First off, this top 10 list could’ve easily been a top 100 greatest NBA playoff moments and it still would’ve been difficult to leave some great historical events off the list.
The NBA Playoffs are all about clutch 3-pointers, buzzer beating baskets and cinderella stories. As the 2017 playoffs are about to start, it’s the perfect time to revisit some of the greatest NBA Playoff moments in history.
10. RIP Lil Sis
Number 10 on this list of greatest NBA Playoff moments actually happened as I was writing this article. Some re-shuffling had to be done…
Isaiah Thomas’ 22-year-old sister, Chyna Thomas, died in a single-car crash early Saturday in Washington state. Thomas, overcome with emotions multiple times before the start of Sunday’s Game 1 against the Bulls, finished with 33 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds over 38 minutes. Even though the Celtics lost the game, Thomas’ courage and strength in such adversity was undeniable.
9. Michael Jordan drops 63
31 years ago Michael Jordan scored 63 points against the Celtics in Game 2 of the 1986 Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The 63 points MJ dropped in that game remain the most scored in a single postseason game in NBA history. And he did it at the age of 23. Spooky!!??
8. Moses Malone – Fo, Fo, Fo
Before the 1977 NBA Playoffs, most people expected the 76ers to go all the way. When asked how Philadelphia would perform in the Playoffs, Moses Malone issued what would become a famous prediction: “Fo’, Fo’, Fo’,” meaning that the 76ers would win each round in a sweep on its way to the Championship.
Philly did suffer one loss on their way to their championship rings. Which updated Malone’s prediction to `Fo’, Fi’, Fo’.
7. Reggie Miller 8 points in 9 seconds
Being a huge Reggie Miller fan myself when I was growing up, I reenacted those 9 seconds many times at the local basketball court during my teenage years.
Now that I’m older and wiser, I’m not going to try to describe that moment in this article. I’m simply going to let you guys watch the video above and enjoy it like I did. You’re welcome!
6. Jordan with the flu is still Jordan
So sick and suffering from flu-like symptoms that at times he staggered, a dehydrated and exhausted Michael Jordan wills himself to play in Game 5 of the 1997 Finals with the Bulls and Jazz tied, 2-2.
Jordan scored 38 points that night in a pivotal Game 5, adding to the Bulls star’s legend as a clutch performer and relentless competitor.
5. Mr. Clutch sinks a 60-footer
When it comes to buzzer-beaters, it doesn’t get better then this shot. Lakers guard Jerry West, who earned the nickname “Mr. Clutch” for his ability to perform under pressure, drilled this amazing 60-foot buzzer-beater in Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals.
You might also recognise Jerry West from being the silhouette in the NBA logo.
4. Greatest game of all time?
It was Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals, a series that was tied 2-2 between the tradition-steeped Boston Celtics and the upstart Phoenix Suns, a team born out of expansion less than a decade earlier.
The game went three overtimes. The first Finals game ever to last that long and had enough thrills, twists and turns for a whole series.
3. Willis Reed gives the Knicks their first title
An injury was supose to keep Willis Reed out of Game 5 of the 1970 NBA Finals. But Reed took an injection to dull the pain in his leg, and just moments before tipoff he limped through the tunnel and onto the court. Waves of cheers cascaded down from the Garden stands as fans caught sight of the Knicks’ captain, a sight that was not lost on New York’s opponents.
Reed scored the Knicks’ first two baskets of the game. Those would prove to be his only points, but his presence was more than enough to inspire the Knicks to a 113-99 victory and the franchise’s first NBA Championship.
2. Magic does it all
When the Abdul-Jabbar-less Lakers hit the court for Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, most people thought it was game over for LA. But one man didn’t, his name is Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Johnson scored 42 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and handed out 7 assists as the Lakers stunned the 76ers 123-107 to clinch the first of Magic’s five NBA championships.
1. Michael Jordan’s last shot with the Bulls
When you mention to basketball fans the words “Jordan Game 6”, they know exactly what you’re talking about. If not then they need to be schooled immediately so please share this article with as many people as you can. Preach!
Top 10 Greatest NBA Playoff Moments
Yes many other moments, games and players could’ve made the cut. And I could also go on and on with extra honourable mentions. But to be honest, I’d rather just go watch the NBA Finals on television. What about you?
by Ed Toussaint – contributor