We have been witness to some awe-inspiring NBA games in the last decade. Some games have left us speechless whereas some games left us in shock. We have seen it all, be it the upsets, be it the one-sided victories, the neck to neck battles and the triple and quadruple overtime thrillers. With that being said, let's have a look at some of the best games played in the last decade:
#1 Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers: Game 7, 2016 NBA Finals
"The Block, The Shot, The Stop". This game will arguably go down as the greatest game in NBA finals history. The Warriors finished the regular season with a 73-9 record, the best regular season record in NBA history. They made it to the NBA finals and were up 3-1 heading into game 5. Statistics were on the Warriors side as no team in finals history had come back from a 3-1 deficit.
The game's greatest player LeBron James and his point guard Kyrie Irving took matters in their hands and led their team to a remarkable comeback and evened up the series at 3-3. The Cavs had the momentum heading into game 7 but it was at the Oracle Arena, home of the Warriors.
With 1:52 remaining in the 4th quarter, the scores were tied at 89 and Andre Iguodala had the opportunity to give the Warriors a two-point lead with what looked like an easy layup. LeBron James came out of nowhere to block his shot off the board and give the Cavs a crucial possession. Kyrie Irving stepped up and nailed a clutch three-pointer to give the Cavs a 3 point lead.
The Warriors needed a three-pointer to tie the game but Stephen Curry missed on the following possession after some brilliant defense from Kevin Love. LeBron James was fouled hard on a dunk attempt on the next possession and made 1 out of 2 free throws to give the Cavs a 4 point lead.
The Warriors had 10 seconds on the clock and Curry missed yet another 3 pointer as the Cavs players rushed onto the court and started celebrating the greatest comeback in NBA finals history. "Cleveland, this is for you" yelled an exuberant LeBron James in his post-game interview as he delivered on his promise of bringing a championship to the city of Cleveland, their first title in franchise history.
#2 Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs: Game 6, 2013 NBA Finals
The Spurs and the Heat had great regular seasons. The Spurs finished with a 58-24 record and the Heat finished with a 66-16 record. The two teams met in the NBA finals and what a riveting series it proved to be.
The Spurs led the series 3-2 heading into game 6 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. After 3 quarters, the Spurs were up 10 and it looked like the veteran experience that they had at their disposal in Ginobili, Duncan, and Parker would take them over the finishing line.
With 28 seconds remaining in the fourth, the Spurs led 94-89 and it looked like they were heading to their fifth championship in franchise history. LeBron James scored a three-pointer at the other end to cut the deficit to 2 points.
Kawhi Leonard made 1 out of 2 free throws at the other end to give the Spurs a 3 point lead. With 19 seconds left on the clock, Mario Chalmers dribbled the ball up court, Chris Bosh set a beautiful screen for LeBron James for the open three-pointer to tie the game but he missed it. Bosh grabbed an incredible rebound and passed the ball in the corner to the greatest three-point shooter in NBA history, Ray Allen.
Allen still had a lot to do after receiving the ball as he had to step back beyond three-point territory and shoot the ball over the outstretched arm of Tony Parker. Allen made the shot, probably the biggest shot of his career and tied the game at 95. Tony Parker missed on a difficult game-winning attempt and the contest went into overtime.
The Heat eventually managed to pull off a hard-fought 103-100 victory and eventually won game 7 as well to close out the series 4-3. Allen's three-pointer was the turning point in the series and it will go down as one of the greatest moments in finals history.
#3 Miami Heat vs Dallas Mavericks: Game 2, 2011 NBA Finals
The Miami Heat were heavily favored to win the championship in 2011 as all-stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh had joined the team at the beginning of the season to team up with superstar Dwyane Wade.
Although they had a slow start to the season, they eventually got used to each others playing styles and made it to the NBA finals in their first season together. The Dallas Mavericks had a strong season with a 57-25 record and also swept the reigning NBA champions,the Los Angeles Lakers, on their way to the NBA finals. The Heat won game 1 92-84 behind strong performances from James and Wade.
In game 2, with 7:14 left to play in the fourth, the Heat were up 88-73, a 15 point lead and it looked like it was going to be blow out win. A determined Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry took over from then on and led the Mavericks to an incredible comeback and they ended up winning the game 95-93.
It was the biggest comeback in an NBA finals game since the 24-point comeback the Celtics had made against the Lakers in game 4 of the 2008 NBA finals. Despite being the underdogs in the 2011 finals, the Dallas Mavericks went on to win the championship and what was more impressive was that they did it in 6 games.
#4 Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics: Game 7, 2010 NBA Finals
The two most decorated franchises in NBA history - the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers met for the 12th time in the NBA Finals in 2010. The teams have 33 championships among them (Boston Celtics - 17, Los Angeles Lakers - 16). They met in the 2008 finals as well with the Celtics prevailing in 6 games thanks to big games from their big 3 of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
This time though it was the Lakers who won in 7 games. The series did not lack any drama with both sides giving it their absolute best. The series was tied 3-3 with game 7 to be played in Los Angeles.
In game 7, after three quarters the score was almost neck to neck with the Celtics up by 4.The Lakers fought hard in the fourth and took the lead. With about 1 minute remaining in the 4th quarter, the Lakers led the game 76-73. Ron Artest made a clutch three-pointer to extend the lead to 79-73 which proved to be the dagger. The Lakers won the game 83-79 and Kobe Bryant won his fifth ring and also earned finals MVP honors.
#5 Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers: Game 5, 2016 NBA Finals
There's a reason this game deserves a mention. The Warriors were up 3-1 in the NBA Finals and were looking to close out the series at their home court. The Cavaliers had their backs against the wall, they were playing in front of a raucous crowd and were under immense pressure.
They did have one advantage though, the heart and soul of the Warriors, Draymond Green was suspended for game 5 due to his late-game antics in game 4. The Cavaliers needed a miracle and it came in the form of 2 individuals, 2 superstars who put their team on their backs and led them to an unbelievable comeback - LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
The two put up monstrous numbers scoring 41 points each as the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors 112-97 to force a game 6. It was a game that defines the character of a player and Irving and James surely showed great character.
There were a lot of other games that were truly spectacular but these are the ones that will truly remain in fans memories for years to come.
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