Today in Sports History: May 4th

Charles Barkley Greatest Games:56 Points Against Warriors(1994 Playoffs R1 G3) (via king1991c)

5/04/1994 - Barkley torches Warriors for 56

Six months earlier, Warriors rookie Chris Webber had posterized Charles Barkley with a behind-the-back dunk that you still see clips of today. Now it was Sir. Charles' turn to get on the highlight reel. In Game 3 of a first round matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns -- the two highest scoring teams in the league -- Barkley showed the rookie who's boss. He scored 27 points in the opening quarter and made all 11 of his shot attempts; he had 38 by the end of the first half and finished with 56 points on 23 of 31 shooting. Phoenix out-gunned the Warriors, 140-133, to sweep the series in three games.

"He was taking double fade-away shots, step-back three-pointers," said Webber, who finished with 16 points, 13 assists, and 8 rebounds. "When he is like that you can triple-team and it doesn't do anything. He is the heart and soul of the Phoenix team."

Barkley, whose point total was a career-high, was so into it that when he scored twelve straight to begin the game, he yelled to Warriors coach Don Nelson, "You gonna double me?" His 27-point quarter was just two shy of the record set by Sleepy Floyd, his 38 first half points were a postseason high, and his 56 total points were the third most in playoff history -- only Michael Jordan (63) and Elgin Baylor (61) had scored more.

"Obviously I was making a lot of shots," Barkley said. "They kind of forced the issue by not doubling me. I hope it's not the last time I see single coverage. I kind of like it."

The Warriors' loss was the beginning of a long downward spiral. Webber and Nelson stopped getting along and C-Webb was traded after one season in the Bay Area. The team slumped to a 26-56 record in 1995 and failed to make the postseason for another dozen years. To the surprise of many, Webber finished his career in 2008 with a final stop in Golden State, who were still being coached by Don Nelson. The two of them were able to get along, but Webber's best days were behind him and he left the team after about a month.

5/04/2006 - Thomas three saves Suns' hide

With under thirty seconds to go in Game 6 of their first round series with the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers held a tentative three-point lead. The Lakers led the best-of-seven series 3-2, and needed only a defensive stop to secure the upset.

With L.A. leading 105-102, the Suns kicked the ball around until Steve Nash was found open in the corner. The reigning MVP missed the potential game-tier, however the ball caromed far off the rim and Shawn Marion recovered it. With about ten seconds left he threw it over to Tim Thomas, who pump-faked to send Kwame Brown flying past him. Thomas' longball was nothing but net, knotting the score at 105 and sending the game to overtime.

The Suns scored 21 points in the extra session and pulled away to even the series. Kobe Bryant scored 50 in defeat, one of the largest totals of anyone on the losing side of a playoff game. In Game 7, the Suns obliterated the Lakers, who blew a golden opportunity to wrap things up in Game 6. Tim Thomas, who the Suns had signed midway through the year when Kurt Thomas went down, wound up making the shot of the series -- if not for him, the Lakers and Clippers would've met in the second round.

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