Top 5 Single Game Playoff Performances
The true definition of a competitor is being your absolute best when your best is needed. No one exemplified that definition like these players. Here is a look at our top 5 Single Game NBA Playoff Performances.
5) Walt Frazier Gm 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals – This is often one of the most overlooked Finals performances in history, partly due to the fact that most people remember Willis Reed and his walking out of the tunnel on one leg. Reed only scored 4 points in the game, however, Clyde went HAM, going for 36 points 19 rebounds, and 7 assists to prevent the Lakers and Wilt Chamberlain from holding up a trophy.
4) Lebron James Gm 5 2007 ECF – in game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals the world became witness as Lebron put his team on his back like no one had done before. Facing a Pistons team in the midst of 6 straight Conference Finals, and on the road in a 2-2 series, the King simply wouldn’t let the Cavs lose. He scored 25 straight points for them leading his team to the upset. Two days later the Cavs would clinch the series in the Daniel Gipson game. Of the games on this list, this is the only one that didn’t take place in the Finals.
3) Isaiah Thomas Gm 6 1988 NBA Finals – The 1988 NBA Finals featured a Pistons team that everyone outside the Michigan borders hated. They headed to LA up 3-2 in the series with a tremendous chance to bring the franchise their first title. They looked like they would have a chance to do it when suddenly star guard Isaiah Thomas sprained his ankle. While that would be it for most players Thomas responded, scoring 25 points on one leg to bring the Pistons to the brink of a title. His 43 points would not be enough however as the Pistons would lose games 6 and 7 by a total of 4 points.
2) Michael Jordan “Flu Game” Gm 5 1997 NBA Finals – With the series tied at 2 apiece the Utah Jazz caught a break when Bulls superstar Michael Jordan came down with what appeared to be the flu. Playing in front of their raucous crowd, the Jazz looked to seize control of the series however Jordan wouldn’t allow it to happen. He finished with 38 points 7 rebounds 5 assists and 3 steals leading the Bulls to a 2-point victory. Jordan made 13 field goals in that game, all other Bulls starters combined made 14.
1) Magic Johnson Gm 5 1980 NBA Finals – In Game 5 of the 1980 Kareem had one of the greatest performances of all time finishing with 40 points 15 rebounds and 4 blocks. He did all of this playing on one leg. However, no one remembers this as that performance was supplanted the very next game as Magic Johnson playing center in the absence of the Captain had a game for the ages going for 42 points 15 boards, and 7 assists to lead the Lakers to the title. What’s most amazing about this feat is that Magic was awful in the previous game going just 4-13 from the field.
Bruce Williams is an author and NCAA Certified Scout who covers basketball in Nevada.
He is a UNLV Insider for the Runnin Rebel Report.
He is the author of High Stakes Hoops the story of the 2021 -22 Nevada High School Basketball Season.