By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on April 25, 2014
The 2014 NBA Playoffs are still in their infant stages, but that doesn’t mean we’ve been shorted on good basketball and big performances. Most notably, you have to look at the series that LaMarcus Aldridge is having. With more monster games yet to be had this postseason, what are the 10 greatest single-game playoff performances in history?
On his way to an NBA Championship, Dirk unleashed an absolutely monster performance in game one of the Western Conference Finals against the Thunder in 2011. He finished the night with 48 points, six rebounds, four assists and four blocks while shooting 12-15 from the floor and a ridiculous 24-24 from the foul line. Talk about domination.
Tim Duncan is one of the best to ever play this game and that may have never been more one display than in the 2003 NBA Finals in game one. Duncan came out and just dominated in every facet, putting up 32 points, 20 rebounds, six assists, seven blocks and three steals on 11-17 shooting from the floor.
You don’t earn the nickname “Big Game James” by accident. In the decisive game of the 1988 NBA Finals, James Worthy delivered in a monster way. En route to the Finals MVP, Worthy put up 36 points, 10 assists, 16 rebounds and two steals while shooting 15-22 from the floor. That’s definitely how you make a statement in the biggest moment.
Back before The Decision and before he silenced his “unclutch” critics, LeBron went off on his way to his first trip to the Finals. In an overtime game in the 2007 conference finals, James put up 48 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals on 18-33 shooting. Even crazier is that LeBron put up 29 of the Cavs’ final 30 points. Absolutely unreal.
There are a bevy of games from Shaq in the postseason, considering he’s one of the most dominant big men in history. In game one of the Western Semifinals in 2001, though, he went crazy. Scoring 44 points on 17-32 shooting is solid, but the fact that he also notched 21 rebounds (11 offensive), four assists and seven blocks as well makes it one that stands out more than others.
Speaking of dominant big men, Hakeem Olajuwon is right up there. At just 24 years old in 1987, he put up one of the most dominant lines ever. The Dream posted 49 point, 25 rebounds, two assists, two steals and six blocks on 19-33 shooting. The big man could really do it all and every ounce of his ability was on display that night.
When Larry Bird sees you play and says “That was God disguised as” you, you probably did something right. No surprise that he was referring to Michael Jordan, who lit up the Celtics in 1986 for 63 points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Oh yeah, he put up his 63 without a single three-point attempts. He is MJ, after all.
There haven’t been many players like Charles Barkley ever in the NBA and few have been as dominant. In 1994, he had the shining moment of his postseason career when he dropped 56 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block while shooting an unbelievable 23-31 from the floor. Chuck may have been undersized, but that definitely never stopped him.
You may know this better as the “Flu Game.” While it’s debated whether it was the flu or a hangover, Jordan was obviously not healthy when he came out and delivered a masterful performance. Having to be held up by teammates on numerous occasions, Jordan still put up 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals on 13-27 shooting to lead the Bulls to a comeback win.
Magic Johnson had mystique coming out of college, but nothing added to his mystique in the NBA than when the rookie point guard played center for an injured Kareem in the 1980 Finals. How did he respond? Of course, with 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and a block on 14-23 shooting as he captured his first ring. Magic, indeed.
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