3 Best NBA Games Ever Played

December 16, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Sit down with two basketball fans in the same room, and ask them which were the best NBA games ever played. Their list will likely be completely different. What are the best NBA Games you’ve seen? What characteristics go into making the best game ever? Is it a full court longshot just as the buzzer sounds? Is it the underdog fighting to overcome disheartening odds? Is it a perfect season unmarred by a single loss? As you can see, the criterion is subjective. Ask any basketball fan about the best games, and watch the list emerge with passion. 

Big Name Stars with Amazing Games

The NBA has a lot of big name stars such as Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan. Those stars are just a few of the many who have graced basketball and the B-ball hall of fame. Case in point: 1972, Wilt Chamberlain in games 4 and 5 of the playoff managed to do incredible things while playing with a broken hand. Back in the day, there was not a lot of glitter out there like we see today. 

 

Epoch Times Photo

Image via flickr by Kip-koech

Magic Johnson is a well-known player who made history in 1980 playing his rookie year. The setting is game six between the LA Lakers and the Philadelphia Eagles. Superstar player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is out with ankle injuries and yet, against the odds, Magic Johnson managed 42-points, 7-assists, and 15-rebounds to bring the LA Lakers a game six victory. As a personal game, this must stand out in Magic’s mind. As a team win, this game stands out in the legends and is still remembered on DocSports.com.

If you look at Michael Jordan and his rise to fame you find an incredible story about a young man who beat the odds. Today, Michael Jordan is over 50 years old, and still he is a recognizable figure from the NBA. Jordan’s fame and likeability rose because of his moves. Picture the 1991 NBA Finals where an airborne Jordan uses a move to switch hands and still makes the shot. The move, recognized by the announcer, Marv Albert as a “spectacular move,” remains part of the NBA today.

There are other moves too. Michael Jordan has redesigned the game of basketball and championed an entire generation of younger players through inspiration and dedication to the game of basketball. 

Huge Games, Big Results

  • 1998 NBA Finals: Michael Jordan’s steals the ball and follows up with a  20-foot shot to win the game and the title for the Bulls. Final Score, 87-86 over the Jazz. The game offered amazing amounts of drama with close-scoring action. Jordan’s final shot landed with only 5.2 seconds left on the clock. That kind of down-to-the-wire drama is what makes basketball such a loved sport. 
  • 1987 Game 5 of the Eastern Conference: Another close-score game becomes a legend. With just a few seconds remaining, Larry Bird stole the ball from Isiah Thomas. With full acrobatic style, he passed to teammate Dennis Johnson, who scored the 108th point taking the Celtics to victory over the Pistons. 
  • 1976 NBA Finals Game 5: Fans of this game enjoyed three overtime periods, each etched by last second unbelievable shots. The series at this point stood tied at two games each for the Celtics and the Suns. Despite the last-minute heroics from both teams, the Celtics’s Glenn McDonald won the game with a final score of 128-126. One must realize that all the superstars from both teams had fouled out. The second bench won the game. The drama ended only after the third overtime period. 

These games and players represent just a handful of the best moments from the NBA. Throughout the NBA, there are many players who have achieved amazing stats and who have had outstanding games. As mentioned, the criterion is subjective. Much of what is great boils down to the fans.  Fans play a role in how engaging a basketball team is and influence games by being supportive. In so doing, fans too often have great games. What is your favorite NBA game and why?