The countdown of the Top 10, single game Playoff performances since 2000 continues!
Tim Duncan vs. New Jersey Nets, Game 6, NBA Finals 2003.
Stats: 46 Mins, 21 Pts, 9/19 FGs, 0/1 3FGs, 3/5 FTs, 20 Rebs, 10 Asts, 8 Blks.
Spurs won the series 4-2.
What a season this was for Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. They had the best record in the regular season by 10 games, saw David Robinson (who was on the decline) and Steve Kerr retire, and had to overcome the Phoenix Suns, three-time defending champions Los Angeles Lakers, and state rivals the Dallas Mavericks just to get to the Finals where they would face the New Jersey Nets; who were runners-up the season before.
While flirting with a quadruple double (8 blocks; NBA Finals record), Tim Duncan earned his label as one of the greatest players of all time.
He averaged 24.2 points, 17.0 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on the series. What’s even more remarkable is the fact that he was going up against two incredible defenders in Kenyon Martin and Dikembe Mutombo.
Duncan’s performance in Game 6 is highly unappreciated and underrated. Tim was playing with an aging David Robinson, plus a young Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili who were just starting to make an imprint on the NBA. Duncan’s fundamental skills singlehandedly defeated the Nets on the offensive and defensive ends. Throughout the game and series, Tim produced an assortment of offensive moves that highlighted his versatility.
Arguable the most talented big man the NBA has ever seen, Duncan’s Hall of Fame performance was fascinating. He was tormenting every player on the New Jersey Nets. He did this through hitting jumpers, driving to the hole, dunking, bank shots, finding the open man, not allowing anyone in the pant, blocking shots, forcing the Nets to take jumpers, getting to the free throw line, you name it, Tim did it all.
The Nets were too scared to challenge “The Big Fundamental” Tim Duncan.
LeBron James vs. Detroit Pistons, Game 5, Eastern Conference Finals 2007.
Stats: 50 Mins, 48 Pts, 18/33 FGs, 2/3 3FGs, 10/14 FTs, 9 Rebs, 7 Asts, 2 Stls.
Cleveland won the series 4-2.
What a dominating finish to a game. You could have taken every Cleveland player off the floor except LeBron, and the same outcome would of occurred. LeBron was literally the only source of offense for the Cav’s with 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
James hit the last 11 Cavaliers’ field goals, the last 25 points straight for his team, and 29 of the Cavaliers’ last 30 points. LeBron shot 54 percent from the floor, while the rest of his team shot a pathetic 19 from 49 (38.77%!). If I were LeBron, I wouldn’t have passed the ball either. The only other player on LeBron’s team that had more than two baskets in the entire game was Zydrunas Ilgauskas (he had three field goals).
The incredible feat is, even though the Piston knew James would shoot the ball, they couldn’t stop him. James decided to drive to the hole, and did it with much success.
When LeBron got bored of getting to the hoop and forced the second overtime with a dunk, he started hitting jumpers; pulled out a behind the back crossover on Billups for the jay, a three to beat the shot clock as he faded out of bounds into the Pistons bench, then a ridiculous three-pointer over two Detroit defender! All extraordinarily tough shots that only the very, very elite players can make.