1989–90 Phoenix Suns season

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1989–90 Phoenix Suns season
Head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons
General manager Jerry Colangelo
Owner(s) Jerry Colangelo
Arena Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record 54–28 (.659)
Place Division: 3rd (Pacific)
Conference: 5th (Western)
Playoff finish West Conference Finals
(eliminated 2-4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Radio KTAR
< 1988–89 1990–91 >

The 1989–90 Phoenix Suns season was the 21st season for the Phoenix Suns of 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 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. Just over a month later, he would break his own record when he scored 60 against Seattle on March 24.[1]

NBA Draft[edit]

Main article: 1989 NBA Draft
Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 24 Anthony Cook Forward  United States Arizona
2 46 Ricky Blanton Forward  United States Louisiana State
2 51 Mike Morrison Guard  United States Loyola (MD)
2 52 Greg Grant Guard  United States Trenton State

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 shorty 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[edit]

Phoenix Suns roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB (Y-M-D) From
F 3 United States Battle, Kenny 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1964-10-10 Illinois
F 17 United States Blanton, Ricky (IN) 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1966-04-21 LSU
F/C 24 United States Chambers, Tom 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1959-06-21 Utah
G 10 United States Grant, Greg 5 ft 7 in (1.7 m) 140 lb (64 kg) 1966-08-29 Trenton State
G 14 United States Hornacek, Jeff 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1963-05-03 Iowa State
F 8 United States Johnson, Eddie 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1959-05-01 Illinois
G 7 United States Johnson, Kevin 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1966-03-04 California
C 28 United States Lang, Andrew 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 245 lb (111 kg) 1966-06-28 Arkansas
G/F 9 United States Majerle, Dan 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1965-09-09 Central Michigan
G 40 United States McGee, Mike 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1959-07-29 Michigan
G 32 United States Morrison, Mike 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1967-08-16 Loyola (MD)
F 34 United States Perry, Tim 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1965-06-04 Temple
F 31 United States Rambis, Kurt 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 213 lb (97 kg) 1958-02-25 Santa Clara
C 41 United States West, Mark 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1960-11-05 Old Dominion
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)

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

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Mark West Andrew Lang
PF Tom Chambers Tim Perry
SF Kurt Rambis Eddie Johnson Kenny Battle Ricky Blanton
SG Jeff Hornacek Dan Majerle Mike McGee Mike Morrison
PG Kevin Johnson Greg Grant

Regular season[edit]

Standings[edit]

Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Los Angeles Lakers 63 19 .768 37–4 26–15 22–6
x-Portland Trail Blazers 59 23 .720 4 35–6 24–17 20–8
x-Phoenix Suns 54 28 .659 9 32–9 22–19 20–8
Seattle SuperSonics 41 41 .500 22 30–11 11–30 11–17
Golden State Warriors 37 45 .451 26 27–14 10–31 11–17
Los Angeles Clippers 30 52 .366 33 20–21 10–31 7–21
Sacramento Kings 23 59 .280 40 16–25 7–34 7–21
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Los Angeles Lakers 63 19 .768
2 y- San Antonio Spurs 56 26 .683 7
3 x-Portland Trail Blazers 59 23 .720 4
4 x-Utah Jazz 55 27 .671 8
5 x-Phoenix Suns 54 28 .659 9
6 x-Dallas Mavericks 47 35 .573 16
7 x-Denver Nuggets 43 39 .524 20
8 x-Houston Rockets 41 41 .500 22
9 Seattle SuperSonics 41 41 .500 22
10 Golden State Warriors 37 45 .451 26
11 Los Angeles Clippers 30 52 .366 33
12 Sacramento Kings 23 59 .280 40
13 Minnesota Timberwolves 22 60 .268 41
14 Charlotte Hornets 19 63 .232 44

Playoffs[edit]

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[edit]

1990 playoff game log
1990 playoff schedule

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games 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[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Kenny Battle 59 8 12.4 .547 .250 .671 2.1 0.6 .6 .2 4.1
Tom Chambers 81 81 37.6 .501 .279 .861 7.0 2.3 1.1 .6 27.2
Armon Gilliam* 16 7 16.7 .430 . .696 4.4 0.5 .4 .3 8.9
Greg Grant 67 3 10.1 .384 .188 .661 0.9 2.5 .5 .0 3.1
Jeff Hornacek 67 60 34.0 .536 .408 .856 4.7 5.0 1.7 .2 17.6
Eddie Johnson 64 4 28.3 .453 .380 .917^ 3.8 1.7 .5 .2 16.9
Kevin Johnson 74 74 37.6 .499 .195 .838 3.6 11.4 1.3 .2 22.5
Andrew Lang 74 0 13.7 .557 . .653 3.7 0.3 .3 1.8 3.5
Tim Legler 11 0 7.5 .379 .000 1.000^ 0.7 0.5 .2 .0 2.5
Dan Majerle 73 23 30.7 .424 .238 .762 5.9 2.6 1.4 .4 11.1
Mike McGee 14 7 20.0 .483 .348 .476 2.6 1.1 .6 .1 7.3
Mike Morrison 36 1 4.3 .338 .286 .800 0.6 0.3 .1 .0 2.0
Tim Perry 60 18 10.2 .513 1.000 .589 2.5 0.3 .4 .4 4.2
Kurt Rambis* 58 45 25.1 .514 .000 .722 7.0 1.8 1.2 .5 5.4
Mark West 82 79 29.3 .625 . .691 8.9 0.5 .4 2.2 10.5
Micheal Williams* 6 0 4.3 .200 . .500 0.2 0.7 .0 .0 0.8

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

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Kenny Battle 8 4.3 .308 . 1.000 0.6 0.0 .0 .0 1.1
Tom Chambers 16 38.3 .425 .263 .879 6.7 1.9 .4 .4 22.2
Greg Grant 7 6.7 .450 .333 . 0.9 1.4 .3 .0 1.4
Jeff Hornacek 16 36.4 .511 .250 .932 3.9 4.6 1.5 .0 18.6
Eddie Johnson 16 21.1 .450 .395 .787 3.6 1.1 .6 .2 12.3
Kevin Johnson 16 36.4 .479 .182 .821 3.3 10.6 1.6 .0 21.3
Andrew Lang 12 7.8 .667 . .571 1.7 0.2 .2 .8 1.3
Dan Majerle 16 29.9 .487 .333 .785 5.1 2.1 1.2 .1 12.6
Mike McGee 10 4.4 .350 .429 .250 0.4 0.2 .1 .1 1.8
Tim Perry 11 9.1 .520 . .444 1.9 0.2 .3 .5 3.1
Kurt Rambis 16 24.1 .444 .000 .679 7.7 1.4 .5 .5 4.2
Mark West 16 34.0 .577 . .540 10.3 0.3 .2 2.6 11.1

Awards and honors[edit]

Week/Month[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Transactions[edit]

Trades[edit]

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[edit]