NBA Finals: 7 Greatest Shots in Finals Losses
The NBA season has just ended, leaving us to reflect on the Miami Heat winning their second consecutive championship.
Like all the champs that preceded them, the Heat needed some clutch shots along the way to come out on top.
Ray Allen's three-pointer in Game 6 with their season on life support was as clutch as it gets.
The plays by the guys mentioned above all contributed mightily to their respective teams winning a title.
That's not what this article is about. We're going to swim upstream and look at some of the greatest shots made by players who weren't quite able to win the Finals series they were in.
These shots are still iconic, but to a lesser degree.
We can only imagine how legendary they would be if their teams had been able to hoist the trophy in that particular year.
Let's have a look.
7. 1977: Dr. J, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Throw it down, Doc!
That's what Julius Erving did to poor Bill Walton in the 1977 NBA Finals.
Dr. Jack Ramsay and the Blazers won the series 4-2.
However, that didn't stop the big redhead from feeling the wrath of Doc.
Spoiler alert, Dr. J. is well represented in this countdown.
6. 1980: Dr. J, Philadelphia 76ers vs. LA Lakers
At No. 6, it's a two-for-one. Julius Erving and his Sixers fell to the Lakers in six games in 1980.
Let's not get things twisted, it wasn't any fault of Dr. J's. He came to play every game and averaged 27.1 points per game for the series.
As the video shows, when he felt like going to the rim, he went to the rim.
If Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was waiting, Doc wasn't the least bit concerned.
Had Philly won this series, these facials would be just as famous as his posterizing of Michael Cooper in 1983.
5. 2013: Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat
Tony Parker had some big moments in this series in spite of an ailing hamstring.
With the Spurs trailing 89-86, Parker went on a personal 5-0 run that would've made Reggie Miller's eight points in nine seconds proud.
His first basket was typical Tony Parker. He went into the lane like he always does and hit a tough shot.
The first shot was on another level altogether.
The Heat had to love the way things were unfolding. Parker had the ball with the shot clock winding down and the Spurs down by three.
If Tony has the ball, that means that Danny Green or Gary Neal doesn't have it.
Miami would've even been fine with him taking a catch and shooting three in rhythm.
No way he knocks down this step-back three, right? Wrong.
If Ray Allen doesn't save the day for the Heat a few minutes this would be one of the greatest shots in Finals history.
4. 1974: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks .vs Boston Celtics
Fast forward to the 6:35 mark to see the shot.
Young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is still a member of the Milwaukee Bucks here. Yet he's still battling the Celtics in the Finals.
This shot, a sky hook of course, won Game 6 for the Bucks in double overtime.
Watch how the big fella faces up first, then puts it on the deck and drives hard to his right and nails his patented hook to clinch it.
Boston went on to win Game 7, but you can't take anything away from the Captain on this play.
3. 2013: Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs .vs Miami Heat
Tony Parker is at it again. Did he ever set the tone with this shot in Game 1?
What a heart-stopping play for fans of both teams.
Miami appears to have him bottled up, giving them a much-needed stop—giving them a chance to tie the game.
The Spurs had to wince as Parker tried his best to shred his ACL when he slipped on the court and nearly lost his balance and the ball.
LeBron James is towering over him and the shot clock is winding down and TP goes Tim Duncan and coolly banks in the mid-range jumper to seal the game for San Antonio.
2. 1970: Jerry West, LA Lakers .vs NY Knicks
You don't get the name Mr. Clutch without obviously being clutch. Jerry West nails a 60-foot shot to send the game into overtime against the Knicks in 1970.
The Lakers lost the series in seven games. A certain guy named Willis Reed hobbled out onto the Madison Square Garden floor and willed his team to a championship.
However, this shot is still one of the most unforgettable shots we've ever seen in the Finals.
How could it possibly be better? In today's game, that would have been a three-pointer and a game-winner.
How crazy would that be?
1. 1980: Dr. J, Philadelphia 76ers vs. LA Lakers
Like we said at the beginning, Dr. J. came to play in this series.
When he wasn't dunking on the Lakers bigs, he was using finesse.
This move on this stage was the precursor to Jordan's move and he did it out of necessity.
His path to the rim was cut off, so he just floated on to the other side and found an angle and used some English.
As mentioned, L.A. won the series in six, but Doc had the shot of the series.