There are plenty of memorable moments from the NBA Playoffs over the past decade, but there are a few that stand out from the rest.
As part of the buildup to the upcoming 2017-18 playoffs, let’s now take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the greatest performances and events in the NBA postseason from 2010 onwards.
Dirk Nowitzki wins his first NBA title
After missing out on the title in 2006 and losing in the first round of the 2007 playoffs despite a 67-win season, Dallas Mavericks’ legend Dirk Nowitzki seemed to be destined to end his career without a ring. However, a fairytale run in 2011 that saw them beat the star-studded Miami Heat in the Finals ended all his frustrations.
Of course, that gave us one unforgettable Nowitzki scene. After beating the Heat in Game 6, an emotional Dirk ran off the court instead of celebrating with his teammates. It raised some eyebrows for what was described as lack of sportsmanship, but who could blame him, really?
LeBron’s clutch performance vs Celtics
Despite all the LeChoke jokes, LeBron James had his fair share of clutch performances.
Back in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, with the Miami Heat down 3-1 and facing elimination against the Boston Celtics, James turned in one of the greatest displays of his amazing career. The King tallied 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists to lead the Heat to a 98-86 victory.
That performance gave Miami the momentum to win the series before taking down the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals for the first title of LeBron’s career.
…and historic block on Andre Iguodala
LeBron’s outburst against Boston wasn’t his most memorable playoff feat, though. That recognition belongs to his epic chasedown block on Andre Iguodala in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
With under two minutes left and the game tied at 89, Iguodala’s layup would have given Golden State the lead. However, James wouldn’t allow it and showed his dominance and determination to stop the play.
The Warriors failed to score after “The Block” as the Cavs won their first title.
Isaiah Thomas’ emotional game
Isaiah Thomas had an incredible season with Boston last season, and it was one that will be remembered for his emotional game in their playoff opener against the Chicago Bulls.
Thomas wasn’t expected to play the match, which was scheduled a day following his sister’s death. Nonetheless, IT endured the pain and took the floor with the Celtics, tallying 33 points, six assists and five rebounds.
They eventually lost the game, but IT earned everyone’s respect.
Kevin Durant’s trey for a 3-0 Finals lead
Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors in 2016 was heavily criticized, but he proved that season that Golden State needs him.
Durant had his shining moment in Game 3 of the championship series against the Cavs, draining a 3-point dagger over LeBron James to give the Warriors a 114-113 lead with 45.3 seconds remaining. That shot propelled the Dubs to victory and to an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
For what it’s worth, that 3-pointer was also voted Best Playoff Moment of the year.
Ray Allen’s brings the Heat back to life
Just type “Ray Allen shot” on the search engine you’re using and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
Ray Allen, one of the greatest shooters of all time, has made a lot of great shots; but of all his three-pointers, his clutch trey for the Miami Heat in 2013 takes the cake.
It was Game 6 and the Heat were trailing the San Antonio Spurs by three points with just 19 seconds left on the clock. A win would’ve given the Spurs the NBA title, but Allen stepped up when it mattered most to tie the game and force overtime.
And the rest, as cliché as it may sound, is history.