5 Greatest Comebacks in NBA Finals History

Darryl FetzCorrespondent IIJune 21, 2012

5 Greatest Comebacks in NBA Finals History

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    The Oklahoma City Thunder recently came back from 13 down against the Miami Heat to take the win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. However, this impressive win doesn't seem to have sparked the Thunder to a Finals series win. 

    Some of the games on this list were big 20-point deficits that took a few quarters to come back from. Others were fourth quarter comebacks with one player sparking the big run. 

    However it happened, these are the five greatest comebacks in NBA Finals history.

5. Blazers at Bulls, 1992 Finals

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    Bulls 97 - Blazers 93

    The Chicago Bulls trailed by 13 points when the fourth quarter began. With Michael Jordan sitting on the bench for the rally, Scottie Pippen and four bench players brought the Bulls back quickly.

    With the Bulls back in the game, Jordan returned and quickly notched two steals. Jordan scored a game-high 33 points, but Pippen was the key to the game for Chicago. The Game 6 win closed the series for the Bulls, giving them their second straight championship. 

4. Rockets at Magic, 1995 Finals

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    Rockets 120 - Magic 118

    Before Kenny Smith was making fun of Charles Barkley on TNT, he was lighting it up from beyond the arc in the NBA Finals. Smith hit seven three-pointers—a finals record—to bring the Rockets back from a 20-point first half deficit. 

    Fans also remember Magic guard Nick Anderson missing four free throws in the final minute.

    Smith hit a three-pointer to send the game into overtime, and then Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon tipped in a missed layup with .3 seconds left. 

    The Rockets would go on to sweep the Magic, and Houston took their second straight NBA Finals championship. 

3. Mavericks at Heat, 2006 Finals

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    Miami 98 - Mavericks 96

    Down 2-0 in the series, the Miami Heat were trailing 89-76 with 6:33 remaining. Dwyane Wade scored 12 points to lead a 22-7 run to close the game. 

    Gary Payton made a game-winning jump shot with nine seconds left, and the Heat stole the victory from Dallas. Though many remember Wade receiving some questionable foul calls, the Heat closed out the Mavericks in six games to win the franchise's first championship. 

2. Mavericks at Miami, 2011 Finals

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    Mavericks 98 - Heat 96

    Five years later, Dallas would return the favor to the Heat in the finals. Down 88-73 with 7:13 left, the Mavericks started a comeback that would see the game tied with 20 seconds left. Dirk Nowitzki and Mario Chalmers traded three-pointers to bring the score even at 96. 

    Playing with an injured left hand, Nowitzki drove left and converted a layup with three seconds left to give Dallas the win. 

    The Mavericks' Game 2 win tied the series, but the Heat took the next game. Down 2-1, the Mavericks would peel off three straight wins to take the series. 

1. Celtics at Lakers, 2008 Finals

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    Celtics 97 - Lakers 91

    Up two games to one, the Celtics found themselves down by 24 points in the third quarter. Boston went on a 21-3 run to end the quarter and ended the third only down by two points.

    The Celtics took a lead with around four minutes remaining that they would not relinquish, taking the game 97-91. 

    The comeback was the biggest in NBA Finals history since 1971, and it gave the Celtics a 3-1 series lead. The Lakers would take Game 5, but Boston finished them off in Game 6 to earn their league-leading 17th championship.