Re-Dirk-Ulous Game 4 No All-Time Great

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Dirk Nowitzki wasn’t even done coughing and sniffling into the microphone at the postgame interview session when the hyperbole machine was in overdrive. Some pundits were ready to put his hacking, wheezing, 21-point, 11-rebound effort in Game 4 on a par with the famous Michael Jordan “flu game” of 1997 in The Finals.

As gutty and impressive as Dirk was down the stretch … no, we’re not going there.

But the performance did get us to reflecting and pouring through the record books for remembrances of the greatest single games in the history of the NBA Finals.

Here’s our list. Give us yours.

No.1: Magic Johnson, 1980, Game 6 – He had already lit up the league with his smile and his style through an amazing rookie season. But nobody was prepared for the performance of the 20-year-old rookie on that night. With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sitting a continent away back in Los Angeles with a sprained ankle, Johnson was simply electrifying. He walked to mid-court to take the center jump at the Spectrum in Philly and then owned the game with 42 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and three steals as the Lakers clinched their first of five championships in the Showtime Era.

No. 2: Michael Jordan, 1997, Game 5 – The enduring image is of the final horn sounding and a thoroughly spent Jordan collapsing into the arms of teammate Scottie Pippen. The final line said 38 points, seven rebounds and five assists. But it was the image of Jordan having left everything on the court at the Delta Center (now EnergySolutions Arena) in Salt Lake City that brought together everything we had already known about him not only as a unique talent, but a relentless competitor who would never back down from the moment.

No. 3: Dwyane Wade, 2006, Game 3 – To borrow Charles Dickens’ description of Jacob Marley, the Heat were deader than a doornail when the Mavericks — already up 2-0 in the series — took a 13-point lead with 6:43 left in the game at Miami. Then Wade simply rose up to take over the night and the rest of the series. He finished with 42 points and 13 rebounds and simply made every big play that needed to be made. He scored 12 points in the final six minutes, making drive after drive to the rim, which resulted in 18 free throws in the game. He hit jumpers and he grabbed the clinching rebound after Nowitzki’s missed free throw. It was the game that began Miami’s run of four straight Finals wins that resulted in the Heat’s first championship.

No. 4: Walt Frazier, 1970, Game 7 – It is, of course, the game that lives on as NBA legend. Maybe for all the wrong reasons. It was the night that Willis Reed, with the torn muscle in his right thigh, hobbled out of the tunnel at Madison Square Garden and practically made the Lakers’ knees buckle at the mere sight of him. He dragged his bad leg out to jump center against Wilt Chamberlain and then scored New York’s first two buckets of the game. It was the emotional start that the Knicks needed. But it was the all-over-the-court, making-drives, hitting-jumpers, ball-hawking-on-defense performance of “Clyde” Frazier that truly carried the night. Frazier finished with 36 points and 19 assists in a Finals performance for the ages that too often is overlooked.

No. 5: Bill Russell, 1962, Game 7 – When you’re talking about The Finals, the center of every discussion must come back to Russell. He was 11-for-12 in collecting championship rings in the final round. He was the man who tormented Jerry West and the entire Lakers organization quite literally for decades. But maybe Russell’s most complete game and most thorough whipping of the Lakers came in his first try. With the series down to the final game, Russell left nothing to chance. He scored 30 points and grabbed 40 rebounds (!!) in the Celtics’ 110-107 overtime win at Boston Garden to begin a streak of six straight Finals wins over the Lakers. That’s 40 rebounds. If it happened today, Russell would have his own 24-hour ESPN channel.

No. 6: Larry Bird, 1984, Game 5 – There are always so many games and so many shots and so many plays you can pull out to demonstrate the greatness that was Bird. He had already won an NBA title in 1981 when the Celtics beat the Rockets. But this was the first of the epic showdowns against Magic and the Lakers. This was the game when the temperature outside Boston Garden on June 8 was 90 degrees and on the court it topped out at nearly 100. Bird made every play and seemingly every shot down the stretch, finishing with 34 points and 17 rebounds as the Celtics took the critical Game 5 and went on to “Beat L.A” in seven games.

No. 7: Elgin Baylor, 1962, Game 5 – Just because it happened nearly half a century ago doesn’t make it any less memorable. For all of the praise and accolades the Celtics received for their defense in the Russell Era, there was nothing they could do that night to stop Baylor, who scored a Finals record 61 points and also pulled down 22 rebounds. He is the tragic hero in the Lakers’ tale, this amazing game overshadowed by the fact that the Celtics came back to win the series in seven games. When the Lakers eventually went on their record 33-game winning streak and finally won a title in L.A. in the 1971-72 season, Baylor was sidelined by injury.

No. 8: Isiah Thomas, 1988, Game 6 – It’s another one of those efforts that sometimes gets short shrift because his team lost the series and even lost the specific game. But Thomas’ 43-point performance at The Forum was nothing short of spectacular and inspiring. He sprained his ankle early in the third period. But the best little man in the history of the game did not let that stop him from being huge. He hobbled and still raced. He limped and still drove. He hurt and yet he lifted to bury jumpers. His 25 points in the third quarter are a Finals record. Even though his Pistons lost the game, 103-102, and lost the series in seven games, Isiah delivered the message that night that the Lakers’ dynasty was living on borrowed time.

No. 9: Tim Duncan, 2003, Game 1 – The Big Fundamental has played in four Finals and won them all. He’s been named the MVP of the Finals three times. Yet he’s done it all with such an understated style, it’s easy to look back and look past individual brilliant games. The Nets won’t ever look past the opener of the 2003 Finals when Duncan was coldly efficient: 32 points (11-for-17 FGs), 20 rebounds, seven blocked shots and six assists to start off the Spurs’ run to their second title.

