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The five greatest single-game performances in NBA Finals history

With the 2021/22 NBA season close to its conclusion, Planet Sport gives you the five best individual performances in a single game in the Finals.

There have been some incredible performances in the finals over the years, with some absolutely monumental showings missing out on our top five.
From Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan's near-quadruple doubles to Michael Jordan's infamous 'Flu Game', many a player has helped boost their legacy with a career-defining performance in the grandest stage in basketball.
The best players tend to show how it's done when it comes to closeout games, and that is an important factor here.
Dating back 64 years, Planet Sport give you the best single-game performances by a player in NBA Finals history.

5) Bob Pettit - 1958 Finals, Game 6

Pettit erupted in Game 6 of the 1958 finals to hand the St. Louis Hawks (now Atlanta Hawks) their only NBA title win.
During an era when there were only eight teams in the league, the Boston Celtics dominated, winning 11 finals series out of 12 between 1957 and 1969, with legendary center Bill Russell leading the team as a player and eventually as a coach.

Pettit dropped 50 points and grabbed 19 rebounds as his side clinched the title with a narrow 110-109 Game 6 victory.

The legendary big man carried his side and the fact that this is his franchise's only finals success makes this game even more impressive, especially against the dominant Celtics, who did not lose a finals series again until '85.

4) Magic Johnson - 1980 Finals, Game 6

This is one of Magic's most iconic performances given the fact he played as a center due to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's unavailability through injury.

As a 20-year-old rookie, the point guard carried his team, scoring 42 points, pulling down 15 rebounds, and dishing out seven assists.

Johnson also scored nine of his points in the last five minutes as he single-handedly won the game for the Los Angeles Lakers, bringing home their seventh title.

The Lakers' victory came in Philadelphia as they toppled the 76ers in one of the most hostile arenas in the league.

3) James Worthy - 1988 Finals, Game 7

In Game 7 of the '88 Finals it was obviously winner takes all, and the Lakers did just that, edging past the Detroit Pistons, who had Isiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars.
Worthy was quite rightly named Finals MVP and probably should have won the award if Game 7 was his only appearance in the series.
The forward had a 36-point triple double, notching 16 rebounds and 10 assists, on top of two steals and two blocks.

Talk about a worthy performance to make the top three of this list...*ba dum tss*.

2) LeBron James - 2016 Finals, Game 7

James completed the greatest finals comeback in NBA history with a monstrous performance in Game 7 against the 73-win, legendary, Golden State Warriors in 2016.
From 3-1 down to win it all, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the only team to overturn that series deficit in finals history and won their first-ever NBA championship in the process.
Playing on the road, James dropped 27 points, grabbed 11 boards and provided 11 assists and, of course, was named Finals MVP.
On top of his triple double, LeBron had arguably the most iconic play in finals history when he chased down a Warriors fast break to block Andre Iguodala's lay-up.
Kyrie Irving hit the big shot to edge the Cavaliers past Stephen Curry and co, but this game will always be remembered for LeBron's performance.

1) Giannis Antetokounmpo - 2021 Finals, Game 6

We started the top five with the first 50-point finals performance and we are concluding it with the most recent one.
In last year's finals, Giannis dropped 50 points on top of 14 rebounds, two assists and five blocks.
To score 50 points in a closeout game is outrageous and after struggling to make free throws all season, the Greek Freak made 17 of his 19 shots from the line.

There have been some ridiculous performances in finals history, but this one takes the cake.

Giannis overcame the Suns with none of his teammates scoring more than 17 points against the Phoenix Suns as the Bucks won their first championship in 50 years.

READ MORE: The top five European players in NBA history...

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