 season. Greg Grant played the season as a backup to Kevin Johnson, before being released in the 1990 offseason.

Roster

Phoenix Suns roster
PlayersCoaches
Pos.#Nat.NameHeightWeightDOB (Y-M-D)From
PG7United StatesJohnson, Kevin6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)180 lb (82 kg)1966-03-04California
PG10United StatesGrant, Greg5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)140 lb (64 kg)1966-08-29Trenton State
SG14United StatesHornacek, Jeff6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)190 lb (86 kg)1963-05-03Iowa State
SG3United StatesBattle, Kenny6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)210 lb (95 kg)1964-10-10Illinois
SG32United StatesMorrison, Mike6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)195 lb (88 kg)1967-08-16Loyola (MD)
G/F9United StatesMajerle, Dan6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)215 lb (98 kg)1965-09-09Central Michigan
G/F40United StatesMcGee, Mike6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)190 lb (86 kg)1959-07-29Michigan
SF8United StatesJohnson, Eddie6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)215 lb (98 kg)1959-05-01Illinois
PF24United StatesChambers, Tom6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)220 lb (100 kg)1959-06-21Utah
PF31United StatesRambis, Kurt6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)213 lb (97 kg)1958-02-25Santa Clara
F/C34United StatesPerry, Tim6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)200 lb (91 kg)1965-06-04Temple
C41United StatesWest, Mark6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)230 lb (104 kg)1960-11-05Old Dominion
C28United StatesLang, Andrew6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)245 lb (111 kg)1966-06-28Arkansas
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Regular season

Standings

Record vs. opponents

Playoffs

The Suns entered the postseason as the fifth seed in the Western Conference, opening the playoffs against the fourth-seeded Utah Jazz. With stomach flu limiting All-Star point guard Kevin Johnson to only 9 minutes, the Jazz took game one with a 17-point victory in Salt Lake City. Johnson returned for game two, leading the Suns to an 18-point victory. After splitting two games in Phoenix, the Suns headed back to Salt Lake for the decisive fifth game. Kevin Johnson sealed the game with a last-second jump shot to give the Suns a 104–102 victory.

The Suns would next face-off against the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, who finished the season with a league-best 63–19 record. Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons came into game one with an 0–37 record coaching against the Lakers at the Great Western Forum. The Suns had lost 21 consecutive games at the Forum dating back to 1984. They ended the streak with a 104–102 upset, stealing homecourt advantage. Center Mark West led the Suns with 24 points, 16 rebounds and 7 blocks. The Lakers would recover in game two, blowing out the Suns 100–124 to even the series. After winning games three and four in Phoenix, the Suns returned to the Forum with a 3–1 series lead. Despite an early 15-point lead and a 43-point performance from MVP Magic Johnson, the Suns rallied to a 106–103 victory, behind 37 points from Kevin Johnson.

The Suns headed to the Western Conference Finals to face the Portland Trail Blazers. Looking to steal homecourt advantage for the third straight series, the Suns fell 98–100 in a closely contested game one. A last second shot from reserve shooting guard Mike McGee was blocked by Blazers guard Danny Young. Game two saw the Suns run to a 22-point lead in the second quarter, finishing the first half leading 59–41. The Blazers launched a furious second-half comeback, tying the game 106–106 after a Terry Porter three-pointer with 28 seconds left. Kevin Johnson was immediately fouled, missing the first free throw and making the second to give the Suns a one-point lead. Porter would give the Blazers the lead after a 14-foot jump shot with 12 seconds left. Suns forward Eddie Johnson missed a 20-foot jumper with 4 seconds left, giving the Blazers a 108–107 victory. The Suns would beat the Blazers by 34 and 12 in games three and four in Phoenix, before the Blazers retook the series lead with a 6-point victory in game five. Fortune turned against the Suns in game six, when Kevin Johnson went down with a hamstring injury at the end of the second quarter. Shooting guard Jeff Hornacek led the team in Johnson's absence, scoring a career playoff high 36 points. The Suns led 109–108 with 55 seconds left in the game. Blazers forward Jerome Kersey blocked a shot by Hornacek and scored a fast-break layup, giving the Blazers a 110–109 lead with 27 seconds left. Looking to regain the lead, Suns forward Tom Chambers had the ball stripped by Buck Williams. Star Clyde Drexler would make two free-throws to put the Blazers up 112–109. Hornacek missed a last-second three-pointer, ending the Suns unlikely playoff run.

Game log

1990 playoff game log
First Round: 3–2 (Home: 1–1; Road: 2–1)
Conference Semifinals: 4–1 (Home: 2–0; Road: 2–1)
Conference Finals: 2–4 (Home: 2–1; Road: 0–3)
1990 playoff schedule

Player statistics

Legend
  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG% Field-goal percentage 3P% 3-point field-goal percentage FT% Free-throw percentage
 RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game SPG Steals per game
 BPG Blocks per game PPG Points per game

Season

* – Stats with the Suns.
† – Minimum 25 three-pointers made.
^ – Minimum 125 free throws made.

Playoffs

Awards and honors

Week/Month

  • Tom Chambers was named Player of the Week for games played February 5 through February 18.
  • Kevin Johnson was named Player of the Week for games played March 12 through March 18.

All-Star

  • Tom Chambers was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. Chambers finished 9th in voting among Western Conference forwards with 64,028 votes.
  • Kevin Johnson was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. Johnson finished 6th in voting among Western Conference guards with 78,812 votes.

Season

Transactions

Trades

June 27, 1989
To Detroit Pistons----To Phoenix Suns----
September 5, 1989
To Cleveland Cavaliers----To Phoenix Suns----
October 5, 1989
To Chicago Bulls----To Phoenix Suns----
December 13, 1989
To Charlotte Hornets----To Phoenix Suns----

Free agents

Uses material from the Wikipedia article 1989–90 Phoenix Suns season, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.