No. 10: Hakeem Olajuwon, 1994, Game 6 – “Hakeem the Dream” had bigger scoring and rebounding games during his playoff career. But this was the game when the Rockets returned home from Madison Square Garden trailing the Knicks 3-2 in the series and were dangling over the edge. Not only did he overcome the smothering, suffocating, physical defense of the Knicks, he shut down New York’s All-Star big man, Patrick Ewing (6-for-20), at the other end. Then to top it all off, with the final seconds running down and the Rockets clinging to a one-point lead, he rose up to get the tip of his finger on a wide open jumper by John Starks that saved the night. And the Rockets went on to win their first ever championship in Game 7.

Who’s on your list? Cast your vote below and have your say, too.


  1. jaritz says:

    Jordan for me is the greatest basketball player of all time because he has a tremendous skills on both offense and defense, a great leader on the court and his willingness to win is incomparable..

  2. Z Diddy says:

    I thought LeBron was bringing his talents to South Beach…looks like he left them in Cleveland….LoLzzz

  3. jkidd says:

    Give Dirk the credit, man! Those other guys, except for MJ aren’t sick when they played. What’s amazing about dirk’s performance was he played through his fever and he won the game for dallas! it wasn’t as great as scoring 61 pts or grabbing 40 rebounds but those guys weren’t sick.

  4. vi says:

    you don’t question it! the all-time greatest are the performance of MJ and Magic (rookie!)!!!!!!!

  5. Carlos Spicyweiner says:

    the referees of the 3rd game of the 2006 finals should be included with Dwyane Wade.

  6. mike says:

    jordan all the way!!!!

  7. got says:

    lebrons 8 point was the best finals performence 😀

  8. roge says:

    Mr. Fran Blinebury, i think you just can’t write anything interesting that’s why you came up with this. Give Dirk Nowitzki the credit he deserved. There’s no point comparing his feat to other players, this is all about winning championships.

  9. BRoberts84 says:

    Mayweather will be remembered for dodging pacquioa. Dirks performance was great, but none tops jordan’s 38 in 1997. The man is and always will be the benchmark on which every great player is measured by and fails to match up. Kobe comes closer than anyone else and even he falls a little short.

  10. Micah says:

    What about Duncan’s Game 6 in 2003???

    21-20-10-8!?!? 2 Blocks from a quad double? And it doesn’t make the top 10? It was more impressive than game 1 that’s for sure.

  11. Miami Martian says:

    What about the gutsy performance of Jerry West in Game 7 of the 1969 Finals having to carry his LA Lakers on one good leg, despite losing the game, he had the respect of the entire Boston Celtics. I mean, that had to be in that list.

  12. shadow says:

    Cmon guys nowitzki’s performance should be there because he batlles against LBJ(also known as the king),the flash,and bosh………..also bibby,miller and haslem are good players…………while nowitzki has terry and chandler…marion and kidd is good but aged…..well thought i love boston i wish luck for the mavs…

  13. Tito says:

    Bob Petti’s 50 Points in the 6th game of the 1958 Finals! he scored 19 of the last 21 points of the Hawks leading them to their only NBA championship with a 110-109 victory over the Celtics!

  14. John says:

    The MJ flu game is truly the greatest finals performance so far. to be able to do what he did with the flu is remarkable. I do think that the Bill Russell performace should be at the number 2 spot. grabbing 40 rebounds is crazy. There are games when a whole team wont have that.

  15. leohimself says:

    bill russell’s 40 rebounds back in the day are the equivalent to 12-15 rebounds nowadays so that’s not that impressive. MJ’s performance is the greatest.

  16. torn acl says:

    when i read this blog i was expecting to see a list of greatest performances by a player who’s sick/injured in the finals … so i was surprised to see that the list contained greatest individual performances in the finals, sick or not. If this is the case, Dirk’s performance, although great would really not compare to magic’s performance, who i would presume healthy and at his 100% when they beat Philly. but if the list only includes sick/injured greatest performance, like mj’s “flu” performance and isaiah’s sprain injury performance, Dirk’s game is definitely up there.

    besides, playing sick/injured during finals shows a lot of heart and can never be measured by any lists …

  17. Nick says:

    what about t-macs clutch against the spurs

  18. JoeD. says:

    Dude your comparison is meaningless. It’s ok to state top-10 performances of all time according to what you think, but I cannot see the connection to Dirk’s game. It was compared to the flu game because (hold your breath…) of the flu!!! Not the “game”, the “flu”. So you cannot compare it to any game any player ever had. Just the ones the player was sick. Come on, it’s like you wanted to disrespect Dirk. Other than that, nice list.

  19. Axel says:

    what about Dirk’ s first game against OKC where he scored a reccord 24 FTs without miss, a 45 pts in total of 39 out of 43 shots he made…How can this not be ranked high up within the top 10

  20. Playing with something wrong says:

    It’s all about the flu, the injuries. so why putting those guys with historic performances without problems physically! Michael and Isaiah should be the only players on the list! Michael with flu, Isaiah with ankle injury!

  21. ALI says:


  22. ALI says:

    Hey guys, Dirk is a full-blooded basketball player. A warrior man. Obviously he so exhausted during the game. You could check the video. Does it really necessary for him to collapse (ala Jordan) to prove his aching???? NO MAN! He won’t do that. That’s the spirit of a thru basketball player. A WARRIOR!!!!

  23. Hihibrrr says:

    I’d rather go with Isaiah Thomas’ clutchh game because he did it while limping. Even though he lost, he carried his team on and gave those Lakers a scare WHILE HE WAS BADLY INJURED!!! Kind of reminds me of Rondo’s dislocation.

