With an air-conditioning failure making it feel like a sauna and causing LeBron James to battle cramps that knocked him out of the decisive stretch, the Spurs pulled away to win the opener 110-95 against the Heat. James finished with 25 points but played only 33 minutes, and Miami was outscored 36-17 in the fourth quarter. San Antonio went on to win the Finals in five games.
2 of 25Greg Nelson and John W. McDonough for Sports Illustrated
Danny Green and Gary Neal | Game 3, 2013
Danny Green and Gary Neal led the Spurs to a lopsided 113-77 victory over the Heat. The Spurs' 16 three-pointers set an NBA Finals record. Green made seven threes while Neal sank six from behind the line as the two scored 27 and 24 points, respectively. Two games later Green would set the Finals record for made three-pointers, when he hit his 23rd.
3 of 25Greg Nelson for Sports Illustrated
LeBron James | Game 6, 2013
While far from his usual dominant self, LeBron James still managed to turn in a triple-double as the Heat notched a thrilling 103-100 overtime victory. Helped by Ray Allen's tying three-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining in regulation, James overcame a couple of crucial turnovers in the final minutes to finish with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds and guide Miami to Game 7.
4 of 25Greg Nelson for Sports Illustrated
LeBron James | Game 5, 2012
Following a triple-double of 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds that was representative of his play throughout the Finals, LeBron James won his first championship after nine seasons in the NBA. Two years earlier, he was vilified for the way he left Cleveland, and for believing that winning the championship would take care of itself now that he was playing with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. One year earlier, he watched Dirk Nowitzki redeem his own career with a championship earned at James' expense. But in 2012, LeBron got his title and was named MVP of the Finals in the process.
5 of 25Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images
Dirk Nowitzki | Game 2, 2011
Dirk Nowitzki shook off an injury to his non-shooting hand and made the tie-breaking layup with 3.6 seconds left in regulation, and the Mavs roared back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun the Heat 95-93 and tie the series at one game apiece.
6 of 25Bob Rosato for Sports Illustrated
Dwyane Wade | Game 3, 2006
Miami lost the first two games and trailed Dallas 89-76 in Game 3. But Dwyane Wade scored 12 of his 42 points during a game-ending 22-7 run as Miami won 98-96, the first of its four consecutive victories en route to the franchise's first championship. Wade was named Finals MVP after averaging 34.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.7 steals.
7 of 25Bob Rosato for Sports Illustrated
Robert Horry | Game 5, 2005
Robert Horry came off the bench to score all 21 of his points after halftime against the Pistons, including the game-winning three-pointer with 5.8 seconds left in overtime. The shot gave the Spurs a 3-2 series lead, and they won the title in seven.
8 of 25John Biever for Sports Illustrated
Michael Jordan | Game 6, 1998
Michael Jordan scored 45 points and capped his Chicago career with a last-second jumper over Utah's Bryon Russell that clinched the Bulls' sixth title in eight seasons.
9 of 25AP
Michael Jordan | Game 5, 1997
Michael Jordan fought off an energy-zapping flu bug to get 38 points, seven boards and five assists -- including the game-winning shot with 25 seconds left. Chicago went on to win its fifth championship in seven seasons.
10 of 25Manny Millan for Sports Illustrated
Steve Kerr | Game 6, 1997
Four years after another sharpshooter (John Paxson) provided the Finals-winning jump shot for the Bulls in a Game 6 (at Phoenix), Steve Kerr did the same with a mid-range J against the Jazz in Chicago.
11 of 25AP; John Biever for Sports Illustrated
Rockets vs. Knicks | Game 3, 1994
Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing toiled in the NBA for 19 combined seasons before reaching these Finals. They were upstaged during Game 3, however, when NBC preempted Rockets-Knicks coverage to air police chasing O.J. Simpson down a Southern California freeway.
12 of 25Richard Mackson for Sports Illustrated
John Paxson | Game 6, 1993
John Paxson's game-winning three-pointer in Phoenix gave the Bulls their third consecutive championship.
