NBA Playoffs 2011: Most Memorable Playoff Performance in Each Team's History
Only eight teams remain in the NBA playoffs.
There are some teams with long, illustrious playoff histories such as the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, while there are others like the Memphis Grizzlies, who are trying to create their own history.
The playoffs have been widely entertaining thus far.
There has been a distinguishable increase in intensity in comparison to the regular season. There have been upsets, but most importantly, there has been the effort, drive and motivation witnessed in the star players who have the burning passion to lift the title.
Players are going on the floor each night and giving it everything they have.
This slideshow looks historically at each NBA team.
It looks at individuals who have lifted their team and wrote a page in the history books with just one memorable performance.
Boston Celtics: Bob Cousy Scores 50
On March 22, 1953, Bob Cousy played a remarkable game that would forever cement his name in the history books.
Prior to this date, the Celtics had never won a playoff series. However, this was about to change.
In a four-overtime thriller, the Boston Celtics prevailed over Syracuse, led by the efforts of the "Houdini of the Hardwood" Bob Cousy.
The Celtics defeated Syracuse 111-105 after four overtimes, and Cousy scored 50 points. He capitalized off Syracuse, who managed to commit a stunning 55 fouls. Thirty of Cousy's 50 points game from the free throw line, as he went 30-32 from the free throw line.
However, what is most remarkable about this performance isn't the points. It wasn't his ability to get to the line. It was the long one-handed shot, five seconds before the buzzer.
That shot sent the game into the fourth overtime, and that particular shot made all the difference in the world.
Los Angeles Lakers: Magic Johnson Works Magic
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On May 15, 1984, Magic Johnson lifted the Lakers to victory and wrote his name in the history books.
In Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, Johnson contributed with six points, five steals, seven rebounds and two blocks. However, it was the 24 assists that led to the Lakers beating the Suns by a score of 118-102.
The 24 assists were the difference in a game where previously, assists didn't matter much.
He changed the dynamic of the game as the Lakers flourished under the "showtime" high tempo system, and these 24 assists are tied with John Stockton's 24 as the most assists ever in a playoff game.
Atlanta Hawks: Bob Pettit Puts on the Performance of a Lifetime
Captivating, magical, immaculate, stunning and insurmountable.
Just some of the words that still would never be able to accurately describe Bob Pettit's Game 6 performance in the 1958 NBA Finals.
They were called the St. Louis Hawks, and Bob Pettit cemented them in the history books forever.
Bob scored 50 points in Game 6, the deciding game in which the Hawks won the championship. What is most incredible is that there were times when he was double and triple teamed and still found a way to score.
What is most stunning about this performance is the fact that he scored 18 of the final 21 points and carried the Hawks all by himself.
Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Saves the Season
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In 2006, the Mavericks were leading the conference semifinals series against the Spurs by a lead of 3-1.
The Mavericks slipped and let the Spurs back into the series, where it would all be decided in Game 7. Dirk Nowitzki led the Dallas Mavericks to what would only be the second time in NBA history that a road team won a Game 7 in overtime.
Nowitzki hit a big three in the fourth quarter that saved the Mavericks' season. He poured in 37 points and 15 rebounds.
He found a way to drive to the basket and didn't settle for jumpers, and as a result, he saved the Mavericks and they ended up in the NBA Finals.
Where would the Mavericks be without Dirk?
Memphis Grizzlies: Z-Bo Leads the Grizz to a Series Win
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You don't have to look deep into the past for this one.
On April 29, 2011, Zach Randolph carried the No. 8 seed Grizzlies past the No. 1 seed Spurs in the opening round of the playoffs.
Randolph scored 31 points in this series-deciding Game 6. What is most remarkable about this performance is the way he closed the game.
Scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter, Randolph stepped up and scored 13 points in the final 4:24 remaining in the game. He scored 13 of the Grizzlies' final 20 points.
The Grizzlies won 99-91 and still remain in the hunt for the title.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Gus Williams Puts on a Stunning Back to Back Performance
The 1979 NBA Finals took place between the Washington Bullets and the Seattle Supersonics, who are now referred to as the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Gus Williams carried the Sonics with back to back performances. He had 31 points in Game 3 of the Finals and did better in Game 4 with 36 points.
The Bullets simply had no answer for Williams, who scored with ease every time he touched the ball.
Sixty-eight points in two games, Williams was the difference in this series, and the Sonics went on to win the title in five games.
Miami Heat: Flash Wins It for the Heat
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Dwyane Wade will never forget Game 3 of the 2006 NBA Finals
He scored 42 points and added a career high 13 rebounds. He scored 15 in the fourth quarter and ignited a 22-7 run which saw the Heat erase a 13 point deficit.
Dwyane "Flash" Wade was unstoppable the entire series.
He went onto win the NBA Finals MVP, averaging 34.7 points per game in the NBA Finals, third highest in NBA history.
Without Dwyane Wade religiously putting up points well over 30 points, the Heat would have never have come close to winning the title.
Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan and the "Flu" Game
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No memorable playoff list is complete without the "Flu" game.
