Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



Counting Down the 20 Greatest NBA Finals of All-Time 3

Posted on May 31, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Willis Reed scored only four points in the seventh game of the 1970 NBA Finals, but his mere presence on the court helped lift the Knicks to a championship.

The NBA Finals begin tonight, as the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks battle it out for the Larry O’Brien trophy.

With that in mind, it’s time to take a look back at the 20 greatest NBA Finals of all time.

These are the 20 best series, not best moments, so moments like Magic Johnson’s “junior, junior” sky-hook are not on this list.

To get on this list, the series had to feature multiple close games or more than one classic moment or performance.

So, here are the 20 greatest NBA Finals of all time:

20. 2010 Lakers-Celtics
The latest edition of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry was another seven-game series as the Lakers avenged their loss to Boston in the 2008 Finals, with a win over the Celtics in 2010.

Five of the seven games were decided by single digits and featured Ray Allen’s record-breaking performance in Game 2 with eight three pointers.

Game 7 was low-scoring but memorable as the Lakers overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, to pull out an 83-79 win.

19. 1974 Celtics-Bucks

The home court advantage was worthless in this series as the road team won five of the seven games in these Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The series also featured a pair of overtime games, including the famous Game 6 double overtime win by the Bucks on Kareem Abdul-Jabaar’s 17-foot sky hook in the second overtime for a 102-101 win in Boston Garden.

Game 7 went to the road team, which was the Celtics, as they defeated Milwaukee 102-87 win, for the franchise’s 12th NBA championship and first without Bill Russell.

18. 1958 Hawks-Celtics
The St. Louis Hawks got revenge for their loss in the 1957 Finals, as they defeated the Celtics in six games, with all four of the Hawks’ wins by a combined eight points.

The most memorable moment from this series came in the clinching sixth game, as Hawks forward Bob Pettit poured in 50 points, including 18 of the last 21 points in St. Louis 108-107 win.

17. 1951 Royals-Knicks
No team in NBA history has ever won a best-of-seven series after falling behind 0-3, but the 1951 New York Knicks came very close.

After losing the first three games of the series, the Knicks won Games 4 through 6 to force a Game 7 against the Rochester Royals (now Sacramento Kings).

Game 7 was tied at 75-75 with almost a minute to play until Royals guard Bob Davies sank two free throws to break the tie as Rochester went on to win the game 79-75 and their only NBA title.

16. 1976 Celtics-Suns
The 1976 Finals is remembered most for the Game 5 triple overtime win by the Celtics over the Suns in perhaps the greatest NBA Finals game of all time.

But the series itself was pretty exciting as the heavy underdog Suns came back from a 0-2 deficit to win Games 3 and 4 in Phoenix to force the memorable fifth game.

Much like they did in Game 5, the pesky Suns did not go away as they held a 67-66 lead in the fourth quarter of Game 6, before Boston outscored Phoenix 21-13 over the last 7:25 of the game to pull out an 87-80 victory and clinch their 13th NBA championship. Read the rest of this entry →

Greatest Moments in NBA Finals History: 50-26 8

Posted on June 01, 2010 by A.J. Foss

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson combined for many great moments in the NBA Finals.

The NBA Finals begin this week and I have decided to take a look back at the history of the NBA Finals with the 50 greatest moments in NBA Finals history.

In this list, there are multiple moments from one series to make up the top 50.

For example, four of the moments are from the 1984 Finals between the Lakers and the Celtics, while there are three moments from the 1997 Finals between the Bulls and the Jazz.

Here now are moments 50-26 in the countdown of the 50 most memorable moments in NBA Finals history.

50. Game 6 2003 Spurs-Nets
Spurs center Tim Duncan has a near quadruple-double (22 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, and eight blocked shots) as San Antonio goes on a 19-0 run in the fourth quarter for a 88-77 victory over the New Jersey Nets to clinch the franchise’s second of four championships and send David Robinson out as a champion in his final game.

49. Game 5 1984 Lakers-Celtics
This was the infamous “Heat Game” as both the Lakers and the Celtics had to play the fifth game of this series in oppressive heat as it was 97-degrees in Boston on this day and the Boston Garden had no air conditioning.

The heat did not seem to effect the Celtics as they defeated the Lakers 121-103 thanks to a 34-point, 17-rebound performance from Larry Bird.

48. Game 5 1999 Spurs-Knicks
Point guard Avery Johnson makes the winning basket as he drills a baseline jumper with 47 seconds left to give the San Antonio Spurs a 78-77 win and clinch the first championship in franchise history. Read the rest of this entry →

30 Years Ago: Magic Johnson is the Center of Attention 10

Posted on May 16, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Magic Johnson led the Lakers to the first five titles in the 1980s 30 years ago.

Though he was already known as a glamorous player and NCAA Champion, Magic Johnson’s legacy as an NBA all-time great had its cornerstone in an NBA Finals game played 30 years ago today.

Leading the Philadelphia 76ers three games to two in the NBA Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers were still in a somewhat challenging position as the team headed to Philly without the services of their MVP center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had been injured in game five and stayed home in Los Angeles to nurse his injured ankle.

The 20-year-old Johnson took up the slack scoring 42 points with 15 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Lakers to to a dominating 123-107 victory.

After that victory, Johnson’s reputation as the leader of “Showtime” was secure and he went on to lead the Lakers to four additional titles during the decade.

Enjoy some of the great moments from the sixth game of the 1980 NBA Finals:

Read the rest of this entry →

Book Review: When The Game Was Ours 2

Posted on December 04, 2009 by Joe Gill

“When The Game Was Ours”

Written by: Larry Bird and Earvin Magic Johnson with Jackie MacMullan

What can I say about this book? For one, I could not put it down.

This is a must read for any sports fan.

This is a must read for any sports fan.

A book has to grab my attention right away or it finds its way to the Land of Lost Toys AND Books.

“When The Game Was Ours” did not find its way to that place. This book brought me back to memories of my youth.

As a child of the 80’s, my fondest sports memories were of Celtics-Lakers on Sunday afternoons.

Bird. McHale. The Chief. Magic. Worthy. Kareem.

These are all names that are interwoven into the fabric of my sports soul.

To say I was excited to read this book is an understatement!

The journey starts with the tandem of Bird and Johnson telling the stories of their childhoods in French Lick and East Lansing. You learn about their high school playing days and how they were courted by the big time college basketball programs.

Bird would choose the powerhouse of Indiana coached by the infamous Bobby Knight and Magic stayed with his hometown school of Michigan State.

You will discover the reasons for Bird’s transition from Indiana to dropping out of school and then being wooed by Indiana State. Bird was very close to cutting his basketball career short.

The rivalry between Magic and Bird would start in college culminating with the 1979 NCAA championship.

This is when Magic and Bird followed each other’s career obsessively.

This is when the rivalry bloomed.

This is when the NBA became relevant again.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Randy White: The Manster
      September 4, 2020 | 5:14 pm

      In recognition of the start of football season, we have selected a two-time All-American from the University of Maryland who went on to earn a spot in both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fames as our Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Randy White actually came to the University of Maryland as a fullback, but as a sophomore new head coach Jerry Claiborne recognized that he had the skills to be a great defensive lineman and quickly moved him to defense.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Follow Us Online

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Current Poll

    Which NFC Team Will Reach the Super Bowl?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories



↑ Top