Did Tim Donaghy Cost the Phoenix Suns & Steve Nash A Championship In 2007?

This past weekend, Steve Nash capped an 18-year career in the NBA by being enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

During his Hall of Fame career Nash was an eight-time all-star, a seven-time -member of the All-NBA team. Also, he won back to back Most Valuable Player Awards in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, as a member of the Phoenix Suns.

During his second stint in Phoenix from 2004-2012, Nash played with talented players such as Grant Hill, who was also a part of the 2018 Hall of Fame Class, Boris Diaw, Shawn Marion, Joe Johnson, Raja Bell, Leandro Barbosa, Walter McCarty, and of course Amare Stoudemire. Nash made sure that he mentioned Stoudemire’s name in his Hall of Fame Speech.

“In Phoenix, I got to play with Amare Stoudemire,” Nash said.

“I didn’t really watch a lot of film when I played. I certainly don’t want to look back now. But whenever something comes across my timeline, or I see a pick-and-roll with Amare, it makes me smile. This guy was the ultimate target for a point guard. He made the game a lot of fun.”

Recently Stoudemire spoke to Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson host of the Scoop B Radio Podcast about the 2007 playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs. Both teams met in the second round, which saw San Antonio win out in six games, but would of happen if Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw weren’t ever suspended?

In the final minutes of game four of the Western Conference Semifinals, Spurs power forward, Robert Horry, shoulder blocked Nash into the scorer’s table. Both Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw on the bench during this altercation and left to come to Nash’s aide. The NBA rulebook doesn’t allow players to leave the bench during an altercation resulting in a fine and a one-game suspension. Well, Amare and Boris hopped off the bench resulting in both being suspended for the fifth game and the shoulder check costed Horry two games.

“Boris and myself had no idea of that rule and we retaliate off natural reaction,” Stoudemire told Robinson.  He would continue “I was hoping the league would take that into consideration and give out a warning. But they came with the hammer, man.”

The Suns would go on to win the game tieing the series at two-all, but the damage was already done because they lost their second-best player in Stoudemire.  The Spurs would finish the Suns in six games.

“I think we would definitely have gotten to the Finals,” said Stoudemire.

Also in the interview with Robinson, Stoudemire cited disgrace NBA referee Tim Donaghy played a major role in the outcome of this series. Many can remember the 2006 NBA Finals featuring the Dallas Mavericks, which saw Dwyane Wade shoot 97 free throws in the series for the Miami Heat. Others might point to the 2002 Western Conference Finals featuring the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chris Webber led Sacramento Kings. The Kings would lose the series in seven, but not without the controversy.  Donaghy would later spend some time in prison for his participation in an NBA gambling scandal.

Back to  Stoudemire, “There were a lot of discrepancies with San Antonio,” he said.

In Donaghy’s book “Personal Foul” released back in  2009 two years after he resigned, he discussed how he thought the Suns were the best team in the league in 2007, but Tommy Nunez wasn’t a big fan of (Suns) owner Robert Sarver.

“I feel the Phoenix Suns were the best team in the league in 2007.  And that whole series was officiated poorly, and I give the reasons in the book as to why I feel it was officiated poorly. And one of the reasons is that Tommy Nunez was the supervisor of officials in that series. And he had a dislike for the (Suns) owner Robert Sarver, and he enjoyed the lifestyle in San Antonio and liked to get back in the next round of the playoffs and continue to go to San Antonio. So it was a situation that he was steering the series to San Antonio in tape sessions.”

This might have cost the Suns and Nash a championship because the San Antonio  Spurs went on to beat the Utah Jazz in 5 games in the Western Conference Finals, and then swept a Lebron led Cavaliers team in four games.

The full interview with Robinson and Stoudemire can be seen here.

 

 

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