  24. jeimuzu06 says:

    if only the lakers and the heat met in the finals. that would be one of the best finals ever

  25. AGPOET says:


    • robbay2 says:

      How the heck does he not rebound?

      He pulled down 10 in last 2 of 4 at least

      defense isnt that great, but he at least is a tall body and looks to block shots occasionally.

  26. charisma says:

    do you really think we mavs fans would wish for him to belong in a “best ever sick player performance in a finals” list? no! no way! so he is not sick enough, not enough to be compared to MJ.. MJ was great, i love MJ.. but it’s not MJ’s time now, he past his’. we don’t really care if he wasnt sick enough, not great enough compared to those great players who played sick in a finals game. we just wish him not to be sick.. anyway he has made it in some other nba record books of best ever.. he has in so many ways made something for the ages.. but you guys to be talking and trying to justify that he is not sick enough, that means something.. 😉 go mavs!

  27. Dirkules says:

    I totally disagree!

  28. Peng says:

    You have to remember that back in Russell’s day there was a lot more oppurtunities for rebounds the way the game was played, guards didnt really rebound back then like they do these too so 30 rebounds+ wasnt a rare thing, not taking away from Russell just thought this stuff was relevant too.

  29. Peng says:

    @getreal are you serious? look at Jordans game with the flu he looks like a dead man walking.

  30. Peng says:

    How bout James Worthy game 7 1988 NBA finals, 36pts, 16rebs, 10asts

  31. D.rose says:

    notice there is no kobe up there, lmao! hes a bum in the finals…

  32. judjan says:

    for me, it’s magic johnson.. could you imagine a rookie of the game, taking responsibility of the team, turning from point guard to a center position? although magic can play from 1 to 5 position but in this series, no rookie has ever made such a feat, is there? and the team took the champs trophy.

  33. Jake says:

    40 Rebounds!! Wow

  34. Vasu says:

    Comparison between these great performances is not fair as they belong to different eras.

  35. Tom says:

    Hey, were is Wilt Chamberlains 1972 Finals, where he played with a fractured wrist, yet still led the Lakers to a championsship???

  36. Lloyd D. says:

    Dirk’s performance on game 2 should really be in the top 10 because what he did was simply “AMAZING” and also give credit to his teammates

    • robbay2 says:

      I agree. Just because he didnt STUFF THE STATS, doesnt mean it was bad. it was probably better than half of the top 10.

  37. phamie says:

    Michael Jordan is still the best ever player in the NBA, Scottie Pippen is wrong when he said James is better than Jordan.
    Jordan is best in all categories, James score only 8 points in game 4 and that is not a type of a greatest player but JORDAN IS THE GREAT and NASH is the LEGEND….

  38. Michael says:

    Dirk = Michael Jordan!!!! Dirk is 100 times better than Michael!!

  39. Magic J. says:

    Most of you who voted for MJ didn’t saw Magic’s performance during Sixer’s and Lakers Finals and how by that series Kareem is badly needed in that game. As what Doug Collins said, how he wish Magic stayed in college then maybe they’re the champions right now”. Magic started center on that game for the injured Kareem and played almost all positions (Point guard to Center). That’s how you can imagine what an all around player is.

  40. Tony says:

    there is what i ghink of lebron. james can trhow down pretty dunks and is oook with his jump shots. he plays good defense.

  41. Tony says:

    Dirk has always been star in NBA but i dont know about superstar. James is over rated. he is very good but media wants us to belive he is some kind of monster and best player in NBA.i like his play and dont hate him for leaving cavs or for playing for heat. the way i look at it there are two players in finals who are better than him .1. Wade.2 Dirk

  42. Ballin says:

    Thought this was about players that performed well despite of bein ill…Guess not!!

  43. Well done dirk says:

    Dirk had a great game, shame on you Fran for damping it by trying to compare it to MJ’s.

  44. lakersforever says:

    the point is that magics game is the greatest ive watched it several times he dominated and he was a rookie! 20 years old he was clutch he did what not even lebron, jordan, or kobe could have done at that age and he did it without kareem. thats like kobe playin without shaq or lebron without wade in the finals against the best team

  45. lol says:

    @Rommel Reyes the same thing could be said to your Miami Heat. They are just another adversity that the Mavs need to face to win the ring. and they looked nervous?! What the hell. that made me laugh.

  46. getreal says:

    Dirk wasn’t sick… give me a break. Just the media trying to make a story. A player has a runny nose or says they “dont feel well” and the media says they played with the flu. I don’t care who you are, if you have the influenza virus, you are not taking part in any physical activity, not to mention playing 30 some minutes in an nba final. I doubt any of these players were actually sick during their games. Maybe they were recovering from an illness (Jordan, which is very hard nonetheless), but they definitely did not play with the flu.

    • Really? says:

      Sorry to dissapoint you but Jordan did have a stomach virus which leads to fever and abdominal pain.No one is making it up.He was not even sure if he was going to play.And Dirk said he had a sinus infection.And he did have.So…what`s the problem?If you can`t play or take part in any physical activity ,if you have fever and some extra pain in your body it means that no one can do it?Especially Jordan or Dirk or some other professional athlete?I did play with fever in my college days and sure ,it was pretty hard and it makes you feel like you have no gas left in you but if you really want it you go out there and give it your all.

    • robbay2 says:

      he was coughing after the game like a dog, and his voice didnt sound right.

      Besides, Dirk didnt have the flu, he had a fever. big difference.

  47. Russ says:

    i think the #3 & #9 must replace.. there is a lot more players who are will deserve in that spot. for example.. AI, Dirk, ..etc..

  48. Lucas says:

    Ok guys,
    I’m not saying Dirks better than MJ, and 21 sure isn’t the greatest number to post up. But u mustn’t forget that Dirk didn’t only have d flu but also still a torn tendon in a left finger. That’s two things stopping him playing his usual game which makes his performance yet more impressive.

