Top 5 best NBA Finals performances of all time
The NBA has witnessed countless performances that can be regarded as “all-time” favorites, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top 5 best single-game Finals performances
The NBA has been shaped by various incredible players, individual moments and team performances that have made the league what it is today. But true fans of the game will always remember how exceptionally unique a select few performances have been over the history of the NBA.
So let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most legendary individual NBA Finals performances.
Top 5 best single-game NBA Finals performances of all time
5. Dwyane Wade, Game 6, 2006 Finals vs Mavericks
Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat made history before the LeBron James era started. During 16 years with the franchise, Wade won three NBA championships, was a 13-time NBA All-Star, and a 3-time member of the All-Defensive Team. In 2006, Wade had one of the most legendary performances in the history of the NBA; he shot 67% from the field and went all-in for 36 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocks.
4. Magic Johnson, Game 6, 1980 Finals vs Sixers
In a game where the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar could not play, 20-year-old Johnson took over Game 6 vs the Sixers, and the rest was just ‘magic’.
A rookie with the Lakers at the time, Johnson scored 42 points, with 15 rebounds, and seven assists. He scored nine points in the last 5 minutes of the matchup, bringing Los Angeles its 7th title.
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3. James Worthy, Game 7, 1988 finals vs Pistons
James Worthy is one of these names that cannot be forgotten in the NBA. This guy didn’t just outshine both Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson, but he also brought Los Angeles a championship that made them the only NBA team in 20 years to ever win back-to-back titles.
The Hall-of-Famer recorded his first triple-double in the 1988 game vs the Pistons, and scored 36 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, and 2 steals in a close two-point win.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Game 6, 2021 Finals vs Suns
The Greek Freak is full of surprises. The day you think he’s slowing down, the 27-year-old takes on the court with a legacy that makes the Milwaukee Bucks look like never before.
In one performance specifically, Antetokounmpo recorded his best single-game Finals performance in history. Game 6 vs the Memphis Suns saw the Greek-Nigerian scoring 50 points, grabbing 14 boards, two assists, and having five blocks in a close-out victory.
Moreso, while Antetokounmpo went into last year’s series shooting 55% from the free-throw line, he ended up hitting 17-19 of his shots at the charity stripe in a matchup that took him and the Bucks to a completely different level of Legacy.
1. LeBron James, Game 7, 2016 Finals vs Warriors
This series has to be the best NBA Finals performance in history to date. Here’s why:
LeBron James and the Cavs made a never-done-before comeback from 3-1 down vs the Warriors to bring Cleveland its first ever NBA championship.
Not only did they earn their first championship, but they also did so against a Warriors team that happened to break the Bulls’ regular season record by winning 73 games. James shined in the 2016 championship game, scoring 40 points (same as Kyrie Irving), and notching a triple-double chasing down the block on Andre Iguodala, having erupted for 41 points in Game 6 already.
Irving concluded Cleveland’s win with a go-ahead dagger 3-pointer that brought Cleveland’s 52 years of championship drought to an end.
James then won MVP in the game considered to be one of the most remarkable individual NBA Finals performances of NBA history.
What else need we say?