We’ve asked our stable of scribes to take one last look back at the 2011 NBA playoffs.
In 10 years, the one get-out-of-my-seat-and-scream-“Wow!” moment from the 2011 playoffs that I’ll remember:
Steve Aschburner: Derrick Rose put all his 2011 MVP wonderfulness on display in Game 3 of the Bulls’ Eastern Conference semifinals series against Atlanta. Rose scored a career-high 44 points, hit four of his seven 3-pointers on a night of 16-of-27 shooting and played at a higher sped than anyone else on the floor. No other Bulls starter scored more than seven points, all five Hawks starters reached double figures – and it didn’t matter with Rose seeking-and-attacking. “The first timeout I called, 49 seconds into the game, I saw an energy level that right away I knew we were in trouble,” Atlanta coach Larry Drew said.
Fran Blinebury: He does so much. He makes much of it look easy. But when LeBron James split Shawn Marion and Dirk Nowitzki and zoomed in to throw down that vicious one-handed tomahawk dunk on Ian Mahinmi in Game 3 of the Finals, I could practically feel it down to my toes. And probably so could most of Mahinmi’s fellow countrymen back in France.
Shaun Powell: LeBron‘s closeout stretch in the clincher over the Bulls, where he dropped three-point daggers and then ran over and swatted Derrick Rose‘s game-tying attempt at the buzzer. Who knew he wouldn’t be able to duplicate that against Dallas?
John Schuhmann: Dirk Nowitzki hitting a wide-open three to put the Mavs up 93-90 with 26 seconds left in Game 2 of The Finals. Mario Chalmers tied the game back up and Dirk needed another bucket to get the win, but the Mavs’ comeback from 15 down was one of the most stunning things I’ve seen covering this league. It came against a team that had been putting runs like that on other teams and it quickly changed The Finals from possibly being a sweep to likely going six or seven games.
Sekou Smith: Since the Mavericks went home with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, you’d figure the top spot in this category would have to involve the champs. And it does. But it’s not anything that went on their six-game tilt against Miami in The Finals. With the two-time defending champion Lakers on the ropes, down 3-0 at American Airlines Center, the Mavericks’ shooters kicked their game into overdrive. They knocked down a record-tying 20 of 32 shots from beyond the 3-point line to blow the Lakers out in Game 4. Jason Terry nailed a record-tying nine of his 10 shots from deep and Peja Stojakovic went a perfect 6-fot-6. And Lakers center Andrew Bynum added injury to the insult by cheap-shotting J.J. Barea with a mid-air elbow to the ribs in the final minutes of the rout. The stunner wasn’t just that the Lakers were being swept out of the playoffs, it was how the Mavericks did it that really shocked the system.