Miss NBA basketball action? So do we. It was unfortunate but necessary that the league halted its games due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, we held on to the hope that the NBA season would resume after a 30-day break. However, following the CDC’s recommendation of an eight-week ban on mass gathering in the United States, it appears out favorite league won’t return soon and in fact, rumors are circulating that the NBA could end up canceling its 2019-20 season. Sad? Yes but don’t despair because while there are no live games to watch, you can always take a look back at memory lane and re-watch some of the NBA’s best games.
The NBA has announced that it will give its fans free 30-day access to its League Pass but if you don’t want to undergo the hassle of creating an account before being able to watch games for free, then there is always YouTube. All you need is a device and an internet connection and you’re set for a nostalgic NBA experience during this quarantine period.
Let me give you 10 games which you will surely enjoy re-watching while staying at home for your safety and that of your family and you can also check out top 5 events in history that halted sports article.
2020 NBA All-Star Game
Ok, this game isn’t too far back as it happened just last month at the NBA’s annual All-Star Weekend. Now the 2020 NBA All-Star game was a special one because it was the first All-Star game after the accidental death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. Before the All-Star game, every team in the league paid tribute to the Black Mamba in their way and the All-Star game did the same. The rules were modified for this year’s All-Star Game and the main change was having a fourth quarter where the teams had a target score to reach to win the game. For this particular game, that score was 157 because the leading team at the end of the third period had 133 points + 24 target points. Team Giannis led by nine points at the end of three quarters but Team LeBron rallied in the untimed fourth quarter where we saw both teams play some of the best defense we’ve seen in the history of the All-Star game. This was also the only All-Star game that I’ve seen where the last two minutes were played like a Game 7 of a championship series. In the end, Team LeBron won 157-155 on a free throw by Anthony Davis. Get your popcorns ready:
Game 1 2001 NBA Finals
The Los Angeles Lakers were the dominant team at the start of the millennium. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal led the Los Angeles Lakers to a three-peat from 2000-2002, becoming the fifth team and fourth franchise to accomplish the feat. The Lakers were dominant during this period but their first title defense in 2001 had a shaky start, thanks to the diminutive scoring dynamo Allen Iverson who put up a game for the ages in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. The Lakers had entered the series having swept their previous three opponents. They started the game strongly and took an early 21-9 lead behind a 16-0 blast. Iverson led the Sixers back by scoring 30 points in the first half. Philly took a 15-point lead in the third period before the Lakers engineered a fourth-quarter comeback behind Shaq. The game went into overtime where Iverson scored seven points including a three-pointer that game the Sixers the lead for good. Iverson finished the game with his iconic step-over of Tyronn Lue in the closing moments. Iverson scored a total of 48 points in a dominant performance as the Sixers won 107-101 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Los Angeles would win the next four games of the series to claim their second straight NBA title. Watch the Answer’s masterpiece again right here:
Big Shot Bob Beats Pistons
Robert Horry made so many clutch baskets during his NBA career that you can make an entire article for his greatest hits. ( you want that too?) One of my favorites was Big Shot Bob’s buzzer-beater against Vlade Divac and the Sacramento Kings in Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. But this game we’re talking about isn’t just a game where Horry just showed up to hit the final basket. This one, he played a little longer, doing his damage in the final minutes of the 4th period and overtime. This game was Game 5 of the 2005 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Pistons. The first four games were all blowouts and both teams won two games apiece so they were tied 2-2 heading to this game. This was the only close game of the series as it had 12 lead changes and 18 deadlocks. After scoring only three points in the first three quarters, Robert Horry awakened in the fourth period and overtime, scoring 21 points during that span, including the game-winning three-point basket with 5.9 seconds left to play. I mean Big shot Bob was closer but he was already 34 here and nobody though he still had bullets left in that gun. It’s one of the best Finals games ever so sit back, relax and watch one of Horry’s greatest hits. This one still gives me goosebumps:
2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest
Vince Carter is one of the most incredible players in NBA history. He is the only player to play in four different decades and at 43 years of age, he was the oldest player in the NBA this season. This was Vince’s last season before retirement so after the suspension of play, we may have seen the last of Vinsanity. For the young fans out there, Vince Carter may be just the journeyman who played from one team to another and did his motorcycle celebration after completing a dunk. Hold on kids. Vince Carter is the best dunker in the history of the game, period. You can talk about MJ taking off from the foul line or the 18-year old Kobe Bryant winning the dunk contest in his rookie year with a dunk that J.R. RIder would later call the East Bay Funk but don’t forget Vince Carter dunked over seven-foot Frederick Weiss in the Olympics. The 2000 Slam Dunk Contest was Carter’s crowning glory. He put on a legendary show that fans will never forget. His opening dunk was a ridiculous 360 windmill that started the show. His dunk got better and better and by the time he finished his final dunk, he waved his hands over his chest to say “it’s over.” I mean LaVine vs Gordon Part 1 was the best one on one duel but in 2000, Vince Carter put on a show for the ages:
Willis Reed’s Heroic Game 7
At this point, we’ve seen some one-man show performances, late-game big baskets, and an incredible dunk show. For our next best game to re-watch, we will feature a game where a player-inspired his teammates and the entire crowd with a gritty performance despite suffering an injury. Willis Reed played his entire career for the New York Knicks and he is one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history. In-Game 7 of the 1970 Finals, a limping Reed made a dramatic entrance inside Madison Square Garden and played the game after missing Game 6 with a severe thigh injury. Playing hurt, the Knicks captain scored the Knicks’ first two baskets which ended up as his only points in the game, Playing inspired, the Knicks won and Reed earned the first of two NBA titles. I don’t know if you saw Paul Pierce’s wheelchair game but this one is a game that journalist Howard Cossell said: “showed the best that the human spirit can offer”. If you like a feel-good story, you’ll love Reed’s effort here:
Tracy McGrady was one of the best scorers during his era. Known as T-Mac, he was a seven-time NBA All-Star and a seven-time member of the All-NBA team, including two All-First team selections. McGrady led the NBA in scoring in two consecutive seasons from 2003 to 2004 and he was the NBA’s Most Improved Player winner in 2001. T-Mac started with the Toronto Raptors but he blossomed with the Orlando Magic and became a legend while playing alongside Yao Ming in Houston. It was while playing for the Rockets that this game happened. It was December 9, 2004, and the Houston Rockets were playing the San Antonio Spurs in the Rockets stadium. San Antonio was well on its way to victory with an 8-point lead with only 35 seconds left to play in the game. Then T-Mac happened. McGrady scored 13 points during that period to give the Rockets a shocking 81-80 win. T-Mac hit four three-point baskets including a four-point play and the game-winner with 1.7 seconds left in the game. No question this was the greatest one-half minute comeback in sports history. If you have a flair for the dramatics, you’ll love T-Mac’s furious finish here:
The Flu Game
The Flu Game is such a memorable NBA game that it got its name. It was named as such because Michael Jordan was playing with flu-like symptoms in Game Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. The series was tied at 2-2 and the game was played in Salt Lake City, home of the Utah Jazz. Jordan suffered food poisoning the day before and was sick on game day. Despite that, MJ played on and scored 38 points in a pivotal Game 5. He looked lost during the first quarter but mustered enough energy to pour in 17 points in the second period. Jordan struggled again in the third quarter and came alive in the fourth when the Bulls needed him most. His Airness scored seven points in a 10-0 blast that erased Utah’s 77-69 lead. Jordan made a three-pointer with half a minute left to give the Bulls the lead for good. He left the floor very weak and escorted by Scottie Pippen to the bench. MJ would say it was the most difficult thing he’d ever done because he almost passed out just to win a basketball game. Watch the game where Jordan Added to his legend: