1. NBA Finals (May 8, 1970)
After hobbling off the court early in Game 5 with a torn thigh muscle, Willis Reed made a surprising and triumphant return moments before tip-off for the deciding game against the Lakers. Buoyed by his presence -- and his scoring the first two baskets of the game -- the Knicks won the title 113-99 behind Walt Frazier's 36 points and 9 assists.
2. NBA Finals (April 13, 1957)
Led by a rookie center out of San Francisco named Bill Russell and his 19 points and 32 rebounds, the Celtics fought off the St. Louis Hawks in double overtime 125-123 for their first NBA crown. Helping Russell was fellow rookie Tom Heinsohn with 37 points and 23 rebounds, which offset a combined 5-for-40 shooting performance by Boston stars Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman.
3. East Division finals (April 15, 1965)
Despite the fact that Red Auerbach had lit his traditional victory cigar with his Celtics leading 110-103, the Philadelphia 76ers closed the gap to 110-109 with seconds left and had possession. But as Hal Greer tried to inbound to Chet Walker, Boston's John Havlicek stole the pass, leading longtime Celtics play-by-play man Johnny Most to cry, "Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!"
4. Eastern Conference semifinals (May 17, 1987)
The defending champion Celtics took a 3-games-to-1 lead over Milwaukee before coach Don Nelson's Bucks stormed back to knot the series. Larry Bird and the Celtics were too much to overcome at the Boston Garden, as Milwaukee lost 119-113.
5. Eastern Conference semifinals (May 22, 1988)
Dominique Wilkins was a one-man team versus the Celtics. Atlanta's Human Highlight Film exploded for 47 points in a mano a mano showdown with Larry Bird. But Bird saved his best for last, scoring 20 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to help the Celtics escape 118-116.
6. NBA Finals (June 21, 1988)
Facing an upstart Detroit Pistons club in their third Game 7 of the playoffs, the Lakers defended their NBA championship with a 108-105 win in Los Angeles. Finals MVP James Worthy led the way with 36 points and 16 rebounds, making good on coach Pat Riley's guarantee that the Lakers would hold onto their title.
7. Western Conference semifinals (May 19, 1990)
While Portland Trail Blazers center Kevin Duckworth provided an emotional lift by playing for the first time in the series after missing the previous six games with a broken hand, it was Clyde Drexler's five free throws in the final 26.2 seconds of overtime that clinched Portland's 108-105 win over San Antonio.
8. NBA Finals (June 22, 1994)
Although a key element in the Knicks' run to the Finals, guard John Starks suffered through a 2-for-18 shooting night (including 0-for-11 from 3-point range), helping doom New York to its second straight loss in the series and handing the league crown to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets.
9. Western Conference finals (June 4, 2000)
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant led the Lakers back from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to topple the Portland Trail Blazers 89-84 in Los Angeles en route to their first NBA crown under coach Phil Jackson.
10. Western Conference finals (June 2, 2002)
A week after stunning the Sacramento Kings with a Game 4-ending 3-pointer to complete a Lakers comeback from a 20-point fourth quarter hole, Robert Horry helped L.A. finish off their upstate rivals with a 112-106 overtime victory in Sacramento.
- May 24 Wed 2006 10:44