  49. Tulindoy says:

    Dirk doesn’t care what these media people are doing…comparing him to jordan, bird or magic…All Dirk wants is an NBA Championship RING!

  50. Rommel Reyes says:

    i’m not concerned about the standings, it’s only even. Miami lost but they can bounce back when they want to, James had a bad game and it happens to any good player. Miami has experienced a LOOOTTT of adversity during the regular season and they were able to learn and get past those. Dallas is only one adversity and they looked nervous , observe the Mavs. especially Jason Terry, all swagger but nothing else to contribute. well he did in game 4 but i’m not sure if he can do the same the next time.

    • lakersforever says:

      im sure he can he has been doing it all playoffs long miami could be the first team to lose after winning game 3 in this format. I hope that dallas wins wade and lebron will win some rings in 3 years or so but dallas cant they need it now so im rootin for dirk and kidd i want those guys to get it more

  51. mjc says:

    I think the poll results say most about the age demographic on Clearly a late 80s and 90s + crowd!

  52. Bayo says:

    heyz there

  53. Noam says:

    I believe Allen Iverson should be in this list.

    His performance was nothing short of heroic, Succeeding at what any other team failed to do in those playoffs – beating the Lakers, and he did that at their home court.
    The Lakers won the next 4 games, but that just shows how dominant they were, how amazing his game 1 performance was.

    I still remember the buzz after game 1. No one in his right mind thought the Sixers could actually take the series against those unstoppable Lakers, but for 48 hours we all dreamed.
    We dreamed about the underdog winning. We dreamed about the smallest guy beating the biggest guy.
    That little guy proved he can be bigger than Shaq.

  54. Qiustone says:

    The most moving should be Dirk Nowitzki.In the video given above , you can see the people who was coughing and coughing at the time-up but still do nobody can do when he was on the floor for the game.

  55. allen says:

    take out duncan for iverson

  56. GEorgej says:

    Well, if you are not going to rank Dirk in your chart then please do not write an asinine article like that one. We all knwo about these performances. You are not telling us anything new. Stupid.

  57. markbigpimping says:

    This is a bad article. Russell’s stats shouldn’t be up here-the competition in 1962 was garbage-the pros back then weren’t even as good as your average D-1 and D-2 college basketball players today-NOT EVEN CLOSE! And as far the other guys go-it makes no sense-Duncan’s 32-20, Hakeem’s game against the Knicks (where Hakeem’s stats aren’t even listed) just go to show this guy only put up sentimental players he likes-not the true best of the best. Where’s Wilt Chamberlain on this list-you know, the GREATEST scorer ever? How can you have russell but not Chamberlain. And how can you NOT have Shaquille O’Neal’s 2000 finals game 2 performance of 40 pts 24 reb 4 ast 3 blk game or his 2001 finals game 1 performance against the Defensive Player of the Year of 44 pts 20 reb 5 ast 1 stl. This guy didn’t get his job based off of skill-he got it based off of his connections. How pathetic.

  58. DIRK'S REVENGE!!! says:

    @ Ralph … Dirk couldn’t care less how anybody ranks his effort. He wants the ring. period.


    Yeah those WERE some great performances …


    It’s good to look back and appreciate so we don’t forget … but we got some AMAZING FINALS TO WATCH RIGHT NOW!!!

    Everyone says Heat are SO HATED … but what about DIRK? He has EARNED SOME BIG GAME CREDIT this post season!

  59. JLO says:

    Isiah Thomas is not the best little man in the history of the game. I got two words for you: ALLEN IVERSON.

  60. D says:

    magic wasn’t sick. how does that count?

  61. ted says:

    look people the only reason dallas won so the nba can make more money it all business

  62. THE MAV'S DID IT AGAIN!?!?!? says:

    I’ve changed my mind, RUSSELL WINS IT, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!

  63. John says:

    #2 and #1 need to be switched.

    • lakersforever says:

      dude magics game 6 win as a rookie was much more impressive than jordans dont even think of taking that off magic was playing center that whole game and point guard and at the time he was considered the second best player on the team behind kareem.

  64. Hook says:

    How can you leave out any of Shaq’s games from his Lakerdays? His usual statlines used to be somewhere around 42 points, 22 rebounds, 7 blocks…and what about mr Allen Iverson’s game 1 from 2001? Come one now…Wade did his part, but Iverson outbattled him with his step-over-lue alone.

    • vdot says:

      this is tha dummest comment on here..0-2 to 4-2….1-0 to 1-4…u do tha math!!!!!!

    • baseline j says:

      I agree, Shaq needs 2 be in this list, almost any of his 2000 fanals games against the Pacers can be used.

      Allen Iverson’s game 3 in the finals agaqinst LA stands out in my opinion, 35 points and 12(!!!) rebounds (yes, the smalles guy on the floor, matching the tallest man, Mutumbo for total rebounds).

  65. Rico says:

    too much hatred for Dirk hey!

  66. ComeON says:

    The point of this thing is people who had big games that shifted the events in the playoffs that lead the team to win or to send a message to the other team.
    Dirk’s performance was good but, unless they win the finals, its not going to be important at all. It’ll only be known as giving the heat a little scare in the series to not sleep on Dirk but ends coming up short.
    Also, other than the 1st 3 shots drained, he was cold all night. Comparing him to MJ, is bad because, Jordan was still on his game even though he was in worse condition than Dirk.
    Everyone’s saying give him some credit but unless he wins the finals, what credit can be given other than “good job on winning game 4 when you were sick even though you lost the finals”?

  67. Ralph says:

    Dirk couldn’t care less how anybody ranks his effort. He wants the ring. period.

