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Six Best Plays in NBA Finals History

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Good players win games, but great players rise to the occasion when it matters the most, which is why some of the top NBA Finals plays have wound up defining entire legacies. You can either sink like James Harden or swim like Michael Jordan; what you do in the NBA Finals is what sets apart a star from an actual legend.

Needless to say, throughout the course of time, we’ve seen some of the best NBA Finals performances go unrewarded, either because their teams weren’t able to get the job done or because it was too late already. On the other hand, some of the top NBA Finals plays have literally sealed championships.

Top NBA Finals Plays of All Time

Of course, some titles have been far more impressive than others. The context, the rival, and the way the team gets the job done are all taken into account. With that in mind, we’re going to share some of the top NBA Finals plays with you, so keep scrolling.

The Stepover

Of all the top NBA Finals plays, this was one of the most memorable. Unfortunately, it also happened to be the only play on this list that didn’t result in a championship. That speaks volumes of just how impressive it was and how stunned the world was when it happened.

Allen Iverson, the reigning MVP, had just led the Philadelphia 76ers to their first trip to the NBA Finals in almost two decades, and he was facing the defending NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers with prime Shaquille O’Neal and an up-and-coming Kobe Bryant.

       

Iverson crossed Tyronn Lue over, and then took a huge step over him after nailing down a dagger of a shot. The Sixers won Game 1 in overtime behind his 48 points, but the Lakers rallied with four games in a row to win their second consecutive title.

The Chasedown Block

Tha chasedown block isn’t just one of the best plays we’ve ever seen, it also happened in one of the best NBA Finals games of all time. The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers were tied with three wins apiece, and the momentum shifted back and forth.

That’s when LeBron James decided to take matters into his own hands and drain the soul out of Andre Iguodala and the entire Warriors. Iguodala was in the clear for an easy lay-up with no one in sight when James appeared out of the blue, leaping to swat his shot to get all momentum back in Cleveland’s favor.

This wasn’t the championship-clinching play, but you can tell how it demoralized the record-breaking Warriors. The Cavs would go on to win the game and become the only team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals.

Metta’s Kobe Impersonation

We’re used to most of the biggest plays in NBA Finals being made by the best players in the game, but that hasn’t always been the case. We saw John Paxson and Steve Kerr knock down championship-clinching shots, and the same happened with Metta World Peace.

       

The troublemaking forward made a name for himself for his toughness and elite defense, but he was also a very reliable three-point shooter. He was so reliable that even Kobe Bryant himself trusted him with the biggest shot of the season.

With everybody guarding Kobe, the legendary shooting guard kicked the rock to a wide-open Metta World Peace, who knocked down a shot from beyond the arc to give the Lakers a six-point lead with under a minute to play, securing their second championship in a row.

Ray Allen Burns Spurs

Of all of the top NBA Finals plays, this might be one of the most exciting of all time. Some even argue that this was the shot that literally saved LeBron James’ legacy, as it prevented him from falling to just 1-3 in the NBA Finals in his career.

The San Antonio Spurs were minutes away from clinching the championship, up to the point where Heat fans were even leaving the arena. The Heat shaved points off the lead and made it a close game, with the Spurs up three with less than 30 seconds to go.

Gregg Popovich left Tim Duncan on the bench in the most crucial possession, and Chris Bosh was able to rise to grab a crucial offensive board, kicking the ball to a wide-open Ray Allen, who knocked down a huge shot from the corner to send the game to overtime. The Heat won and then rallied to win Game 7.

Comeback Complete

This one went down as one of the greatest plays in Finals history not just because of how things went down but also because of what it meant. It spoiled the Golden State Warriors’ record-breaking season and gave LeBron James a championship with his hometown team.

James, however, wasn’t the guy responsible for this. It was Kyrie Irving who made sure to put the icing on top of the cake, pulling up from way downtown over Stephen Curry to secure one of the greatest titles of all time with a three-pointer.

Once again, some argue that this shot was legacy-defining for LeBron James. Otherwise, he would’ve lost to the very same team three consecutive years in the NBA Finals, and his record on the ultimate stage would be even less flattering.

The Shot

And last but not least, we couldn’t talk about the best NBA Finals performances without talking about the greatest player of all time: Michael Jeffery Jordan. The Shot isn’t just the most iconic bucket of his career, it’s arguably the most memorable shot of all time.

Jordan got a late steal and had an opportunity to secure his second three-peat and sixth NBA championship. Needless to say, the best to ever do it wasn’t going to waste that chance.

His Airness shook off Bryon Russell‘s tight defense to get a wide-open look at the basket, and just like he did countless times before, he knocked down a beautiful jump shot from the free-throw line to put an end to his Chicago Bulls days.

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