The most dominant team of the 2016 NBA Playoffs so far has been a mild surprise. While the Warriors are still Steph-less and the Spurs remain locked up in the first heavyweight battle of the postseason with the Thunder, LeBron and the Cavs are dominating the East.
Cleveland’s dominance came to a head in Game 2 vs. Atlanta when it knocked down a record TWENTY-FIVE 3-pointers … including 18 of them in the first half. It got so ridiculous that passes were bouncing off Atlanta’s faces and landing right in the hands of an open shooter. It was Cleveland’s night, to say the least, leaving many in shock.
Inspired by the Cavs making it rain all over the Hawks, here are some of the most shocking moments in NBA Playoff history (staying away from simply game-winning shots … unless they were particularly shocking).
2001 NBA Finals Game 1 — Sixers vs. Lakers
The Lakers entered the NBA Finals undefeated in the playoffs and all signs pointed to them sweeping the Sixers and flexing their muscles to the rest of the league. Allen Iverson had other plans, dropping 48 including the dagger over Ty Lue that’s now become a Twitter favorite.
1999 First-Round — Knicks vs. Heat
Allan Houston’s memorable shot stole the first-round series from the Heat in that lockout shortened 1998-99 season. That shot not only propelled an 8-seed over a 1-seed, but helped the Knicks go all the way to the Finals — where the magic ran out and Tim Duncan and the Spurs claimed their first ring.
2007 First-Round — Warriors vs. Mavericks
The Mavs were coming off a Finals loss to the Heat after leading the series 2-0. That didn’t sit well with Dirk, who carried Dallas to the 1-seed the next season and won MVP honors. Many saw Dallas as title favorites despite a tough matchup with the Warriors, but nobody saw Golden State destroying the best team from the regular season with such dominance. Neither did Dirk, who damaged the hallway at the arena (which still remains and Dirk has now autographed) and then went on a summer hiatus away from the real world to ponder the meaning of life (he seriously did).
1995 ECSF Game 1 — Pacers vs. Knicks
This is one of those perfect collapses that had to happen just right. The Pacers couldn’t just win this game, the Knicks had to help them out by losing it. Give Miller credit for knocking down all the shots, but New York did everything wrong.
1992 NBA Finals Game 1 — Blazers vs. Bulls
MJ was never known as a 3-point shooter, but in Game 1 of the Finals he put on a record breaking performance from downtown. Jordan knocked in six 3-pointers in the first half, followed by the famous shrug after the final one — which gave him 35 points in the half. Sneaky good part if you have time for the video, how about some random guy picking Jordan up at the airport by luck after he got drafted and then becoming his personal assistant? Sweet gig.
2004 WCSF Game 5 — Lakers vs. Spurs
It’s easy to forget the huge plays made by Kobe and Duncan beforehand, but everyone remembers Derek Fisher’s 0.4 shot. It was the inspiration for all the rules we have now about how much time you can take to actually shoot the ball. One of the best finishes in playoff history right here when you consider all the clutch shots.
1988 NBA Finals Game 6 — Pistons vs. Lakers
Isiah Thomas went down with a sprained ankle earlier in the game and probably shouldn’t have returned. He did, and dropped 25 in the third quarter to finish with 43 points and force a Game 7. But Thomas was too beat up and the Lakers took the series in a controversial game. The Bad Boys did go back-to-back in ’89 and ’90 getting their revenge.
1970 NBA Finals Game 7 — Lakers vs. Knicks
More than 45 years later and everyone still knows what “pulling a Willis Reed” is. Reed had no business playing in this game, but started and hit his first two shots of the game when he could barely walk — his only buckets on the game. Then Walt Frazier took over and the rest was history. Reed gave them that magical spark the Knicks needed to win.
1987 ECF Game 5 — Pistons vs. Celtics
There may be a couple plays more famous in NBA history, but not with such a fast momentum change. The Pistons just had to inbound the ball to win the game. Thomas rushed it and Bird capitalized just as quickly. This single play pushed back the Pistons eclipsing the Celtics in the East for one last year.
1980 NBA Finals Game 6 — Lakers vs Sixers
Try and imagine this happening today — Your star center who’s widely considered the best player in the league goes down with an ankle injury in the NBA “World Championship” (as they called it) and has to miss a crucial Game 6 on the road. So your rookie point guard fills in at center and posts 42 points, 15 boards and seven assists in a winning effort. Can’t write a better script.
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