Game 4 of the 2007 Western Conference Finals. Suns vs Spurs in San Antonio. The Suns lead the Spurs 100-97 with 10.2 seconds left in the game.
The ball is in Steve Nash’s hands with the Spurs having to intentionally foul. That’s when Robert Horry hip-checks Nash into the scorer’s table, starting a fight and getting himself ejected.
The Suns would win that game 104-98 and level the series at 2-2, but the damage was far from done.
When Nash got hit, Amar’e Stoudemire and Boris Diaw, who were sitting on the bench, just simply stepped onto the court. However, NBA rules at the time called for a one-game suspension for anyone that stepped on the court from the bench.
Without these two extremely important players, Phoenix would drop a close Game 5 at home and then Game 6 in San Antonio, losing the series 4-2.
But what if Horry never hip-checked Nash, and the ensuing events never happened?
Phoenix only lost by three points in Game 5, and with Stoudemire and Diaw, they likely would have made up for those three points and won the game for Phoenix, giving them a 3-2 lead in the series.
With momentum behind their back, Phoenix could have potentially walked into San Antonio and won the series in Game 6, or they could’ve lost a close game, taking the series to a 7th game.
In Game 7, Phoenix would have home-court advantage. In a close-fought matchup between two relatively equal teams, Phoenix most likely would have pulled off a victory because they were at home and were the better team.
If they won, they would have gone to the Finals to play a Cavaliers team that was carried by Lebron.
This Cavaliers team would likely be no match for the Suns. The Suns were a much more rounded and better team. A team that was swept by the Spurs in the actual 2007 Finals would have probably met the same fate against the Suns.
The Suns would be NBA Champions for the first time in franchise history.
Robert Horry and NBA rules probably robbed Phoenix of an NBA Title.
Image: Mark J. Rebilas/US PRESSWIRE