Top Game 5s in NBA History
Suns at Lakers
Ron Artest went from goat to hero in Game 5. After Phoenix's Jason Richardson hit a three with 3.5 seconds left to tie the game at 101, Kobe Bryant attempted -- and air-balled -- a three on the other end. But as soon as Bryant's shot got off, Artest positioned himself down low to grab the ball and kiss it off the glass before time expired. His game-winning put-back gave the Lakers a 3-2 lead in the series. Here's a look back at some of the league's greatest Game 5s in the playoffs.
Knicks at Heat
Allan Houston nailed a running 14-footer with 0.8 seconds left to vault the Knicks to a 78-77 win. It marked the second time in modern playoff history that a No. 8 seed toppled a No. 1 in the playoffs. New York would subsequently defeat Atlanta and Indiana before losing to San Antonio in the Finals.
Rockets at Lakers
The Twin Towers-led Rockets, starring Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson, stunned the world champion Lakers. In Game 5 at the Forum, with the Rockets up 3-1, Sampson hit a catch-and-shoot jumper (off an inbounds pass) with no time left to give Houston a series-clinching 114-112 victory.
Knicks at Pistons
The Knicks won this epic series and pushed the eventual-champion Celtics to seven games in the East semis. But all discussion with the Knicks and Pistons begins and ends with Detroit's Isiah Thomas, who scored 15 points in 91 seconds to force overtime ... and Bernard King, who lifted the Knicks to a 127-123 victory, while averaging 42.6 points in the series (a five-game record).
Nets at Pistons
This game had it all: Thirteen players scored in double figures, Chauncey Billups forced OT with a buzzer-beating half-court shot, Jason Kidd had to leave the game with a bloody nose (without recalling anyone ever hitting him) and little-used forward Brian Scalabrine rescued the foul-plagued Nets in the third overtime with four 3-pointers. In the end, the Nets won 127-120.
Nuggets at SuperSonics
In a dream season of 63 wins, the Sonics, led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, were heavy favorites to win the West. But their championship wishes were squashed by Dikembe Mutombo and the No. 8 Nuggets, who withstood two early blowout losses before rallying, capped by a 98-94 Game 5 triumph in Seattle. Denver became the first No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1.
Bulls at Jazz
Forever known as the "Flu Game," Michael Jordan fought off an energy-zapping bout with influenza to get 38 points, seven boards, five assists and three steals -- including the game-winning three pointer with 25 seconds left -- in the Bulls' 90-88 road victory. Chicago won Game 6 to clinch its fifth championship in seven seasons.
Cavaliers at Pistons
LeBron James scored 25 straight points (and 29 of his team's final 30) to singlehandedly lift the Cavaliers to a thrilling 109-107 double-overtime win over the Pistons. James' amazing effort drew immediate comparisons to Michael Jordan's 63-point effort against the Celtics in the 1986 playoffs. Both players were 22 at the time of each signature performance.
Pistons at Celtics
The up-and-coming Pistons, on the brink of becoming the new Beast of the East, had a one-point lead with four seconds left at the Boston Garden. Instead of calling a timeout after a Boston turnover, Isiah Thomas needlessly rushed an inbounds pass to Bill Laimbeer, enabling Larry Bird to steal the pass and find Dennis Johnson for a twisting layup to clinch the Celtics' improbable 108-107 victory. Boston would take the series in seven games.
Bulls at Cavaliers
Known in Cleveland as "The Shot," Michael Jordan's jumper over Craig Ehlo sealed Jordan's reputation as a clutch playoff performer and gave the Bulls a 101-100 win and unlikely series victory. Jordan would eventually claim six championships with Chicago, but this was only his second career playoff triumph.
Suns at Celtics
Widely regarded as the greatest game in NBA history, the triple-overtime classic featured a frantic Suns comeback from 22 points down, major controversy surrounding two late timeouts called by players (Phoenix's Paul Westphal and Boston's Paul Silas), the Boston fans prematurely rushing the floor after John Havlicek's running layup and Gar Heard's buzzer-beating, turnaround 22-footer -- with the fans crowding the court -- to force the third overtime.