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Wednesday, May 20, 2009
ESPNTheMag.Com Presents: All-World Power Rankings


"STEAL BY BIRD!"

BEST NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS MOMENT EVER? WE'LL TAKE "STEAL BY BIRD," ANOTHER? OH,THERE ARE MANY OPTIONS

What is All-World Power Rankings?

Eastern Conference Finals of Magic/Cavs starts tonight. Two ways to look at it: (1) Cavs will crush 'em or (2) Magic played 'em well this season, so maybe it goes 7. There isn't much middle ground, though. We decided to contextualize the history of the NBA's ECF round by looking at some of the best moments in Eastern Conference Finals history. Somewhat unsurprisingly, much of this list involves Celtic memories -- and Reggie Miller. You can always hit us up with other ideas.

TOP 5
RANK (YESTERDAY) WHAT WHY
1 (145) STEAL BY BIRD (1987) There are many iconic moments in the career of Larry Bird, but this is probably at least No. 1, 2 or 3. Here's the video. Celtics lose that game, a lot of things break differently in the late 1980s NBA world.
2 (102) HAVLICEK'S STEAL (1965) Bostonians like to steal, eh? ("Hey-o!") Cue Good Will Hunting joke. Seriously, though -- the call on this play is epic.
3 (84) REGGIE'S 25-POINT QUARTER (1994) Knicks ended up winning this series, then choking to the Rockets (see No. 5 on this list). What Reggie did in Game 5, though -- absolutely filthy.
4 (71) ANDREW TONEY (1982) You don't hear about Toney a lot, although Game 7 of the '82 ECF got him the nickname "The Boston Strangler." Here's the video from the end of that game. Dude averaged something like 26 per for the series. Crazy.
5 (920) THE JOHN STARKS DUNK (1993) Truth: he completely blew Game 7 of the '94 Finals -- although you could argue Pat Riley shoulda subbed him out at some point -- but this dunk, in Game 2 of the '93 ECF, is New York legend.

HONORABLE MENTION
RANK (YESTERDAY) WHAT WHY
12 (404) LEBRON VS. THE PISTONS (2007) This seems to be when the whole "King" moniker got completely real.
28 (99) RIK SMITS GAME-WINNER (1995) This is underrated. Anytime you can put Rik Smits on a list, you darn well better do so. Here's the vid.

RISING AND FALLING
MOVEMENT WHAT
SUPERMAN THIS YEAR (Fly, sir.)
COURTNEY LEE THIS YEAR (Whew, guarding Bron is hard.)