Greatest Finals performances: No. 8

Editor's note: We're ranking the best Finals performances since the NBA-ABA merger.


8. Shaquille O'Neal, L.A. Lakers, 2000

The Diesel was at the top of his powers in 2000, dominating the Pacers in the paint to help L.A. claim its first of three straight titles.

Shaq had 43 in the opener and 41 in the clincher, and he wasn't too shabby in between. Thanks to Indiana's Hack-a-Shaq strategy, O'Neal took an absurd 39 free throws in Game 2 -- even more absurd, he made only 18 -- on his way to a 40-point night in a Lakers win.

For the series, O'Neal shot 61.1 percent from the floor … but only 38.7 percent from the line. Despite the missed freebies, his averages were superhuman -- Shaq's 38.0 points were the second-most ever by a player on a winning team. He also netted 16.7 boards and 2.7 blocks -- and he played more than 45 minutes a game in the series, an insane total for a low-post player.

O'Neal did miss out on one key moment, as he fouled out with 2:33 left in overtime in the pivotal Game 4. But the Lakers prevailed behind Kobe Bryant to go up 3-1, and they clinched the series two games later.

John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.

Justin Kubatko of Basketball-Reference.com contributed research to this list.