Top 10 NBA Finals Moments of the Twenty Teens
Throughout the last decade, there have been many NBA moments that went down in the history of basketball, as well as the entirety of the sporting world.
While regular season games have their fair share of Hall of Fame-worthy moments, the finals are where players are faced with overcoming the pressure that comes with making it to the end.
This article will count down some of those moments and decide which one holds the title for the decade’s greatest moment in the NBA finals.
Number 10: Young Kawhi Leonard destroying the Miami Heat dynasty in 2014
Not even three years into his NBA career, Kawhi Leonard faced his biggest challenge yet, which was versing back to back champions Miami Heat. Miami Heat was led by Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and they were looking to make their success a three-peat. Kawhi would lead the San Antonio Spurs to defeat the Heat 4-1 and claim Finals MVP. By getting revenge on the Heat and winning the championship, Kawhi would split up one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.
Number 9: Kevin Durant clutch three-pointer in 2018 finals game 3
Kevin Durant would hit one of the biggest shots of this series. With 49 seconds left, his three-pointer would give the defending Golden State Warriors a 106-102 lead. This shot would be deja vu for the opposing Cleveland Cavaliers who witnessed Durant do the same thing in the 2017 finals from the same spot, giving them a 114-113 point lead with 45 seconds left. The shot would cement the win for the Warriors who would go on to sweep the Cavaliers to claim their second championship.
Number 8: Toronto Raptors beating Golden State Warriors in 2019 finals
The Toronto Raptors had never won an NBA championship and were up to face the defending champions; Golden State Warriors. It would fall to Kawhi Leonard to end yet another dynasty as he did with Miami Heat back in 2014. After one of the craziest shots in NBA playoff history, he gave the Raptors the win in Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers who were determined to win the finals. After the Warriors faced multiple team injuries throughout the series, the Raptors were able to secure their first-ever championship and Kawhi Leonard received his second finals MVP.
Number 7: 2015 Golden State Warriors ending a 40-year team championship drought
This championship would not only end the Golden State Warriors 40-year championship drought but would also be the beginning of their dominance over the league. After years of rebuilding the team was lead by the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Coming off of a 67-15 season record, the Warriors were determined to make a name for themselves and finally be at the top. From this, they created one of the greatest finals rivalries, between the Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and would match-up in the finals for four years in a row.
Number 6: Ron Artest’s three-pointer in Game 7 of the 2010 finals
The Los Angeles Lakers faced a back and forth finals between the Boston Celtics and ending up pushing the series to seven games. With the Celtics leading for most of it the Lakers came back from a fourth-quarter deficit and held a small lead. With the main star Kobe Bryant struggling from the field, the ball ended up in Ron Artest’s hands. As with Bryant, Artest wasn’t shooting too well either, this time from behind the arc. With a minute left, Artest shot the ball about a foot behind the three-point line and gave the Lakers a six-point lead. This shot gave the Lakers the win and redeemed the team as they had previously lost to the Celtics in 2008. Not only did this shot give the Lakers their 16th championship, but it also gave Ron Artest the respect of the fanbase after being not that loved. It also led to one of the best press conferences ever.
Top 5 press conference ever. 🤣Happy birthday, Metta World Peace.
Posted by SLAM on Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Number 5: Kyrie Irving’s three-point shot over Stephen Curry in game 7 of 2016 finals
After helping the Cleveland Cavaliers to come back from a 3-1 deficit Kyrie Irving had one of, if not the best shots in the entire series. The Cavaliers got the ball in Kyrie’s hands with 69 seconds left and got Stephen Curry to guard him defensively. As the clock winds down and with the game tied 89-89, Kyrie couldn’t get passed Curry and decided to handle the ball, step to the side and drain the deep three-point shot with 55 seconds left on the clock. The Cavaliers would go on to win the game 93-89 and finally defeat their rivals. This shot would go down as one of the greatest shots in finals history.
#Throwback to "The Shot" by Kyrie Irving which helped bring home the #TBT #Uncle Drew #ThrowbackThursday
Posted by Cavs Nation on Thursday, 15 September 2016
Number 4: Lebron James blocking Andre Iguodala in Game 7 of the 2016 finals
Definitely the most memorable moment of the 2016 NBA finals was ‘The Block” by Lebron James. With the game tied 89-89, Andre Iguodala received the rebound and began to run the fastbreak. After giving the ball to Stephen Curry, Iguodala got the ball back and was about to lay in the ball to break the tie and ignite his team. But out of nowhere Lebron James sprinted and soared through the air to smack the ball against the backboard and give the ball right back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. This block would be a staple in the Cavaliers victory and one of Lebron James’s most memorable blocks.
— NBA (@NBA) June 21, 2016
Number 3: Ray Allens iconic three in Game 6 of the 2013 finals
With the San Antonio Spurs leading the series 3-2, the Miami Heat were desperate to take it to a seventh game. Towards the end of the game, the Spurs lead 95-92, team leader Lebron James tried to tie the game with a three-pointer that missed and was rebounded by big man Chris Bosh. Bosh then threw it to Ray Allen who hit the ridiculous shot to tie the game with 5.2 seconds left. The Heat would go on to win in overtime and later win the championship. This shot would be immortalised as one of the most clutch shots in NBA history and would cement Ray Allen as one of the best three-point shooters of all time.
When Ray Allen came up clutch in Game 6 🔥
Tonight, we’re re-airing Games 6 & 7 of the 2013 Finals on ESPN at 7 & 9:30 PM ET. pic.twitter.com/WHLmeHYb4K
— ESPN (@espn) April 8, 2020
Number 2: Dirk Nowitzki leading the underdog Dallas Mavericks to win the 2011 Championship
No one thought that the Dallas Mavericks were going to make it to the 2011 finals, let alone win it. Dirk Nowitzki was the only superstar player on the Mavericks and faced his greatest challenge in the finals: the Miami Heat trio of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. After losing in the first round of the playoffs the previous year, the Mavericks were determined to make a name for themselves. After defeating the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs, who at the time were powerhouses, the Mavericks willed their way to the finals riding Nowitzki’s hot hand. Nowitzki would put on a Hall of Fame performance during the series and lead the Mavericks to a 4-2 victory over the Heat. This championship victory would not only surprise the world, but it would also prove that Dirk Nowitzki is one of the best power-forwards of all time.
Number 1: Lebron James leading the Cleveland Cavaliers back from a 3-1 deficit to win
After facing a 52-year championship drought, the Cleveland Cavaliers were once again lead by Lebron James to cruise to the finals. They faced the team that had beat them last year, the Golden State Warriors, who had ended the season with the best record in NBA history 73-9. There had never been a team to come back from being 3-1 in a finals in NBA history and everyone thought that the Warriors were going to win. Yet something turned in the Cavaliers and they fought to make it seven games and then did what no one had ever done. The Cavaliers performance would go down as the greatest NBA finals ever and would be remembered as Lebron James’s greatest achievement.
The #NBAFinals game that changed the course of history for Cleveland!
Posted by NBA on Thursday, 1 June 2017
Whether this is the first time you’re witnessing these moments or not, you can certainly appreciate their level of greatness. While there will be many more Hall of Fame moments created in future NBA finals, these top 10 will be remembered forever, going down in NBA and sporting history worldwide.