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Top 10 Most Iconic NBA Finals Performances of All Time

Kobe Bryant Scores 40 Points to Take Game 1 of NBA Finals 2009

The NBA Finals is the biggest stage of the NBA postseason, and it is an opportunity for the best teams that made it out of the grueling playoffs to show their skills. Every team in the finals is looking to defeat their last opponent to clinch the coveted NBA title.

However, the finals are not only about winning the trophy; it is an opportunity for the NBA stars to showcase their talent. Throughout history, we have seen some of the most memorable performances by basketball legends in the NBA Finals. Today, let’s take a look at the ten most iconic NBA Finals performances of all time.

Kawhi Leonard, popularly called The Klaw, is known for his exceptional basketball skills. In Game 4 of the NBA Finals in 2019, Leonard showed Warriors dynasty that he should be taken seriously. Leonard took control of the game, scoring 36 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in just 41 minutes, with an impressive 50 percent shooting efficiency from the field. His efforts helped the Raptors take a 3-1 lead that eventually led to a championship.

Kevin Durant is one of the most controversial NBA players. He has been the subject of much criticism for taking a shortcut to win a chip. However, his production and performances with the Warriors say otherwise. In Game 5 of the NBA Finals in 2017, Durant finished with 39 points, six rebounds, and five assists with a 70 percent shooting efficiency from the field. He also made five threes from rainbow country to win the Finals MVP after the title-clinching game.

In an attempt to prove that he could win a championship without Shaq, Kobe Bryant brought the Lakers back to the Finals in 2009. Going up against Dwight Howard and the Magic, Bryant immediately set the tone of the series in Game 1. He exploded for 40 points while also grabbing eight rebounds and eight assists in a game that lasted only four quarters.

The Lakers needed to bounce back after a deflating Game 5 loss against the gritty Pacers team led by Reggie Miller. Shaquille O’Neal came in for the rescue in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2000. Shaq proved to everyone why he’s the MVP, recording 41 points, 12 rebounds, and four rejections to win the first championship of the Lakers’ three-peat.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo, also known as the Greek Freak, proved that he can win in the brightest stage. Despite dealing with knee injuries early in the playoffs, he dominated Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2021. With the chance to win it all, he shut down the Suns’ chances of winning a championship, scoring 50 points and 14 rebounds in a one-of-a-kind championship-clinching contest.

Jimmy Butler carried the injury-hit Heat team on his back in Game 3 of the NBA Finals in 2020. Despite being pitted against the favored Lakers team, Butler finished with 40 points, 11 rebounds, and 13 assists to prevent a 3-0 series hole.

Although Stephen Curry and the Warriors benefitted from Kevin Durant’s arrival, no one can take away the fact that the Warriors thrived because of Stephen Curry’s hot shooting. In Game 2 of the NBA Finals in 2018, Curry dropped 33 points while breaking the Finals record for most threes in a single game with nine. The Warriors went on to sweep the Cavs to capture their second straight NBA championship.

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving conspired to score 41 points apiece in Game 5 of the NBA finals in 2016. It was the first time that a pair of teammates scored 40 points in a single Finals game. Moreover, James also added 16 rebounds and five assists. They sparked the most historic comeback in Finals history by climbing all the way from the series deficit to winning the Cavaliers’ first championship banner.

Tim Duncan is a quiet player who lets his game do the talking. In Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 2003, Duncan dropped a near quadruple-double stat line of 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, and eight blocks to capture his second NBA championship at the expense of the Nets.

Michael Jordan is one of the most iconic NBA players in history. In Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 1998 against the Jazz, Jordan hit a game-winning jumper to seal the franchise’s second three-peat. Jordan also finished the game with 45 points, spiked by three threes while shooting 43 percent from the field overall.

NBA Finals serves as the biggest platform for the top teams of the season, and over the years, it has produced some of the most memorable performances that the world has ever seen. These performances are the reason why basketball fans around the globe eagerly wait for the Finals every year, and this season is no different.

Basketball is not just a sport; it is a means of expressing oneself. Fans of the game always look up to their favorite players and yearn for their heroics in the Finals. The true basketball lovers know that the Finals are more than just about winning or losing. It is a celebration of the game, where the greatest basketball players come together to showcase their skills and leave indelible marks.

The NBA Finals is where men become legends. It is the stage where players push themselves to the limit, knowing that their performance will be etched in the history books. While winning the championship is the ultimate goal, it is the individual performances that make the game memorable and inspire generations to come.

The NBA has been home to some of the best athletes in the world, and even among them, some players are remembered for their exceptional performances in the NBA Finals. These performances are what make the NBA so special and keep the fans coming back for more.

As we look forward to this season’s NBA Finals, it’s time to remember the great performances of the past. The NBA Finals has produced some of the most incredible moments in sports history, and as basketball fans, we cherish them all. So, let’s celebrate the legends of the game and hope that this year’s Finals can provide us with another unforgettable moment that will be remembered for years to come.


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