Michael Jordan did it all while barely being able to move. In Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, Jordan was visibly sick.
He was diagnosed with a stomach virus that saw him barely make it out of bed. However, three hours before tip off, Jordan woke up and found himself at the Delta Center.
Visibly shaken and pale, Jordan started the game cold and not contributing much in the first quarter. This all changed in the second, as he started to hit his shots and added 17 points in the quarter.
He finished the game with 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block.
The Bulls won 90-88.
In a game where most athletes would be in bed watching it on television barely able to move, Jordan was on the court giving it everything he had.
Toronto Raptors: Vinsanity Steals the Show
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During the 2001 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals, there was a duel between two future Hall of Famers.
Allen Iverson vs Vince Carter.
Carter carried the Raptors throughout the series and poured in 33 points in Game 6. He was simply unstoppable and carried the team onto Game 7, where he'd eventually miss a buzzer beater.
It has been 10 years, and the Raptors have not reached that level of success since.
Philadelphia 76ers: Iverson Torches the Raptors
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The Answer was all over the Toronto Raptors in the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Game Five would make him stand out. He was the league's MVP and scored 52 points, including a stunning 29 in the first half.
All this while playing with a sprained thumb.
Iverson compared the basket to an ocean and simply could not miss. He scored eight from the three point land, and he is the second player ever to score 50 or more twice in a playoff series.
Jordan did it against Cleveland in 1988.
Denver Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony Leads the Nuggets to Their Own Page in History
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On April 27 2009, Carmelo Anthony had 26 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Pretty good.
He scored all of his 26 points in the third quarter. Fantastic.
The Nuggets beat the Hornets by a score of 121-63.
58 points was the margin of victory for this Nuggets team, a victory that would see them tied for highest margin of victory ever in the playoffs.
What is amazing is that they did this in New Orleans. Dirty.
New Orleans Hornets: Rookie Alonso Mourning Sinks the Celtics
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The last thing Celtics legend Kevin McHale will remember about his career is being stunned by the Charlotte Hornets.
Rookie Alonso Mourning hit a 20 foot jumper with 0.4 seconds left, and the Hornets stunned the Celtics by a score of 103-102. They went on to win the series.
Los Angeles Clippers: Elton Brand Wins It for the Clippers
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Historically speaking, the Clippers do not have much to cheer about.
They have been plagued by terrible upper-management, players who don't live up to standards and the fans have to deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, who have been a success story for decades.
However, Elton Brand gave the Clippers' faithful some joy. During the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals, Brand scored 30 points and added 13 rebounds.
The Clippers won the game 118-106 and forced a Game 7, where they were destroyed by a score of 127-107.
New York Knicks: Ewing Leads the Knicks
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With the Knicks down 2-1, Patrick Ewing stepped up.
Willis Reed had a great performance in 1970, but Ewing brought the Knicks back to life with his performance in Game 4.
He scored 44 points,13 rebounds, seven steals and five blocks.
The Knicks beat the Celtics by a score of 135-108 because Ewing simply did it all.
Indiana Pacers: Reggie Miller Shuts Up Spike and Company
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No one will ever forget this performance.
During Game 5 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, Reggie Miller took the game into his own hands.
He had 39 points, 25 of which were in the fourth quarter.
What is memorable about this performance was the fact that he'd look over to Spike Lee after every shot and simply taunt him.
He grabbed his crotch and made a choking motion; how could anyone ever forget?
He took on everyone inside Madison Square Garden and came out on top.
Orlando Magic: Shaq Tries to Win but Can't Beat Hakeem
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Shaq did everything he could during the 1995 NBA Finals, but he just was not good enough. His best performance came during Game 2 of the Finals, where he added 33 points, his highest of the series.
It still was not good enough, as the Magic were swept by the Houston Rockets in Four.
Shaq would go on to win four NBA Titles, but if you were to ask him, I bet he'd tell you this series stings the most.
Houston Rockets: The Dream Leads His Team
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Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the few players to average over 30 points in every game of an NBA Finals Series.
He scores over 30 in every game during the 1995 NBA Finals and won the title for the Magic. He was unstoppable and his most memorable performance was Game 2.
Olajuwon scored 34 points, and the Rockets went on to win the game by a score of 117-106.
It was a series in which The Dream could not have been stopped.
Golden State Warriors: Davis and Jackson Stun the Mavericks
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Playing with a strained hamstring, Bron Davis brushed it off as the eighth ranked Golden State Warriors defeated the first place Dallas Mavericks in the opening round of the 2007 playoffs.
Stephen Jackson made seven three-pointers in Game 6 while Baron Davis, hurt, added 20 points.
The Mavericks were stunned, and the Oracle Arena was the place to be at the time; the atmosphere was simply electric.
Sacramento Kings: Peja Leads the Kings to a Massive Comeback
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During the 2001 NBA Playoffs, the Sacramento Kings found themselves down by 19 early in the second quarter in Game 4 of the opening round against the Phoenix Suns.
