Commentary

Greatest Finals performances: No. 6

Originally Published: June 12, 2008
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com

Magic JohnsonGetty ImagesMagic's baby hook and big smile were two things that made this Lakers-Celtics matchup memorable.

Editor's note: We're ranking the best Finals performances since the NBA-ABA merger.


Rankings: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50

6. Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers, 1987

Quick: Name another point guard whose most famous shot is a sky hook in the lane over a 6-11 Hall of Famer.

That's the shot Magic Johnson made to win Game 4 in Boston Garden, nailing a 10-foot flip over Kevin McHale to cap a rally from 16 points down that crushed Boston's hopes of repeating as champion.

He wasn't too shabby the rest of the series, either. Johnson had 29 points, 13 assists, eight rebounds and no turnovers in the opener and, in the clincher, again fell just two rebounds shy of a triple-double. For the series, he averaged 26.2 points, 13 assists, eight boards and 2.3 steals, with a Game 4 shot spiked by journeyman backup center Greg Kite the only indignity in an otherwise masterful performance. Johnson also was remarkably mistake-proof, with only 13 turnovers in the six games, a 24-for-25 effort from the free-throw line and a 54.1 percent shooting mark.

Plus, he has to get bonus points for the quality of the competition. Given the high level of play of both the Lakers and the Celtics in the late 1980s, dominating a series to this extent was an impressive accomplishment.


Rankings: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20 | 21-30 | 31-40 | 41-50

John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.

Justin Kubatko of Basketball-Reference.com contributed research to this list.