Monday, June 19, 2006 Updated: June 20, 11:42 AM ET
Greatest moment in these playoffs? Favorite moment?
These playoffs have been full of great moments. Our panel of experts share their favorites.
1. What is the greatest moment of this year's postseason?Ric Bucher, ESPN Mag:Gary Payton's game-winning jumper in Game 3 of the Finals. Biggest FG in Heat history. He defied his reputation as a man without a jumper and lived up to his reputation as a never-say-die competitor. Without that shot, Heat are already done.
John Hollinger, ESPN Insider:Dirk Nowitzki's three-point play in Game 7 against San Antonio. Not only the biggest play of the season, but the defining moment in Nowitzki's career and the first time we ever seriously thought he might be the best player in the league.
Jim O'Brien, ESPN Insider: The Miami Heat comeback in Game 3. This was very significant for a number of reasons. First, it completely changed the whole series from a blowout series to a great series. Those last six minutes so totally changed the momentum of the series it is almost shocking.
In addition, it was a very important moment for the whole league. These great playoffs were in danger of ending on a sour note if Dallas dominated the series and knocked Miami out in four or five games. Now, there are so many great story lines for all of us to enjoy.
Will Perdue, ESPN Insider: My greatest moment is Dirk driving to the basket for the game-tying shot and free throw vs. San Antonio in Game 7.
Chris Sheridan, ESPN Insider:I don't think it's an all-time Top 10 moment, especially to the folks in San Antonio, but Game 7 of the Mavericks-Spurs series was such a great game, such a fitting end to such a great series, that it sticks in my head. Watching Gregg Popovich walk over to Avery Johnson with a smile on his face, despite losing, kind of captured it for me. I think that smile showed how much Pop appreciated the quality of that series.
Ken Shouler, ESPN.com: I thought Jason Terry's step-back corner jumper over Tim Duncan with seconds left (in regulation) in Dallas' win over San Antonio was a gutsy shot. It was just Game 4, but it was the greatest because it signaled that Dallas would topple the favored Spurs and at last get a chance to go to the Finals. Of course they had to play three more games to get one win against San Antonio and then beat Phoenix, but I believed after Terry's shot that they would do both.
2. What is your favorite moment from this year's postseason?Bucher:Dwyane Wade slicing down the gut, dunking on, basically, the entire Mavs team and then racing back to block someone's shot (I can't remember who and it doesn't really matter.) It was in Game 1, I believe, and while it didn't mean victory, it was a sign that Mr. Wade was going to do whatever, whenever, however many times, to give the Heat a chance. As he has.
Hollinger: My favorite moment was Games 5 and 6 of the Cleveland-Washington series, just because of all the big shots LeBron James and Gilbert Arenas traded back and forth. That was the best mano-a-mano playoff duel since Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins.
O'Brien: Nowitzki's performance in Game 7 in San Antonio and in particular his drive and three-point play. The whole Dallas franchise was reeling after Manu Ginobili's 3-point bucket. This would have been a devastating loss for the Mavs but Dirk pulled it out being the superstar that he is.
Perdue: My favorite moment is Pop congratulating Avery on winning Game 7 in San Antonio.
Sheridan: It's a tie really, between Game 1 of the Wizards-Cavaliers series in Cleveland and Game 6 of the Heat-Pistons series in Miami. What sticks in my head about the Cavs' Game 1, aside from LeBron James' triple-double in his postseason debut, was seeing 90 percent of the fans already in their seats a good 20-25 minutes before tipoff. I've never seen a building quite so pumped before. As for the Heat-Pistons finale, the utter joy that I witnessed from the Heat fans at the end of that game was so genuine, it was just really neat.
Shouler:Kobe Bryant nailing the jumper against Phoenix with 0.7 seconds left in Game 4 was just thrilling. Steve Nash's 3-pointer, Bryant's layup, Luke Walton's tie-up of Nash, the jump ball and Bryant's elevating for the 17-footer -- it was a classic sequence that holds a candle to most anything I've seen. You could just see that sequence of plays buiilding inevitably to that last moment.