13 of 25Bill Smith for Sports Illustrated
Michael Jordan | Game 1, 1992
Michael Jordan hit six three-pointers and scored 35 points in the opening half against the Trail Blazers. Chicago coasted to a 122-89 victory.
14 of 25Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Isiah Thomas | Game 6, 1988
Playing on a severely sprained ankle, Isiah Thomas scored 25 points in the third quarter and almost single-handedly carried Detroit to a series-clinching victory. (The Lakers won the game and the next one, too).
15 of 25Manny Millan for Sports Illustrated
Magic Johnson | Game 4, 1987
In one of the most memorable moments in Finals history, Magic Johnson won Game 4 with what he called his "junior, junior, junior sky hook." That victory in Boston gave the Lakers a 3-1 lead; they wrapped it up two games later in Los Angeles, where 39-year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 32 points and Magic closed with 16 points, 19 assists and eight rebounds. Johnson became the fourth player to win the regular-season and Finals MVP awards.
16 of 25Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Ralph Sampson | Game 5, 1986
Ralph Sampson brawled with Boston guard Jerry Sichting (inset) early in the game and subsequently cursed in a live interview with CBS just moments after both players were ejected. The Rockets then routed the Celtics to extend the series to a sixth game. The Celtics won Game 6 at Boston Garden to claim their 16th championship.
17 of 25Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images
Gerald Henderson | Game 2, 1984
The Lakers had the Celtics on the ropes, leading the series 1-0 and nursing a 115-113 advantage with 15 seconds left in Game 2. But Gerald Henderson picked off James Worthy's lazy backcourt pass and turned it into a game-tying layup. Boston prevailed in overtime to climb back into the series.
18 of 25Manny Millan for Sports Illustrated
Julius Erving | Game 4, 1980
Dr. J's out-of-this-world reverse layup against the Lakers is still hailed by Magic Johnson as the greatest play he's ever seen.
19 of 25Manny Millan for Sports Illustrated
Magic Johnson | Game 6, 1980
To offset Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's ankle injury, Magic Johnson moved to center and guided the undersized Lakers to a championship-clinching road win over the 76ers. The rookie Johnson scored 42 points and grabbed 15 boards.
20 of 25Dick Raphael for Sports Illustrated
Gar Heard | Game 5, 1976
Suns forward Gar Heard nailed a turnaround 22-footer at the buzzer to force a third overtime. Heard's improbable shot helped put the Celtics' 128-126 victory in the conversation of the greatest games in NBA history.
21 of 25Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Walt Frazier | Game 7, 1970
An injured Willis Reed (inset) made a dramatic entrance and scored two immediate baskets, further energizing the crowd at Madison Square Garden. He then watched Frazier (pictured, 36 points, 19 assists) and the Knicks throttle the Lakers to win the championship.
22 of 25Focus on Sport/Getty Images
Jerry West | Game 3, 1962; Game 3, 1970
The Logo was a postseason force, including being named the 1969 Finals MVP even though the Lakers lost the series to Boston. Two more signature moments: his steal and game-winning layup to give the Lakers a 2-1 series lead in 1962 (Boston won it in seven); and his buzzer-beating 60-footer (inset) to force overtime against the Knicks in '70 (New York won the game and the series, forcing West to wait two more years for his first and only title).
23 of 25Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images
Elgin Baylor | Game 5, 1962
Baylor erupted for a Finals-record 61 points and grabbed 22 boards as the Lakers won 126-121 at Boston Garden to take a 3-2 series lead. But the Celtics rallied to win Games 6 and 7 (including a 110-107 OT victory in the clincher) in a classic first Finals meeting between L.A. and Boston.
24 of 25Walter Iooss Jr. for Sports Illustrated
Bill Russell | Game 7, 1962
In one of the greatest winning-take-all games in NBA history, the Celtics beat the Lakers 110-107 in overtime behind Bill Russell's 30 points and 40 rebounds. Bob Cousy memorably dribbled out the clock.
25 of 25Richard Meek for Sports Illustrated
Bob Pettit | Game 6, 1958
The St. Louis forward scored 50 points (including 19 in the fourth quarter) in his team's title-clinching win against the Celtics.
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