Role player remembrance: Shawn Marion’s greatest game

NBA Europe Live - Phoenix Suns vs Tel Aviv Maccabi - October 11, 2006
NBA Europe Live - Phoenix Suns vs Tel Aviv Maccabi - October 11, 2006 / Srdjan Stevanovic/GettyImages
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Why was this Marion’s greatest game ever?

Shawn Marion had his best statistical year in the 2005-2006 season, averaging 21.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and 1.7 BPG while shooting 52.5% from the field. All of these marks were career-highs for him and were good enough for Marion to make the All-NBA Third Team. This makes it even more understandable that his greatest game ever would come from that season’s 2006 playoff run.

After edging out a close 4-3 playoff series win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Phoenix Suns faced off with another Los Angeles team in the Elton Brand and Sam Cassell-led Clippers during the Western Conference Semifinals.

Marion stepped up in a huge way this series, with Amar’e Stoudemire missing the 2006 playoffs due to having knee surgery earlier in the year. “The Matrix” averaged 25.6 PPG and 12.6 RPG in the series, but he especially crushed the Clippers during their Game 5 double-OT marathon match.

The Suns entered game 5 tied 2-2 with LAC and in a game of wills, Marion played a team-high 55 minutes. He was clearly unafraid of the bright lights as he dropped a game-high 36 points, in addition to a game-high six points in the second overtime period.

While he did struggle from behind the arc in this game (0-5), he more than made up for it by pulling down an insane 20 rebounds. In fact, Marion grabbed 40% of Phoenix’s total rebounds and was also the best defender on the court to pair with his offensive output.

Steve Nash recorded 17 points and 13 assists in the 58-minute match and Raja Bell and Tim Thomas combined to hit 10 crucial three-pointers and score 47 points as a duo. Regardless, it was Marion who posted a 30.3% usage rate and was the primary two-way force that led the Suns to a pivotal 125-118 game-5 victory. His impressive stat line, along with the playoff stakes and the nature of it being an exhausting double-OT game, add up to make this Marion’s greatest game in his career.