  68. Archer says:

    Depends on time and retrospective. People always use to heroize the players of their youth and childhood. Within 15-20 years, if the Mavs can win it, Dirks performance might rank in the Top 5, too.

  69. José says:

    What about Kobe Bryant? The guy play a lot of games with a broken finger and people say nothing!

  70. stevieooo says:

    Lebron James taking over game 5 scoring 25 straight points for cavs against Pistons in the Palace in 2007 should be considered on this list,i know he wasnt injured and all but that was one of the performance of the decade!

    • vdot says:

      we r talkin bout FINALS not 1ST RD, SEMI, or CONF…like BOOMER, TOM, CHRIS,KEYSHWAWN, AND DITKA………………………………..CMON MAINE!!!!!!!!

  71. Jan says:

    Bill Russell went for 30 points and 40 rebounds ? Are U kidding me ?

    • OzHeatFan says:

      EXACLTY… how is that not the best ever… 30 pts, 40 rebounds.. Bill Russel touched every play that game I suspect.

    • robbay2 says:

      No 3 second in the key, no goal tend, so that number would probably be 25.

      No disrespect however.

  72. THE MAV'S DID IT AGAIN!?!?!? says:

    Magic, 42 points, 15 rebounds!

  73. Sumner_21 says:

    bill russell was 11-12 in the finals, he lost in 58 to the hawks

    • THE MAV'S DID IT AGAIN!?!?!? says:

      THANK YOU! 11 for 11, HA! No, even the great Kobe’s lost 1! Sumner_21, your smart, but YOUR STUPID

  74. bob says:

    this is shaping up to be one of the top, i’d say, 30 nba finals ever… considering all the finals that have taken place and all the great ones… it’s great for them to be considered one of the top 30 nba finals teams

  75. Hops says:

    has no one thought of shaq’s near quad double? 2001 finals

  76. Phil says:

    Just some quick comments from a big basketball-fan in Germany:
    1.) Dirk himself said he wasn’t bothered that much, just that he had a rough night. So no, this wasn’t anything comparable to MJ’s performance in 97.
    2.) I don’t even get the point out of this report. The category you made up has nothing to do with the discussion about whether Dirk’s performance is one of the all-time great performances by an injured or sick player in the Finals (or Playoffs). As others already pointed out: why is Duncan’s Game 1 here? There are so many Finals performances with great stat lines (Iverson VS Lakers in 2001, numerous Finals Games from MJ…)…still: no relation to Dirk’s effort from last night which is just blown up as you also pointed out.
    3.) If all of you are reminded of Game 5 from MJ in 1997, just get the facts right or the image you have in your mind:
    Jordan collapsing into the arms of Pippen happened right after Longley dunked home the last basket of the Bulls in that game (right after Ostertag’s bucket and Jordan’s deciding 3-pointer).
    When the final horn sounded, Jordan was raising his arms in victory! (probably thinking: when we get home for game 6 in Chicago I’ll be healthy and those 38 points will come by a little easier 🙂 )

  77. rochen1 says:

    I saw Hakeem’s game 6 & got chills when he went out to guard Starks. After he blocked that shot & preserved the win, I knew Game 7 was in the bag.

  78. JACK says:

    What about the playoff game where Reggie Miller scored 8 points in the final 8.9 seconds to defeat the knicks? It is definitely worth a top 10 spot.

    • Ruben says:

      lol, did you ever read the article???

      is TOP 10 ALL TIME FINALS GAME PERFORMANCE, not playoffs performance.

  79. billy says:

    Will LeBron have one of these moments? Well, if he don’t and Wade and Bosh end up carrying the slack win or lose, I know this sounds crazy, but in the offseason, maybe Miami should have some options to consider. There’s no point in a paying a guy like James to underperformed in the series that counts the most. D-Wade has played well, he played real well, scored 30 plus and Bosh has overachieved in the Finals. He helped them win Game 2. LBJ cried in Cleveland saying he had no help and that if the Heat wins a championship, it would be because of his contributions as a supporting player. He did play well in the Chicago and Boston series, I give him credit, but the goal isn’t just going to the Finals, it’s about winning it all. If they lose this series because of him, I’m like this, you have to look at the long term. Miami don’t want to be known as Finals runner-ups every year because LeBron can’t bring his A game.

  80. Elijah Olson says:

    Russell’s Celtics weren’t 11/11 in the finals. They were 11/12. This writer obviously forgot about the 1958 finals wherein the Celtics lost to the Hawks. Which makes me wonder how many other less obvious stats listed above are wrong. Oh also the Celtics first “whooping” of the Lakers in the Finals wasn’t even in 1962. It was in 1959.

    • Sumner_21 says:

      58 was mineapolis so I think he has just forgotten or never looked back far enough to realise that the Lakers were around before they moved to LA. Nice to see another person who knows the history of this great game and not just filling the comments with generally meaningless personel opinions.

      • @ says:

        Charles Barkley called the miami heat and their fans a whinny bunch. LOL!!!!!!! If that aint the truth.

    • fan of nba history says:

      No. 5: Bill Russell, 1962, Game 7 – When you’re talking about The Finals, the center of every discussion must come back to Russell. He was 11-for-12 in collecting championship rings in the final round. He was the man who tormented Jerry West and the entire Lakers organization quite literally for decades. But maybe Russell’s most complete game and most thorough whipping of the Lakers came in his first try. With the series down to the final game, Russell left nothing to chance. He scored 30 points and grabbed 40 rebounds (!!) in the Celtics’ 110-107 overtime win at Boston Garden to begin a streak of six straight Finals wins over the Lakers. That’s 40 rebounds. If it happened today, Russell would have his own 24-hour ESPN channel.

      reread this before u write a comment knocking the writer first if u notice he never said 12-12 he said 11-12 . next he never said that 1962 was boston first time beat the lakers he said his first mean bill russell NOT BOSTON FIRST BILL RUSSELL FIRST. he was wrong 1959 was the first time a bill russell lead team beat the lakers that is a fact look it up but the 1962 stats are right bill russell numbers the score and who won that year. one mistake is not a big deal i pointed out ur mistake does that mean we should question ur work. oh they become the la laker after the 1959-60 season was over and boston never met the laker in the nba finals before 1959

  81. spoke says:

    Give Dirk some credit please. He deserves it.

