Unforgettable Moments from the 2013 NBA Playoffs
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Of course, that isn't necessarily the only thing that people will remember. This postseason has been fantastic in just about any way imaginable: We've seen buzzer-beaters, dominant individual performances and incredible comebacks.
As 16 teams were eventually whittled down to two, we were privy to a number of breathtaking displays of athleticism and sheer skill throughout the playoffs. Many of these moments will stand the test of time and live on in our memories (and on YouTube) forever.
10) Chris Paul's Game-Winner vs. Memphis
Once Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul got a step on Memphis guard Tony Allen, it was over.
It's not often that you get a matchup like that on a game-defining possession: one of the game's best wing defenders versus one of the league's elite playmakers. On that particular night, the better player won out.
Paul's layup with 0.1 seconds left gave the Clippers a 93-91 win over the Grizzlies, and what appeared to be a commanding 2-0 lead in their first-round series. It was the last good moment for the Clippers in the postseason: The Grizzlies would go on to win the next four games of the series.
9) Roy Hibbert Denies Carmelo Anthony
Good defense typically doesn't get the credit that it deserves, but Indiana's Roy Hibbert was lauded—and rightfully so—for his no-nonsense rejection of New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The block was an emotional boost for the Pacers, who would later go on an 11-2 run that resulted in a 106-99 series-clinching victory. Lance Stephenson led Indiana with 25 points, but it was the man in the middle who grabbed most of the headlines for the Pacers.
"That's why they [paid] me the big bucks this summer, so I have to protect the paint," said Hibbert after the game.
8) Manu Ginobili Knocks Down Double-OT Game Winner
Most of the stories about Game 1 of the San Antonio-Golden State series will revolve around Stephen Curry's otherworldly 44-point outburst. But the Warriors lost that game 129-127 thanks to an improbable three-pointer by Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili.
Ginobili had shot just 4-for-19 from the field up to that point, but Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich drew up a masterful play coming out of a timeout, and the 11-year veteran found himself wide open for the game-winning basket.
"It's only the second one I made all day," said Ginobili after the game when asked about the three-pointer. "Good timing, though."
7) Nate Robinson's Magical 4th Quarter vs. Brooklyn
Although it isn't technically a single moment, Nate Robinson's explosion in Game 4 of the Chicago Bulls' first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets was definitely a performance for the ages.
The 5'8" Robinson scored 23 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Bulls erase a 14-point deficit. Chicago would eventually win the game 142-134 in triple-overtime with Robinson watching from the bench after he fouled out late in the second overtime.
"I always think I'm on fire, kind of like the old school game NBA Jam," said Robinson when interviewed after the game. "I feel like that at times—all the time."
6) Nazr Mohammed Shoves LeBron James
There's no love lost between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls, and that point was made clear when Nazr Mohammed shoved LeBron James during Game 3 of the Bulls-Heat Eastern Conference semifinal series.
It was the culmination of the bad blood that had been boiling between these teams for the better part of three seasons. Unfortunately for the Bulls, it didn't serve as motivation of any sort: They would proceed to lose the last three games of the series.
Although Miami's reputation for "flopping" grew exponentially during its matchup with Chicago, it seemed as if James (and the rest of the world) was caught off-guard by Mohammed's sudden reaction.
5) Paul George's Dunk on Chris Andersen
Chris "Birdman" Andersen may have been Miami's best interior defender during his team's series with Indiana, but there was nothing that he—or anyone else, for that matter—could have done to stop Paul George on this drive to the basket.
Despite the praise showered upon him over the past few weeks, the 23-year-old George is not yet a superstar. He's still not consistent enough to be counted among the league's elite players, but when it comes to pure athleticism, George has few peers.
4) Stephen Curry Goes off Against San Antonio
A number of stars were born during the 2013 playoffs, but perhaps none shone as brighter as Stephen Curry did against the San Antonio Spurs.
In Game 1 of Golden State's tilt against the Western Conference champions, Curry went off for an incredible 44 points, including 22 in the third quarter. The fact that the Warriors lost the game 129-127 in double overtime is almost inconsequential: At the end of the night, it was clear that Curry's name should be mentioned in any and every ranking of the league's best point guards.
3) LeBron James and Paul George Share a Moment
It wasn't a "passing of the torch" moment by any means, but when Miami's LeBron James gave Indiana's Paul George some props late in Game 2 of their conference final series, it was a clear nod to the younger man's potential.
It was an acknowledgement rarely seen in the NBA, and James was criticized in many circles for giving too much respect to his opponent. Nevertheless, the slap made for an interesting talking point, and George seemed moved by the gesture (which came seconds after James sank a 30-foot three-pointer).
"LeBron came down, and he told me, 'I got you back, young fella,'" said George when interviewed by TNT after the game.
2) LeBron James Takes Over vs. Indiana
With his supporting cast not playing up to expectations midway through Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron James showed the world why he deserved to win his fourth MVP award this season.
After a spirited halftime tirade, the Miami Heat forward personally outscored the entire Indiana Pacers team in the third quarter (16-13), and single-handedly led his team to a 90-79 victory. James finished the night with 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but most importantly, he prevented Miami from facing a 3-2 deficit in the series.
"That's LeBron showing his greatness and making it look easy," said Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra during the postgame press conference. "It's really remarkable."
1) Tony Parker's Ridiculous Buzzer-Beater
In the closing moments of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker made an unbelievable play that could ultimately deny the Miami Heat a chance at a second straight title.
In just eight seconds, Parker maneuvered his way past each member of Miami's "Big 3," nearly turned the ball over, fell to the court, and somehow spun away from the defense to knock down an 18-footer that gave the Spurs a four-point lead with just 5.2 seconds left in regulation.
"Tony did everything wrong and did everything right in the same possession," said LeBron during the postgame press conference. "That was the longest 24 seconds that I've been a part of."
Replays showed that Parker used every available millisecond to launch his eventual game-clinching jumper—a shot that already ranks as one of the greatest Finals moments of all time.