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Kit Bag

A history of the most thrilling NBA finals

  |  June 20, 2013

Game 6 of this year's NBA finals was a keenly contested affair with LeBron James' Miami Heat winning 103-100 to force Game 7. Lynne Sladky / AP Photo
Game 6 of this year's NBA finals was a keenly contested affair with LeBron James' Miami Heat winning 103-100 to force Game 7. Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

Miami Heat erased a five-point last-minute deficit to defeat San Antonio Spurs 103-100 and force an NBA Finals Game 7, tonight, in Miami. The road team last won a Finals Game 7 in 1978. Paul Oberjuerge reviews the most recent “ultimate” finals games:

2010: Lakers beat Celtics Kobe Bryant, holding the trophy, scored 23 points and Ron Artest, never known for his shooting, scored a clutch three-pointer in the final minute as Los Angeles defeated their old rivals 83-79. Boston had held a 13-point lead in the second quarter.

2005: Spurs beat Pistons Tonight’s game is not the first Finals Game 7 for all of the Spurs, though this one was played in San Antonio. Tim Duncan, below, scored 25 points and Manu Ginobili had 23 as the Spurs defeated the defending champions from Detroit 81-74.

Hakeem Olajuwon was in top form for the Houston Rockets. Timothy A Clary / AFP

1994: Rockets beat Knicks Hakeem Olajuwon, top left, outplayed New York’s Patrick Ewing, scored 25 points and taking 10 rebounds, as Houston won 90-84. Many Knicks fans, still waiting for the team’s first title since 1970, blame John Starks’s 2-for-18 shooting performance.

1988: Lakers beat Pistons  “Big Game” James Worthy saved his only career triple-double for Game 7, scoring 36 points with 16 rebounds and 10 assists, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson had 14 assists as Los Angeles won a desperately close game with Detroit 108-105.

Cedric Maxwell proved an unlikely Boston hero. Peter Southwick / AP Photo

1984: Celtics beat Lakers Cedric Maxwell was the unlikely Boston hero, in a game featuring nine future Hall of Famers, including teammate Larry Bird, scoring 24 points and making a crucial steal from Magic Johnson in the final minute as the Celtics won 111-102.