Remember when the Cavs were going to sweep their way into the NBA Finals? That was the story line about four days ago. Then Bismack Biyombo happened.
Sure, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozen have been great. But they’re All-Stars. That’s the duo that earned Toronto the 2-seed in the East. We’ve been waiting for them to do this.
Something you probably weren’t holding your breath on? Biyombo becoming the X-Factor that has the Eastern Conference Finals tied at two games a piece, and the Raptors knocking on the door of the NBA Finals.
Since Jonas Valanciunas went down with an ankle injury, the Biz has been averaging 35.4 minutes as the starter, posting 8.9 points, 12.1 boards and 2.4 rejections while shooting 63.4% from the field. Without scoring in double-digits during wins in Games 3 and 4, Biyombo ripped down 40 total boards, highlighted by an eye-popping 26 in Game 3.
Biyombo has blown up Twitter the last couple of nights, mostly because, as viewers/fans, we’re shocked.
What have we seen before that’s anything like this? Glad you asked. Here are some of the most unlikely playoff heroes.
LeBron James had still never been an NBA champion before. He didn’t know what it was like to finish a team off in a close out NBA Finals game. In this case, he never had to. Mike Miller hadn’t knocked down a 3-pointer all series, but drained seven of them in a closeout Game 5.
Who? Pow? Phil Jackson didn’t even know how to say this dude’s name after he crushed the Lakers in Game 2 of the Finals. After 21 crucial points, Jackson learned the pronunciation during postgame interviews.
Williams was a backup this season and only started two games for the Redskins (and lost both). Washington still decided to start Williams in the postseason, and that worked out well — 340 yards, 4 TDs and a Super Bowl MVP.
Shaq can be a shaky NBA analyst at times, but he’s honest. He’s mentioned several times that Smith wasn’t even on Orlando’s radar in the 1995 NBA Finals, using Kenny as his example of how “the others” help carry superstars to titles. “The Jet” put himself on Orlando’s radar quickly — canning seven triples in Game 1 en route to 23 points and nine assists.
We all remember last year. Kyrie Irving went down with a knee injury in Game 1 that cost him the rest of the series. Delly was forced into the starting role, and although the Warriors went on to win, Dellavadova played very tough defense on Steph Curry through the first three games on the NBA Finals.
Here’s another recent one. Every time this guy was at the dish in the postseason I found myself saying “well, there’s no way he can do it again.” Then, of course, he did it again. Six straight games with a homer in the playoffs while leading the Mets into the World Series.
I’m still not sure how this play happened, but it did. I tried to stay away from singular plays here and base these performances over at least a full game or full playoff run, but it’s hard to ignore one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history. Butler is actually developing into a fantastic corner for the Pats, but we’ll always remember how his name got on the map.
Yeah, yeah, no individual plays. This one was another all-time “holy $*#@” moment. Trip to the World Series on the line. Game 7. Red Sox vs. Yankees. Extra innings. First pitch! I remember this game like it was yesterday. The events of 2004 are the only thing that allow Red Sox fans to watch this video.
There’s no NBA comparable to “Big Shot Bob.” He was a young prospect that had star potential, but just kind of settled in as a role player as his career went on. Obviously, he went on to win seven rings and seemingly always find himself in the right spot. When you realize how many game-winners Horry has, it’s almost impossible to wrap your head around.
Let’s not forget who Tom Brady is. He was the No. 199 pick in the draft that fell into a starting job because Drew Bledsoe got hurt. He not only helped his team to a Super Bowl that season, but became one of the greatest playoff heroes of all-time. This drive made Tom Brady.
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