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The 7 Best Individual NBA Finals Performances In History

LOS ANGELES ( — The day after LeBron James put on a show during Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals, we take a look at the best NBA Finals performances of all-time.


Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
1980 NBA Finals, Game 6

The Lakers took on the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1980 NBA Finals, and were leading the series 3-2 going into game 6.

However, the Lakers would be without the league MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had to sit due to an ankle injury.

Johnson, a 20-year-old rookie at the time, did not shy away from the spotlight.

He scored 42 points to go along with 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals.

The Lakers ended up winning Game 6 123-107, and the NBA title despite not having the league's MVP.

Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
1997 NBA Finals, Game 5

What is now known as the "Flu Game" has gone down as one of the most epic performances in sports history.

Jordan was visibly ill and surprised everyone when he took the floor for Game 5 of the 1997 Finals with the series tied at 2-2.

Jordan hit the tie-breaking three pointer with under a minute to go in the game before the Bulls would go on to win Game 5 90-88.

He has 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.


Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons
1988 NBA Finals, Game 6

The Lakers would end up winning the 1988 NBA Finals, but not before a valiant effort from the Detroit Pistons and Isiah Thomas.

The Pistons led the series 3-2 going into Game 6 and were determined to close the series out.

Isiah Thomas ended up spraining his ankle in the 3rd quarter, only to come back minutes later and score 25 points in that same quarter.

The Lakers ended up taking game 6 103-102, but Thomas' performance was one for the record books.

The Detroit point guard had 43 points, 8 assists and 6 steals, shooting 18-32 from the field.


LeBron James + Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
2016 NBA Finals, Game 5

With the Cavaliers trailing in the series 3-1, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving took it upon themselves to ensure that the team would not go down in 5 games.

James took control of the game early, and ended up scoring 41 points while adding 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks.

Irving contributed 41 points on an efficient 17-24 shooting, (5-7 from 3pt) and added 6 assists and 2 steals.

The Cavaliers duo overcame 37 points from Klay Thompson and defeated the Warriors to force Game 6 (which they also won).


Bill Russell, Boston Celtics
1962 NBA Finals, Game 7

The Celtics used an epic Game 7 performance from Russell  to capture their fourth consecutive NBA title in 1962.

Russell had 30 points and 40 rebounds (an NBA Finals record) and outplayed Elgin Baylor and Jerry West to defeat the Lakers in Game 7.

The game did go to overtime, but Russell's 40 rebounds is still an astounding record that will most likely never be broken.

Russell set the record for most rebounds in an NBA Finals series with 189.


Elgin Baylor, Los Angeles Lakers
1962 NBA Finals, Game 5

Baylor set an NBA finals record in Game 5 of the 1962 NBA Finals with 61 points against the Celtics.

Baylor was hitting shots and throwing down dunks as he also grabbed 22 rebounds that game as the Lakers took Game 5, 126-121.

Bill Russell (see above) had a dominate Game 7 performance and the Celtics ended up winning the 1062 NBA Finals 7 games.


James Worthy, Los Angeles Lakers
1988 NBA Finals, Game 7

"Big Game" James Worthy certainly earned his nickname during Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals.

Worthy put up 36 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, and 2 steals as the Lakers defeated the Pistons in Game 7 by a score of 108-105.

This was the only triple-double of Worthy's entire career.


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