After missing 22 consecutive shots, it seemed like they were headed for defeat.
Then Peja hit the "on" switch.
He could not miss, scoring 37 points, and went 14 of 14 from the free throw line.
The Kings won the series and were headed to the second round of the playoffs, their first time in over 20 years.
Portland Trail Blazers: Bill Walton Intimidates Philadelphia
During Game 6 of the 1977 NBA Finals, Bill Walton held his own, and it paid off.
Scoring 23 points, Walton helped the Trail Blazers win their first and only NBA Title. However, his 23 points were not the most significant stat.
Walton had eight blocks and was a terror in the paint for Philadelphia, who were rattled by his interior presence.
Later on, Julius Erving would refer to Walton as " an inspiration."
San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan Does It Again
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During the 2005 NBA Finals, Tim Duncan was the difference that led the Spurs to victory and forced the Pistons into the depths of defeat.
Duncan added 25 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in a low-scoring affair that saw the Spurs win the decisive Game 7.
He took over in the fourth, and the season all came down to that quarter. With an effortless hook shot, he could not have been stopped and also picked up the 2005 NBA Finals MVP award.
Milwaukee Bucks: Robertson Cements His Legacy
During the 1971 NBA Finals, it was all about Oscar Robertson.
Robertson had played 10 seasons and had never come close to an NBA championship, but that was about to change. The Bucks took a 3-0 series lead heading into Game 4.
Robertson stepped up during Game 4 and cemented his legacy. He contributed with 21 first half points and 30 total points.
He was 11-15 from the field and had nine assists.
The Bucks swept Baltimore, and Oscar got his first taste of victory.
Utah Jazz: The Mailman Delivers
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The 1997 NBA Finals was all about Michael Jordan, but we can't forget Karl Malone.
Karl Malone bested Michael Jordan on this night, adding 37 points and 10 rebounds while shooting .517 from the floor.
The Jazz won the game 104-93 and were back in the series after being down 0-2.
Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Wallace Gets a Double-Double
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Not much historical significance here.
The Charlotte Bobcats made the playoffs for the first time during the 2009-10 NBA playoffs.
They were fed to the Orlando Magic, who decimated them. However, during Game 1, Gerald Wallace added 25 points and 17 rebounds.
A phenomenal effort in a losing cause as the Bobcats lost 89-98 and were swept in the series.
New Jersey Nets: Kidd with the Triple-Double
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The least memorable series I could think of was in 2002, when the Lakers swept the Nets.
The Dynastic Lakers were just too powerful; however, Game 1 was a very close game, and Jason Kidd did everything he could to keep the Nets in the game.
Adding 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, Kidd went to work on the Lakers and came out on top; shame his team didn't.
Detroit Pistons: Joe Dumars Handles the Lakers
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During the 1989 NBA Finals, the Pistons destroyed a very old and hurt Lakers team.
How could you ever forget Game 2 of this series? It was all about Joe Dumars.
The Lakers came into Game 2 storming the glass and attacking. Joe Dumars kept the Pistons in the game with 24 first half point; he would finish with 33.
The Pistons came back into the game, led by Dumars, and won 108-105.
They swept the Lakers, and the 42-year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar announced his retirement shortly after the series ended.
Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James Does Everything He Could in a Losing Effort
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It is almost impossible to mention the Cleveland Cavaliers and not mention LeBron James.
Despite how the relationship ended, for seven years he was their star, their franchise.
The 2007 NBA Finals was the closest LeBron and Cleveland would ever come to a championship, and while they were swept in four games, LeBron put on a memorable performance in Game 4.
Scoring 24 points and 10 assists, LeBron did everything he could to keep them in the game. They lost 83-82 and have never achieved that level of success again.
Washington Wizards: Charles Johnson Wins It for the Bullets
The Seattle Supersonics were the stronger team during the 1978 NBA Finals, but the Washington Bullets were a fierce, gritty team.
It all came down to Game 7, and while Wes Unseld was the hero for the Bullets in this series, Charles Johnson poured in 19 during Game 7 and won the game for the Bullets.
He had signed a 10 day contract with the Bullets that season and ended up staying. He scored 80 points in the final four games of the 1978 NBA Finals and won them the series.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Garnett Wins It for the Wolves
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Garnett is not the most likable athlete, but in 2004, he was carrying the Timberwolves.
During Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals, Garnett scored 32 points and added 21 rebounds. He even hit a three pointer.
The Wolves won the game by a score of 83-80 and went on to the Western Final, where they lost to the Lakers.
Without Garnett, the Wolves would have never made the playoffs, let alone make it to the conference finals.
Phoenix Suns: Barkley Does It All
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Another game, another Jordan victory.
During Game 2 of the 1993 NBA Finals, Jordan had 42 points. How could anyone forget?
Barkley did the exact same thing.
You can't forget what Barkley did, which was everything he could to keep the Suns in the game.
He had 42 points, 13 rebounds and four assists.
Most importantly, he shot an immaculate 61.5 percent from the field.
The Bulls won the game 111-108, but what an effort by Barkley!