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WESTERN CONFERENCE : Suns Seek Redemption Tonight

June 01, 1993|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns, suddenly with something to prove to themselves, get the chance tonight when the Western Conference finals return to America West Arena for Game 5.

The Suns left Seattle on Sunday with more than a 120-101 loss and more than a 2-2 tie in the best-of-seven matchup of Pacific Division teams. They left questioning their own effort.

"This was the first time I've felt we quit all year long," Danny Ainge said. "You saw what I saw. It just wasn't important enough to us."

Added Kevin Johnson: "It's almost June. The lack of effort was ridiculous. We're professionals."

The good news for the Suns is that this has been a series of quick turnarounds. The star in Phoenix's Game 1 victory was Cedric Ceballos, who came in averaging 11.3 minutes in the playoffs, then started and responded with a game-high 21 points. Two nights later, the SuperSonics got a 1-1 tie when Sam Perkins, six for 26 in the conference finals to that stage, made two three-pointers in the final 1:59.

So who is the pressure on now?

"The pressure's on them," SuperSonic Eddie Johnson said after the victory at Seattle. "They know they can't afford to lose Game 5 and then have to come back up here."

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