Although the Phoenix Suns have never won the NBA championship, there have been many great postseason performances and moments in the team’s history. Charles Barkley, for one, took control of numerous crucial playoff games in a Phoenix uniform, as the NBA legend and former MVP will forever be seen as one of the greatest players who never won an NBA title.

The list of other great players who starred for Phoenix in the postseason includes Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Kevin Johnson and, most recently, Chris Paul and Devin Booker. All of these players have left their mark on Suns franchise history.

When was the last time the Suns won a championship?

Despite appearing in the NBA Finals three times, the Phoenix Suns have never won a championship. They last appeared in the finals in 2021, when they faced Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite winning that series’ first two games, the Suns came up short and were eliminated by NBA champion Milwaukee in Game 6.

Phoenix Suns Playoff History

Prior to their run to the 2021 NBA Finals, the Suns had faced a 10-year playoff drought -- the longest in team history. Their previous playoff appearance had come against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2010 Conference Finals, where they lost 4-2.

The Suns enjoyed a consistent run of playoff appearances from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, including a trip to the 1993 NBA Finals against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. The Suns, who were successful in building a roster around Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, and Dan Majerle, fought hard against the Bulls in 1993 but were unable to stop the force that was Chicago during that era.

The Suns’ three NBA Finals appearances all resulted in six-game series losses. They fell 4-2 to the Boston Celtics in 1976, 4-2 to the Chicago Bulls in 1993, and 4-2 to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021.

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest Individual Single-Game Performances in Suns Playoff history

  1. Amar’e Stoudemire -- 2010 Western Conference Finals vs Los Angeles Lakers, Game 3

After losing the first two games of the 2010 NBA Western Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Suns faced a critical matchup in Game 3.

Fortunately, Amar’e Stoudemire chose that day to light up the series with 42 points and 11 rebounds. The Suns power forward dominated the game for 42 minutes, working against Lakers big man Pau Gasol, who was considered one of the best in the league.

Stoudemire and Steve Nash made for one of the best combinations in recent Suns history and together put up some of Phoenix’s best playoff stats in 2010.

  1. Rex Chapman -- 1997 First Round vs Seattle SuperSonics, Game 1

Four years after a 1993 meeting in the Western Conference Finals, the Phoenix Suns again faced the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1997 playoffs’ opening round, and it was Rex Chapman's turn to get the series off to a rousing start.

Playing alongside Jason Kidd and Kevin Johnson, Chapman showcased his exceptional shooting skills in Game 1 vs. Seattle -- sinking 3-pointers from various spots on the court, including the top of the key, the corner, and anywhere else he got the ball.

The small forward made nine 3-pointers, good for a Phoenix Suns playoff record. He went 9-for-17 from behind the arc as part of a career-high 42-point performance that helped the Suns open the series with a win on the road.

It’s important to note that Phoenix’s Jason Richardson nearly matched Chapman’s feat when he made eight 3-pointers in Game 3 of the Suns’ 2010 series against the Portland Trail Blazers. Richardson’s performance might not have broken any Suns franchise records, but it was one of the greatest shooting nights in franchise history.

  1. Devin Booker -- 2021 Western Conference Finals vs Los Angeles Clippers, Game 1

By 2021, the Phoenix Suns had not been to the NBA Finals since Charles Barkley had helped them get there in 1993. Nearly 30 years later, Devin Booker was determined to make a statement in the opening game of the Western Conference Finals against the Clippers, which is exactly what Booker did.

Playing without Chris Paul, the Suns took the early Game 1 lead over a Clippers team missing Kawhi Leonard. L.A. fought back, but Booker's efforts were enough to claim the series-opener for Phoenix. He iced the game by grabbing a rebound to put the Suns out of the Clippers’ reach with moments left in the game.

Booker ended Game 1 with a triple-double -- 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. He didn’t merely cover for Paul. He dominated and gave the Suns an edge that would eventually result in a series victory and return to the NBA Finals.

  1. Charles Barkley -- 1993 Western Conference Finals vs Seattle SuperSonics, Game 5

Charles Barkley gave many of the greatest performances in Suns playoff history, including two huge nights against the Seattle SuperSonics that helped the Suns reach the 1993 NBA Finals.

In Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against Seattle, Barkley displayed the outstanding form that had won him the MVP award for 1992-93. He posted an elite-level triple-double of 43 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. That showing reclaimed the upper hand for the Suns in their back-and-forth series with the Sonics.

What Suns fans didn’t realize at the time was that Barkley’s best game of the series was yet to come.

  1. Steve Nash -- 2006 Western Conference Finals vs Dallas Mavericks, Game 1

The 2005-06 Suns survived back-to-back seven-game series against the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers to set up a Western Conference Finals series with Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns’ playoff road had already been quite the challenge, but their biggest test was yet to come.

The Suns were the series underdog, yet they had a point to prove from the moment they arrived at Dallas’ American Airlines Arena for the series opener. Legendary Suns guard Steve Nash was outstanding in Game 1, scoring 27 points and adding a whopping 16 assists to help Phoenix upset the Mavericks on the road.

While they weren’t able to go on and win the series, the Suns’ Game 1 in Dallas was one of Nash’s very best games. He had a huge impact on the team’s 2006 playoff run, just as he had on so many other occasions for Phoenix.

  1. Kevin Johnson -- 1990 Western Conference Finals vs Los Angeles Lakers, Game 5

Prior to 1990, the Phoenix Suns had never beaten the Lakers in the NBA playoffs. They’d been knocked out by Los Angeles six times in six attempts, dating all the way back to their very first playoff appearance in 1970, when they lost a seven-game series against Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, and the legendary Lakers of that era.

