The 60 Greatest Playoff Moments: Honorable Mention
Which moments received votes but missed out on being ranked among the Top 60? Check out the 60 Greatest Playoff Moments Honorable Mention List presented in chronological order.
Dennis Johnson rejects Kevin Grevey’s last-ditch shot in overtime to preserve Seattle’s 114-112 win over Washington. It was Johnson’s fourth block of the game. Johnson, who scored 32 points, helped move the Sonics one step closer to their first NBA Championship and exacting revenge for their loss in the NBA Finals to Washington a year earlier.
After going up 2-0, the Nets lost to the defending NBA champion Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3 and 4. Before Game 5 in Philadelphia, Julius Erving said that there wasn't any way a team could beat the 76ers three times at home. He said the Nets might as well mail in the score. Led by Buck Williams, the Nets shocked the defending champs by ousting them in a wild, five-game first-round playoff series in which the home team lost every game.
Down 2-0 in the series to a 62-win Laker team, Derek Harper’s three-pointer ties the game with 47-seconds remaining. Fast forward two Michael Cooper missed free throws later, James Worthy inadvertently tosses the ball to Harper when trying to save the ball from going out of bounds, and Harper sinks the game-winning three with three seconds remaining to lift the Mavs over the Lakers, 110-108. For Harper, the shot was the perfect vindication for his costly mistake two years earlier during Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Lakers. With the score tied at 108 and six seconds left, Harper dribbled the clock out thinking that Dallas owned a one-point advantage. When the final horn sounded, Harper flipped the ball to the ref and headed towards the locker room, only to realize his blunder, an error that was magnified when Los Angeles pulled out the overtime victory, and two days later, the series.
In Game 1 in Philadelphia, the 76ers built a 17-point lead over the Bullets with 3:17 remaining. The game appeared to be over to everyone except the Bullets who amazingly stormed back, trailing by only two points with three seconds remaining when Dudley Bradley banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Bullets a 95-94 victory.
Trailing two games to none after having stampeded through the playoffs with 11 consecutive victories, the Los Angeles Lakers attempt at regaining any kind of momentum in the series is wiped out by Piston guard Joe Dumars, who scores 17 consecutive points in the third quarter to lead Detroit to the 114-110 win. Dumars is named Finals MVP in the first of Detroit’s back-to-back championships.
Boston led by 10 after the first quarter, but the Pacers tied it at 58-all by halftime. Late in the second quarter, Bird crashed to the floor in pursuit of a loose ball and his head bounced hard off the fabled parquet. He stayed down for what seemed like an eternity to Boston fans before heading straight to the locker room. When he did not return with his teammates for the start of the third quarter, the drama began mounting about when – or if – he would re-enter the game. The Pacers took an 82-79 lead in the third period but when Bird came jogging through the tunnel, the Garden crowd erupted. Bird, who had averaged 18.0 points on 36.9 percent shooting in the first four games, scored 32 and went 12-of-19 in the finale as Boston won 124-121.
Facing a 15-point deficit going into the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the 1992 NBA Finals versus the Portland Trail Blazers, Scottie Pippen led the Bulls’ reserves --- Bobby Hansen, B.J. Armstrong, Stacey King, Scott Williams --- on a 14-2 run before Michael Jordan and the remaining starters rejoined him on the floor to seal the team’s second NBA Championship. A key contributor to the comeback was Hansen, a journeyman guard who had averaged 2.5 points per game in the regular season, Hansen calmly swished a three-point shot from the far reaches of the corner that switched the momentum, got the nervous Chicago Stadium crowd back in the game and started the comeback. The championship capped a special season for the Bulls, who finished with a 67-15 regular-season record, then the fourth best in NBA history.
With one shot Alonzo Mourning added an indelible memory to his rookie season and authored a disappointing ending to a Hall of Fame career. Trailing 103-102 to the Celtics, Mourning made a 20-footer with 0.4 seconds left, sending the Charlotte Coliseum into delirium while closing out the career of Celtics’ legend Kevin McHale, who was set to retire following the playoffs.
Seemingly playing just to torture the fans of Cleveland, Michael Jordan hits yet another fadeaway buzzer-beater, minus Craig Ehlo, as the Bulls finish up a sweep of the Cavs, 103-101.
Michael Jordan missed 24 shots in Game 3. He made sure that Game 4 would be different. Jordan poured in 55 points on 21-of-37 shooting as the Bulls topped the Suns 111-105. Jordan tied Rick Barry for the second-best scoring output in Finals history and was eventually awarded his third consecutive Finals MVP award.
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