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One Man’s Take: Top 50 One-Game Finals Performances

 

The man is John Hollinger, and the take is limited to the 1977 Finals and beyond for reasons Hollinger explains here, so don’t look for any Russell/Heinsohn/Jones/Cousy appearances.

The Lakers and Michael Jordan dominate the list. By my count, 28 of the 50 spots go to either Jordan or a member of the Lakers, including 14 of the top 20 all-time games.

Four individual Celtics games—and three individual Celtics—make the list.

Whoever can name all four games without looking gets a cookie. Honor code, folks.

  • Tom

    Probably Leon in 08, Bird, McHale and Bird again

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    More specific please. Individual games required. Bird does make the list.

  • cam

    I was born in 85 so don’t know those 80′s games too well but obviously bird and gotta be Mchale. Maybe Maxwell? What about rondo game 6 in 08? I really didn’t look into what his formula was

  • Coolin

    I don’t know the games, but I will go with Bird, McHale and Pierce.

  • Zack

    Maxwell
    Bird
    Rondo for his triple doubles (maybe Pierce for 08)
    As for actual games i have no idear

  • http://cofgreen.blogspot.com Dave

    I would say Bird in the clincher in ’86 (he had a triple-double, I think), maybe KG or Ray Allen for game 6 of 2008 (KG had a monster game with something like 25/15 and the ridiculous and-1 from the 2nd quarter on Odom and Ray hit 7 threes to break the will of the Lakers and tie Kenny Smith’s record for 3s in a FInals game and set the mark for total 3s made in a Finals), Cedric Maxwell’s “get on my back, boys” game 7 from 1984, and maybe Bird again from ’84 or ’86? Is that good enough for a cookie?

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Dave is extremely close to getting a cookie, though he must narrow his choices to exactly four games.

  • zeus

    how good if DJ Mbenga? all i know is that he is also a 7 footer. what about Josh Powell?

  • inolongerhatemarquisdaniels

    after keeping the mystery going for a little longer could you please tell us… i dont feel like paying to become an espn insider

    If I was to guess i would pretty much copy and paste Daves’s guesses

    Maxwell 84
    Bird 86
    KG 08… game 6
    and Bird again in 84

  • I love Green

    Maxwell in the clincher in 84
    Bird in the clincher in 86
    KG in the clincher in 08
    Ray Ray in game 2 this year

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    You are all close, but no one has it exact.

  • Mike

    I’m surprised Pierce’s game 7 against CLE in 08 didn’t make the list… a monster performance in a series clinching win which later led to an NBA title.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Finals only

  • MK

    Bird – 1986 Game 6
    KG – 2008 Game 6
    Bird – 1986 (i think it was game 1 he killed the Rockets right off the bat)
    Maxwell – 1981 “Get on my back boys”

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    So, so close MK. Check the year on Max.

  • MK

    Bird – 1986 Game 6
    KG – 2008 Game 6
    Bird – 1986 Game 1
    Maxwell – 1984 “Get on my back boys”

    Stupid me haha

  • Shooter

    What’s a cookie?

  • Korey

    #1 Finals Game of All Time..

    2010 – Game 5.

    Kobe Bryant, 35pts, 8 boards, 10 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

    Lakers roll.

    Yea, I said it.

  • Dave

    Korey, if you thing Kobe is ever going to pass a basketball again after he dished that lovely assist to Rondo to end game 4, you have another thing coming. 10 assists? Ha.

  • I love Green

    Kobe will never have that type of game against the Celtics, but a game like that from anyone wouldn’t get close to being #1 all time.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    MK gets a cookie.

  • t4inc

    Korey, I don’t even know why you bother to post here at all unless it’s to annoy Celtics fans.

    Kobe “NO MEANS NO” Bryant will NEVER, EVER exceed Jordan (or even Bird) — unless we’re measuring the number of bad shots taken in the Finals.

    The man is a certified ball-hog and glory seeker. It’s not even a stretch to say that he was happy to get 30 in game 4 even though his team lost.

    Kobe-lovers, don’t start holding up the 2010 Suns series as statistical “proof” that he can pass — any and all games played against the Suns need to be discounted by at least 30% because of the pace they play and their weak defense.

    The ONLY reason the Lakers are even in the Finals is because Memphis stupidly traded Gasol to them in the ’08. Otherwise, they’re basically the Miami Heat.

    Kobe, like Wilt, says it’s all about winning but in reality, Kobe, like Wilt, is all about his own numbers.

  • complexity

    If the Finals would have ended yesterday, would big baby be the finals mvp. He would have to be right?

  • pilgrimtraveller

    i was able to read only the top ten performances on hollinger’s list, not being a subscriber. at first, i was irritated by the lack of celtics representation, and i thought that hollinger’s list couldn’t be accurate; then i thought that it just might be accurate, because the celtics, when they have been good, have always put team accomplishments ahead of individual accomplishments. the ideal celtics game is one with five or six players scoring in double figures. while there have been great individual performances by celtics teams in the finals, their greatest performances were those of teams—game four this year being an excellent example.

  • Korey

    t4inc,

    I post because I post. Point. Blank. Period.

    I actually havent ever seen you post in the last 2 weeks so I guess that makes me more of a Celtics Hub regular than you are.

    Anyway, I post mainly for basketball debate and sometimes for a good ole fan-based ribbing of a rival. It’s all in good fun.

    Lastly, I could care less if Kobe is ever greater than Jordan or Wilt or whoever. Listen to who you are comparing him against. That already means he’s great if you cant even use his contemporaries for comparison anymore.

    I do know this though…Kobe > Bird. I dont expect any Celtics fan to agree with that, but just know thats what L.A. thinks. If you actually lay out the case side-by-side you’ll see a compelling argument. But if/when the Lakers win this chip, Kobe v. Bird wont even be a discussion. As for Kobe > Jordan, Magic, and all all that, not quite yet. Probably not ever.

    But I’m not losing sleep over it either. It’s called being a fan of a “team” not necessarily a player.

    And I call it like I see it. You want to judge greats? Lay out the numbers, the championship rings, and the accomplishments and make your “opinion”.

    The only truth though is MJ is #1. Everything else is theory.

  • Graham

    t4inc,

    I’m a celtics fan but Korey just owned you.

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