Phoenix had also lost to the purple and gold in 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, and 1989, when the Lakers beat the Suns in a four-game Western Conference Finals sweep.

One member of that defeated 1989 team was Kevin Johnson, who was hungry for a shot at redemption when the teams met again in 1990. When that moment came, Johnson and the Suns were ready to say “no more” to the Lakers. Phoenix jumped out to a 3-1 series lead, and it was their point guard Johnson who closed it out with a legendary Game 5 performance.

Johnson scored 37 points with eight assists in Game 5, and the Suns won a series against the Lakers for the first time in franchise history with a statement 106-103 win at the Forum.

  1. Charles Barkley -- 1994 First Round vs Golden State Warriors, Game 3

Coming off a disappointing 1993 NBA Finals loss to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, the Phoenix Suns were seeking quick redemption the following year. That drove them to jump out to a two-game lead over the Golden State Warriors in the opening round of the 1994 NBA playoffs.

In 1994, the first round of the playoffs was a best-of-5, rather than a best-of-7 series, so the Suns only had to win Game 3 against Golden State to reach the next round. They did it in style, led by a record-breaking performance from Charles Barkley.

Game 3 vs. the Warriors was a high-scoring affair, as Golden State’s Chris Mullin and Latrell Sprewell both had strong scoring nights. Barkley, however, was almost perfect for four quarters. The Suns legend set a new personal career-high with 56 points on 23-for-31 shooting. His 56 points were also the most ever scored by a Phoenix player in a single playoff game – a record that still stands.

It was one of the best playoff appearances in the history of the Phoenix Suns. Barkley ended the game with 56 points, 14 rebounds and four assists, and the Suns advanced to the next playoff round.

  1. Kevin Johnson -- 1995 Western Conference Semifinals vs Houston Rockets, Game 7

The Suns’ 1995 playoff series against the defending NBA champion Houston Rockets was Kevin Johnson's moment to shine for the franchise. To reach the Western Conference finals, the Suns would have to get past a Rockets team led by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. The teams had faced each other in the same round one year earlier, and the Rockets had defeated Phoenix in seven games on their way to the NBA title.

Seeking sweet revenge, Kevin Johnson had already come up with one of the best performances of his career in Game 4 of the series. Johnson scored 43 points and nine assists in a win that had given Phoenix a 3-1 lead over Houston. He would be just as important in Game 7, when he posted some of the best individual playoff stats in Suns history.

Phoenix had lost Games 5 and 6, setting the stage for a win-or-go home Game 7 against the Rockets -- the second such Game 7 in as many years. This time around, Phoenix would get to face the Rockets in their own arena.

Johnson went on to have 46 points and 10 assists in Game 7, which came down to an exchange of free throws in the dying seconds. The Rockets eked out a 115-114 victory to once again eliminate the Suns from the playoffs. Losing took some of the shine off this historic performance by KJ, but it shouldn’t have. He shot 22 free throws in the game, missing only his last one, which would have given the Suns a one-point lead with 20 seconds to play.

Despite a heartbreaking ending, Kevin Johnson's Game 7 performance, not to mention his Game 4 performance, against Houston deserves a strong spot on this list.

  1. Chris Paul -- 2021 Western Conference Finals vs Los Angeles Clippers, Game 6

Chris Paul was unable to play in the first two games of the Suns’ 2021 Conference Finals series against his former team, but when he came back to face the Clippers, he left his mark with one of the best series-ending performances in team history.

Paul had returned in Game 3 but saved his standout performance for the series-clinching game. With a 3-2 lead going into Game 6 on the road, Paul stepped up on the biggest stage with a lights-out performance.

In just 35 minutes of playing time, Paul scored 41 points. That included making a remarkable seven of eight 3-point attempts and eight assists as the Suns powered into the NBA Finals. Phoenix dominated the Clippers, winning the final game 130-103 and heading to the Finals for the first time in 28 years.

Chris Paul's performance might have been the best playoff effort by any player in Suns history. Given the intensity of the moment, and Paul’s play in the clutch, it came very close to being No. 1 on this list.

  1. Charles Barkley -- 1993 Western Conference Finals vs Seattle SuperSonics, Game 7

Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns’ brilliant playoff series against the Seattle SuperSonics in 1993 went all the way to a Game 7. The two teams had traded wins throughout the series, which came down to a winner-takes-all finale at the Suns’ home arena.

After bullying the Sonics in Game 5 with one of his very best playoff performances, Barkley came out for Game 7 intent on taking over the series and getting his Suns into the NBA Finals.

Barkley might have appeared unstoppable in Game 5, but he took it to another level in Game 7. Sir Charles finished the game with 44 points and 24 rebounds as the Suns dismantled the SuperSonics in front of a deafening home crowd. Phoenix fans chanted “MVP, MVP” as the game drew to its close, and Barkley cemented his legacy as one of the all-time great Phoenix Suns postseason performers.

Barkley was exceptional on the boards that day, and every bucket looked like a no-doubter by the man on a mission to claim a ring that might finally do justice to his brilliant career. There aren’t many players in league history that NBA fans wish could have won a championship more than Charles Barkley.

Parameters for ranking

These legendary showings by some of the all-time great Phoenix Suns players were ranked according to the significance of the moment  as well as the overall “wow factor” of the performances themselves.

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