  82. rbrandonadams says:

    isiah thomas scored a finals record 25 points on one leg and has to be brought up more

  83. hitman says:

    the author gave credit to the players who won a championships.. dirk and allen Iverson, still don’t win a title yet.. and only dirk has the chance to win one.. not if AI will comeback and play for a stronger team..

  84. Sad says:

    Why is it that Fran always has to write and tear down other players performances. Instead of writing an article about a great perfomance. you write oh it was good but ”were not going there”. I’m so sick of this NBA cliche of players being judged of previous greats in different eras. By now every nba fan should realise that people who grew up in different eras. are always gonna stick to there eras. Such as the Kobe-MJ debate,Magic-Bird, Lebron greatest ever. Seriously… our sport is being destroyed by the media and refs. So sick of it.

    • vdot says:

      i was wit u till the lebron comment…u kno as well as tha nation that lebrick is not even n tha top ten..Ability?????…he might b tha greastest but greastest player????….FAR from it burh..heres 2 players that are better than lebron carmelo n durant!!!!..lebron gets tha popularity ova these dudes but TALENT wise he lacking!!!!!!

      • bob says:

        i agree on both of you, but dont be so mad of this media thing they are doing that comparison to attract many readers to read their article.they dont give a @#@t on what readers are thinking they only care that you read it.

  85. DKing says:

    1998 Bulls-Jazz Game 6 – Jordan 45 points, the layup > steal > game winner from the free throw line (championship winner, career-capping), Pippen with a back injury, also prevented game 7 in Utah

  86. Joey says:

    Can we just clear something up?

    Dwayne Wade is on the list because he sparked his team from two down in the series and 13 down in the game to win that game and the next three straight. It is a series that is concluded and that game epitomized what Wade meant to the series. It was an incredible game and deserving of this list. It’s not just on here because Blineburry likes the Heat.

    Dirks game was impressive, very impressive. Comparing it to Jordan’s game, however, is a bit much. I know they both had fevers but through the fever Jordan scored 38 grabbed 7 dished 5 stole 3 and blocked 1 on almost 50% shooting. Rather than submitting an all time performance last night Dirk, in my opinion, just showed the type of all time player that he is. Playing with a fever, struggling must of the game, and still coming through when your team absolutely needs you is the stuff that NBA legends are made of, and that’s what Dirk showed me. It really means nothing that he’s not considered on this list honestly. It was impressive, and a testament to his game and his legacy, but it does not rank up with the 10 games listed above. It just doesn’t. I know he had a fever, and doing what he did was difficult considering, but pay some respect to these other performances. His game two performance is more worthy of this list anyways, in my opinion, if you were to put any of his on.

  87. Modris says:

    I think, in vote should be Willis Reed too, his preformence was good, dont care, that he scored just 4 points, he helped his team moraly to beat Lakers!

  88. nils says:

    I dont get it. Shouldnt the list be about games where players had injuries or were sick.
    Most of the games mentioned above do not match though.
    however, dirks performance was big for a player who is sick.

  89. starbucks says:

    Great game by Mav’s And the Heat’s. But the Miami Heats could have ended the game a little more better defensively.

  90. Nik123dj says:

    Jordan’s ”flu game” belongs to the first place, and Magic Johnson in the second. Magic was healthy scoring 42 points, MJ scored 38 with a flu, with a 3-point dagger that sealed the game on the road. Pippen had to carry out the man in the end because he couldn’t walk. Thats gutsy, not Magic. Both are great players, but MJ is just more than Magic, sorry.

    • Ruben says:

      that’s one of the stupidest comments i’ve ever read.

      you say MJ scored 38 with flu and Magic 42 with no injury.

      Did you know that MJ managed to average 30 points per game in his career, and Magic not even 20 ppg?

      Magic doubled his average!! and he was a 20 years old rookie!!! playing as center/forward and guard

      on the road! with the superstar of the team injured sittin’ back in LA!!! that’s GUTS!

      MJ performance was good, but not that spectacular considering that everybody knew that time that MJ

      was the best player in the world..

      Magic just came along with something nobody was expecting…

  91. Andrew says:

    Well clearly nobody read the article because Baylor’s 61 and 22 is insane and should be number one. It’s currently last in the voting. Magic’s was number 2. After that take your pick. If you think differently your stupid.

    • Sumner_21 says:

      russell 30 and 40 in game 7 OT

    • bob says:

      If other people think differently base on what your thinking it doesn’t mean that they are stupid they just have different view, you are the stupid for thinking that.

  92. ORPHAN says:

    Im with you Fran Blinebury. FINALLY SOMEONE WITH BRAIN!!!!!!!!!! GOD ARTICLE.

    Im wonder if Miami wins “someone” could died…I dont know……mmmm

    • THEHECKLER says:

      Wait…all the players mentioned in this list have NO illness,injury, etc, EXCEPT for MJ. So how can you compare dirk’s performance in Game 4 with this list? we all know Dirk has a 101degree fever and an injured finger.

      I’m not a fan of both teams but let us give credit to whoever deserves it. Dirk’s flu game may not be better than MJ’s flu game, but I think Dirk’s game should be in this list.

