5 greatest performances in Finals history

by
Brian Bahr / Getty Images Sport / Getty

LeBron James may have called Kyrie Irving's Game 5 performance "one of the greatest he's ever seen," but there have been plenty of other electrifying showings throughout the years.

Here are the five greatest performances in Finals history:

5. Clyde Frazier leads Knicks to first title (1970)

Willis Reed may have stolen the show with his gutsy decision to play Game 7 with a severe leg injury, but it was Walt "Clyde" Frazier's dazzling performance that won New York the title.

The Knicks point guard poured in 36 points and dished out 19 assists to lead New York to their first championship in franchise history.

4. Isiah drops 25 points in third quarter (1988)

A severely sprained ankle didn't prevent Isiah Thomas from engineering one of the most dominant showings in Finals history. The Pistons point guard willed his way back onto the court after suffering the devastating injury, then dropped an incredible 25 points in the third quarter of Game 6.

Detroit would go on lose the series in the following game, but Thomas' performance goes down as one of the most heroic in Finals history.

3. Elgin Baylor erupts for 61 points, 22 rebounds (1962)

Los Angeles would eventually fall to the mighty Boston Celtics in the 1962 Finals, but one would be hard-pressed to blame Elgin Baylor for losing the series.

The Lakers power forward dropped 61 points (a playoff record at the time) and 22 rebounds in Game 5 to give his team a 3-2 series lead.

2. "The Flu Game" (1997)

Michael Jordan wouldn't allow a flu bug to affect his performance against the Utah Jazz in the 1997 Finals.

While he was clearly not at his best physically, the box score would suggest otherwise, as Jordan dropped 38 points, seven rebounds, and five assists to give the Bulls a crucial 3-2 series lead.

1. Magic scores 42 in Game 6 (1980)

At just 20 years old, Magic Johnson showed the world at a young age how truly special he was.

With Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar forced out of Game 6 with a sprained ankle, the 6-foot-9 point guard started at center for the Lakers, collecting 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists to lead Los Angeles to their seventh championship.