The NBA Playoffs are upon us and this year is looking like it will lead to some incredibly entertaining series. In anticipation for the playoffs, we thought we would put together our list of the best moments in NBA Playoffs history to get you ready. But first, let’s take a quick look at the playoff picture.
This season, both conferences are relatively competitive, but the best part about the NBA playoffs is any team can get hot at the right time and kick start an upset. In the Western Conference, the Spurs and Warriors are both putting together record setting seasons. If a team wins more than 65 games in a season, it’s an incredible feat, and both teams would be favorites for the NBA Championship in any other year. Plus, with talented teams like the Thunder and Clippers putting together strong seasons, there is no guarantee on who will be representing the West in the finals.
The Cavaliers look to have more of a lockdown on the Eastern Conference, especially since many believe their record doesn’t nearly match their potential. But, there’s no denying the strength of teams like the Raptors and Hawks. And, who knows… maybe even a team like the Celtics who seem to play better against the best teams could find some magic and go on a run.
As you can probably tell, this year is set to produce its own set of once-in-a-lifetime moments. And to make sure you won’t have to miss them, be sure to check out this guide to watching the NBA Playoffs legally without cable.
With all that being said, let’s look at some of our favorite moments from the past. Without further delay, here are our Top 5 Moments in NBA Playoff History:
The first one comes from the 1986 Western Conference Finals and Hall of Famer Ralph Sampson. This moment was chosen just based on the sheer insanity of the play and the fact it clinched the upset series victory for the Rockets over a strong Los Angeles Lakers team favored to win. Ralph Sampson somehow gets a shot up with less than a second on the clock that bounces multiple times on the rim and drops in for the win.
The next one is a little more recent, from the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers. This game nearly finished with two incredibly clutch shots from Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan. But, Derek Fisher closed it out in ridiculous fashion by hitting a buzzer beater even though there was only 0.4 seconds on the clock. Watch the whole sequence below:
While this next one did not win the game for the 1980 76ers, it has gone down as one of the most iconic plays in NBA history. Julius “Dr. J” Erving drove to the hoop and jumped from a place that looked nearly impossible to score from, yet he somehow scored and finished on the opposite side of the rim. The game happened in the 1980 NBA Finals, which the 76ers ultimately lost in 6 games to the Lakers.
This is one of my personal favorites, because while the play was incredibly important, the call by famed Boston Celtics announcer Johnny Most is one of my favorite calls in NBA history. The Pistons think thought they had Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals in hand until Larry Bird stole an inbound pass from Isaiah Thomas and Dennis Johnson cut to the hoop for a go ahead layup.
Finally, the last and best moment comes from the best player ever to play, Michael Jordan. In the 1998 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan stole the ball from Karl Malone and led the Bulls down court. With less than ten seconds he drove into the lane pumped on the brakes and hit the go-head 20-foooter over Byron Russell. The play is iconic in and of itself, but it also marked Jordan’s last shot in the NBA prior to his retirement from the Bulls. Plus, it clinched the Chicago Bulls 6th NBA Championship in 8 years.
There you have it – my top 5 favorite moments of the NBA Playoffs. Think you remember one better? Tell us about it!