Monday, December 27
The NBA's greatest games
 
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 1962: Wilt scores 100
March 2, 1962: Philadelphia Warriors 169, New York Knicks 147
In front of a small crowd in Hersey, Pa., with no media present, Wilt Chamberlain did the unthinkable: he scored 100 points. To put the accomplishment in a little perspective, the second-highest scoring game in NBA history (78, also by Wilt) isn't even close. Wilt set a league record for field goals (36), free throws (28 of 32), most points for a quarter (31), and most points for a half (59). The Knicks swarmed around him defensively and committed repeated fouls to try to stop him, but they couldn't.

1970 NBA Finals, Game 7
May 8, 1970: New York Knicks 113, Los Angeles Lakers 99
The Willis Reed game. The center and captain of the Knicks suffered a torn muscle in his right thigh in Game 5 and did not play in Game 6 as Wilt Chamberlain's 45 points and 27 rebounds led the Lakers to a win. Not expected to play in Game 7, Reed took an injection to dull the pain and just before tipoff he limped through the tunnel and onto the court. The Madison Square Garden crowd went nuts and the Knicks were energized. Reed scored the first two buckets of the game and Walt Frazier (36 points, 19 assists) did the rest as the Knicks won their first NBA title.

1976 NBA Finals, Game 5
June 4, 1976: Boston Celtics 128, Phoenix Suns 126 (3 OT)
With the series tied at 2-2, the upstart Suns went to Boston on a Friday night and just about pulled it off. They certainly had chances. The one moment everyone has seen was in the second overtime, after John Havlicek drove the length of the floor in the final seconds to hit a 15-foot apparent game-winning shot. Boston fans poured onto the fabled parquet floor. However, there was still one second left. Order was restored and the Suns' Gar Heard hit a turnaround jumper to send the game onward again, to a record third extra period. The Celtics won it in the third overtime and took the series two days later.

1980 NBA Finals, Game 6
May 16, 1980: Los Angeles Lakers 123, Philadelphia 76ers 107
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sprained his ankle in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and the Lakers traveled to Philadelphia trying to clinch the series. But with Jabbar out, who plays center? Rookie point guard Magic Johnson steps up and tells coach Paul Westhead he's the man at center. Magic took the opening tap and went on to give one of the top performances of his Hall of Fame career, scoring 42 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and dishing out seven assists in a shocking win that clinched the first of five Lakers' titles with Magic on board.

1983: Points galore
Dec. 13, 1983: Detroit Pistons 186, Denver Nuggets 184 (3 OT)
There were 9,655 fans present for the highest scoring game in NBA history, played at McNichols Arena in three overtimes. This one was pretty high scoring in regulation alone, as the score was 145-145. By the time it ended, four players had scored more than 40 points. Nuggets center Dan Issel scored 28, which was topped by five players. Other amazing notes: The Pistons might have topped 200 had they not made only 37 of 60 free throws. Isiah Thomas missed nine on his own, but made up for it with 47 points and 17 assists. John Long (41 points) and Kelly Tripucka (35) enjoyed themselves for Detroit, while Kiki Vandeweghe (51) and Alex English (47) nearly combined for 100 for Denver. Six NBA records were broken in this one, and all stand today.

1987 NBA Finals, Game 4
June 9, 1987: Los Angeles Lakers 107, Boston Celtics 106
Magic's hook shot in the lane won it at the Boston Garden to put the Lakers up 3-1 in the series. The Lakers had come back from a 16-point halftime deficit to take the lead on an Abdul-Jabbar shot in the closing minute, then a Larry Bird three gave Boston a 106-104 lead with 12 seconds left. Abdul-Jabbar hit a free throw and the Lakers got the ball back with enough time for Johnson to dribble toward the key and toss up an old-fashioned hook shot for the win.

1988 Eastern semifinals, Game 7
May 22, 1988: Boston Celtics 118, Atlanta Hawks 116
Bird and Dominique Wilkins went head-to head against each other in a memorable shootout. "It was like two gunfighters waiting to blink," Kevin McHale said. With the score tied at 86 and 10 minutes left to play, the stars took over. Bird fired first and scored nine points in a span of 1 minute, 58 seconds. Dominique began to match him, scoring 11 points in a five-minute stretch, but Bird also had 11 in that stretch. Wilkins purposely missed a free throw with one second left and his team down two but Boston's Robert Parish got the rebound. While Wilkins scored 47 points on 19-for-23 shooting and contributed 16 in the final period, Bird finished with 34 points on 15-of-24 shooting and, most importantly, 20 in the final period.

1998 NBA Finals, Game 6
June 14, 1998: Chicago Bulls 87, Utah Jazz 86
Michael Jordan had many memorable games in his illustrious career, but this was his final game, and naturally, he won it with a game-winning shot. Jordan scored 45 points on a night when teammate Scottie Pippen was hindered with a bad back. After making a steal in the closing seconds, he hit the game-winning jumper with 5.2 seconds left to play, leaving Utah's Bryon Russell helpless. Jordan stutter-stepped, used a cross-over dribble to get free and drained the shot. The Bulls had their sixth NBA title in eight years.
 




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