      Btw, Wade should be given a lot of credit also for carrying Miami. Clearly he is the biggest among the big3. But this article clearly is made by a Miami fan. I believe some objectivity would be necessary.

  93. nick says:

    what about A.I.’s game one

    • Zar The Knicks Fan says:

      yeah A.I game one was sick. i love the 3 point shot he made over Lue then stand on Lue and look down on him like “You got nothing on me boy!”. if it wasn’t for A.I lakers would have get first perfect Playoff in NBA history. (and we would have read Lakers’ fans bragging about perfect playoffs for decades and kobe’s fans will be even go crazier. :P)

  94. Josh says:

    Its pretty obvious that you’re a Heat Fan because of including Wade instead of Dirk, wade haven’t got flu that time nor injury, no one will believe that… For Dirk, its a game winning shot that will be remembered forever in the game of basketball…..

  95. steven says:

    how silly the votes put jordan at #1 and not magic…. i suppose everyone has a short memory oh well.

    the mavs are lucky to be in this their two wins have been comebacks, they need to win one without the stress and drama of final second play.

    AND i think in each game that The Jet has scored even a single point in the fourth quater the mavs have won??? is that right?

    • bsj says:

      The championship mettle of a team can be measured by how they finish games as well as how they play during the other three quarters. In that regard, the Heat have proven they are not a championship team.

      Actually Miami is lucky they aren’t down 3-1. 9 times out of 10 Dirk makes that final shot in game 3. Your Heat team needs to check their egos and start playing team ball.

      • Anthony says:

        Actually the heat should be up 3-1 or better heat should be the Champs already because they gave dallase two games by not playing hard dallas is struggling to stay in these games when u have to come back every game or hope the other taem has a meltdown then that shows that the Mavs are running out of luck the heat just like they have done all season no they are talented and it sometimes hurts them but they have dallas number its over for the Mavs ..

    • D-mavs says:

      You must remember these r the finals there always going to be close fought game and Mavs have the knack of surging late- but i do agree i want the mavs to take game 5 in a comfortable fashion and it’s obvious that its a must win game considiring i will doubt we will 2 games on the bounce in miami.
      Hopefully Kidd, Jet and Matrix will have big nights to relieve the pressure on dirk a bit.

  96. Josh says:

    you may that definitely because he’s no American, that’s how Manny Paquiao is treated nowadays, even though we all know he is the best. There’s no comparison between Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Jordan because they are both clutch players, they can win games on their own, The real argument is why Lebron was called the best player today which is very ridiculous, he is simply the worst thing that ever happen in the NBA…

    • jayy says:

      i smell a Lebron hater haha
      leave the man alone he’s already led heat past the celtice by being clutch and past the bulls by defending rose, he’s chocking now i will admit but let the man breath, and by the way i’m not a heat fan i was rooting for the bulls to beat the heat but we all know how that turned out :/

      • i3allen says:

        Heat’s Batman & Robin is D Wade+ LBJ
        LBJ is cool in playoff but his performance just like Robin by Batman’s side.

        And that’s why Pippen think LBJ could be much greater than MJ.
        That’s Pippen’s dream which never come true.

      • Anthony says:

        Hows is labron the worst think for the NBA the guy is more talented than any player in the league he does everything pas, score, redound , defend can you say that about Dirk who been put out of the first round two times by teams with little talent or no star players labron took less talented teams than Dirk ever played on to the finals and conference finals..

    • LakersWillWin says:

      yeah people compare Kobe to LeBron and actually say he’s better.
      D.Wade would be a better comparison, guy is a beast. AND they actually play the same position.

    • celticsbabyyaaaaaaaaaaaaa says:

      lol come on, Ask any NBA analyst. LBJ is best player in the world. 30/7/7 every night. I’m a celtics fan.

      • Jordzenegger says:

        Ahhhh, 30/7/7? Who’s stat line is this. Because it’s not Lebron’s. Let’s not tweak the numbers to prove a point.

    • Jake Steed says:

      Actually Dirk and Jordan can not be compared as both being able to win games on their own. Dirk is not as good because he has to be set up with the ball. He cannot take the ball down full court and create the shot and win the game. He has to post up and rely on someone else to get him the ball. So if that person fails, then he fails. Jordan could make anything happen from beginning to end. I know you wish you could lift Dirk to the level of Jordan, but it is impossible. Jordan’s 6 Championships to Dirk’s Nothing is all that needs be said.

    • FFT says:

      Hater’s gonna hate

  97. Prayag says:

    Drik is good !!!

  98. Sean says:

    Listen… Dirk had an great game last night, but let’s not get all carried away by comparing it with Michael Jordan’s “Flu Game”. Not only was it not “on par” with MJ’s game, you can’t even compare two games. MJ’s performance was far superior.

    • Anthony says:

      Dirk hit some big shots late in game 4 but he really didnt have a good game he had his worst game to me scoring only 21 points his bench and teammates won that game, a lay-up on haslem whos alot shorter is not such a big deal if your that type of scorer Wade being played one on one would have made that paly also.

  99. Cotton says:

    Oops, I meant to say that none of the OTHERS besides the MJ 1997 one had people that were ill/sick.

  100. Kamote says:

    it doesnt matter if Dirk’s “flu game” wouldnt be included in the all-time greats. Thats just the hype being created. We saw the game today… though Dirk didnt pull-off a Jordanesque game… he was still there to win it at the crucial moments. The game was won, which is much more important than ranking it with the all-time highlights.

    Much like Mayweather would be remembered 50 years from now for his unblemished record. But people today know he chickened out from his greatest challenge. Stats and stories and all the hype created by the media sometimes aren’t just healthy for the game :).

