Thursday, June 14, 2012
Updated: June 15, 12:25 PM ET
Best single-game performances: 7
By John Hollinger
|In 1988, Zeke almost willed the Pistons to victory in Game 6 despite severely spraining his right ankle.|
7. Isiah Thomas, Pistons: 1988 Finals, Game 6
This was the best Finals game ever by a player whose team lost. Nobody who saw this game will ever forget Thomas' sheer determination in rattling off 25 of his 43 points in the third quarter despite spraining his ankle midway through the quarter when he landed on Michael Cooper's foot. Thomas had just scored 14 straight points, but limped to the sideline.
Not for long, however. With the Pistons one win away from a first-ever championship, he re-entered the game after half a minute and bravely hopped along
and kept scoring. The shot of Isiah hopping back upcourt after making a transition layup is a highlight-reel staple, as is his crashing into Cooper while banking in a 3 for a 4-point play. He finished with 41 points, eight assists and six steals, with the only blemish being a missed shot in the last minute that helped L.A. escape with a 103-102 victory.
Thomas' 36.8 Game Score is very nearly the best by any player in a losing effort ever, and given the stakes and the fact he was hopping for the final 16 minutes, it ranks as one of the best and most memorable Finals performances ever.
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