  101. Cotton says:

    You DO realize that none of those people had a 101 degree fever during their performances, right? That’s why others were comparing Nowitzki’s performance to the Michael Jordan performance while he ALSO had the flu. It doesn’t seem like you could have misunderstood that was the reference but I just thought I’d let you know just in case.

    • bwana01 says:

      During the 4th quarter of Jordan’s “flu” game, he was dehydrated, exhausted, nauseated, and running 103 temp! He scored 15 of the Bull’s 23 points in the quarter, snatching victory from almost certain defeat. With 6.2 seconds remaining, Michael was so tired that Scottie Pippen had help him to the bench.

      • TrueChampionsDontLeaveTown says:

        …and this is why comparing anyones Greatness to MJ is stupid. Very rarely there comes a player who is at the top of their game, who’s skill out matches the other players, BUT who’s desire/will to win is greater than his natural skill (which is unbelieveable considering it is MJ!).

        Never has the NBA seen a player who’s will to win was greater than MJs.

    • Team South Beach says:

      Don’t you never, ever, ever, ever dare to mention Dirk in the same breath as Jordan. Comparing their performances it’s something only a Mavs fan would do. Plus what was so great about Dirk performance anyway? His #s, average by his standards, he was sick and played bellow his avarage. Look at MJ stats on that game, they where MJ like #s, the kind of numbers he would get at his best but he was a sick dog that night. Jordan was, is and will always be the best player to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. No Kobe, Lebron and definitively no Dirk will ever be as great as MJ. They will all go down as great players, with Lebron and Dirk both beeing very unike talents, but let’s stop this nonsence already. Dirk performance doesn’t belong on this list, If you were not a Dallas fan you would agree too.

  102. Will says:

    Where is Allen Iverson’s game 1 performance in the 2001 finals at? The guy fully carried the 76ers in that game to beat the Lakers, not to mention the jumper he made over Tyronn Lue during overtime. Think he finished with 48 points in the end which seems fully deserving

    • GoDALLAS says:

      Didnt you notice, all in the list won their championship after their amazing performance.

      • Meyo says:

        Both number 7 and 8 didn’t win the championship despite their amazing performance.

      • Arcenio says:

        Elgin Baylor and Isiah Thomas both lost the series and Isiah even lost the game, Allen Iverson was the only person to beat the Lakers in the playoffs that year.

  103. DIRK DESERVE THE NO.3 spot says:

    No. 3 must be replace by DirK Nowitzki, 2011 Game 2 despite of torn tendon in his middle finger he manage to win the game from a 15 pt. deficit 7 min left in 4Q. Score last 10points including a buzzer beater to tied the series to 1-1.. Blineburry its very obvious that your a heat fan.

    • Jerry says:

      Wade is better he borught his team back too and he was down 0-2 in the series about to go down 0-3 …

      • jayy says:

        i give dirk some credit but there’s no way in hell that should be number 3, ahead of d-wade 2006 comeback from 2-0 nah i dont think so, oh and by the way dirk didnt make a buzzer beater he made a game winning lay-up but was still a great play

      • Anthony says:

        Dirk was great in that game 2 but Wade performance in 2006 was way better they were down big with less time in the game and he’s only 6’4 dominating on offense and Deffense thats better to me..Dirk’s only great on offense he’s ok on deffense not great..

    • Lloyd D. says:

      yes it should really replace it

  104. Chatilion Fernandez says:

    Those were the greats of the great, especially majic johnson who played center for the lakers, common, thats the beast among them all, thats why he is the best player in that generation, with no doubt, he carried his team to the championship with their best scorer was ijnured

  105. DIRK'S REVENGE!!! says:

    Judging by the first 4 Games Dirk is MVP!!!

    But Wade is close behind, so MAVS … KEEP GIVING 110% and HELP DIRK GO ALL THE WAY!!!!

    It’s about time folks started GIVING THIS DALLAS TEAM SOME CREDIT!!!

    • Christine says:

      i agree completely. Go MAVS kick heat butt!!!
      Mavs deserve this champrionship and i think that youre right the mavs haven’t been given full credit at all.

      • LovetheHeat says:

        the Heat deserved this championship too coz there HATED all season long and hate is even worse than not given credit…

        Maybe let’s just say MAY THE BETTER TEAM WIN…

    • LovetheHeat says:

      as far as it goes it’s yet another Dirk-DWade showdown…

  106. bsj says:

    Move #8 to # 3 please.

    I don’t see Tim Duncan’s 32/20 performance as anything special for the Finals to put it in the top 10 either.

    • QuestionMark says:

      Seriously? You don’t consider a near quadruple double anything special? 32 pts, 20 boards, 7blocks and 6 asts, that is near a quadruple double/

    • lakersforever says:

      i think you need to realize what you are saying 32 and 20 rebodns and 7 blocks those are huge numbers the only thing makes it not so great is that it was against the nets who the lakers swept the year before and it was game 1 but those numbers are insane it was in the finals remeber that

    • OzHeatFan says:

      HOW ??

      can anyone pick anything other than Bill Russell??? The dude got 40 rebounds!!!!!

      HOLY SH!T !!!

      • Saumya says:

        So what it was back in the days where the average height of a player was like 6’2″. Rebounds were easier for big players back then. Magic’s one was the best I saw. I mean the PG playing Center in the deciding game! It’s almost not fair

      • D Welch says:

        Yeah dude 40 rebounds and 30 points….WOW

    • i3allen says:

      I cannot agree with u anymore!!!

      • Mike says:

        magic was a PG indeed but u forget he was also 6’9″….not exactly a small gaurd…but a great game indeed…But MJ had a great line with a flu and hit the Winning shot…i would flip MJ to 1st and Magic to 2nd