The NBA had an incredibly exciting, enigmatic and unbelievably fast transforming decade while we’re moving to the year 2020. I had a rough time picking the biggest moments of the decade, tried to evaluate finals and post-season drama mostly. There are some big regular-season actions also but my point system was finals > post-season rounds > big drama in regular-season > great regular-season moment. So there are plenty missed and make sure that those moments would’ve been in the TOP 100 if I’d do it.
And I think after the biggest 20 moments, the rest of the 30 are almost equal to each other. Here we go!
50. JR Smith Drama In 2018 Finals Game 1
The 50th moment should be the worst but one of the biggest ones of the decade. First George Hill misses the free throw then surprisingly JR Smith grabs the rebound from Warriors, he does not score the ball and dribbles the entire court to not call a time out. Cavaliers blow an amazing upset opportunity and hands the game over to the Golden State. Who knows? Maybe LeBron could’ve won his 4th title and not signed with Los Angeles Lakers. It’s all JR and the Hennessy’s fault.
49. Carmelo Anthony Scores 62 In Garden
New York and Melo bonded at this moment when he scored 62 points with 7 minutes remaining in the game. Almost all of his shots were pure jump shots and mid-range game. He could’ve scored 80 or more if he’d stayed in the game.
48. Kobe Bryant Posterizing Nets & Hawks Defenders
Kobe Bryant’s 2012/2013 campaign was so emotional and dramatic. He was having one his best seasons in field goal statistics and did amazing dunks including poster jams over Kris Humpries and Gerald Wallace same time in Brooklyn and in a home game against an athletic, young shot blocker Josh Smith. 34-year-old pre achilles injury Kobe, we miss him a lot.
47. Stephen Curry’s Miracle Shot Against OKC
Steph Curry scores 46 and his last shot was a video game hack game-winner shot. He was like, “I’m here, the best player in the league, greatest shooter ever. Nobody can stop me.”. Adjust all the 2k sliders to 99 and you cannot still be better than this version of Stephen Curry. He’s amazing.
46. DeAndre Jordan Ends Brandon Night
If not Blake Griffin’s dunks, this is the best dunk of this decade. Brandon Knight is an amazing athlete and he has some crazy ankle-breakers and poster dunks in this decade too. But DeAndre and Lob City were at their best period. This dunk is so exciting to watch, maybe an offensive foul but when you watch this on a TV, it’s like DJ ended Knight’s career.
45. Blake Griffin Arrives & Posterizes Mozgov And Perkins
Blake Griffin rests a year after an injury as a rookie. Then returns as a superstar in Los Angeles. Becomes the best dunker in the league. Surprises everyone by dunking over Kendrick Perkins and Timofey Mozgov. He does not only dunks over them, he finishes them like a Mortal Kombat video game.
44. Giannis Dunks Over Tim Hardaway JR
Imagine someone dunks over a 6-foot-7 guy, I mean really jumps over a person. When Giannis finished the play, TV camera shows celebrities in Madison Square Garden. John McEnroe was just in shock. That was the best reaction of all. Also, Middleton was like, “Why?”. This may be the top 10 in-game dunks of all time.
43. Dwyane Wade Vs. Purple Shirt Man
Charlotte Hornets heckler aka The Purple Shit Man was no match for Dwyane Wade in 2016 Playoffs. He was continuously shouting at D-Wade the entire game, telling him to retire. Wade shot clutch shots and stared at him all the time. The lesson was learned. Never talk trash to an NBA player.
42. Devin Booker Scores 70 Points
The youngest player to score 70 points or more. This could’ve ranked higher and been meaningful if Suns were beat Celtics. It’s the first 70-plus game since Kobe scored 81 against Toronto, also the Celtics opponent record, ex-record was Elgin Baylor’s 64 points in 1959.
41. THE LINSANITY Arrives At New York City
Nobody expected this kid to be an NBA superstar for three weeks during the absence of Carmelo Anthony. Nobody expected him to have a shootout with league’s best player Kobe Bryant or shoot game-winners, clutch shots as the first option of the New York Knicks. It was amazing, the kid from Harvard, he made it.
40. LeBron James “Cramp Game” During 2012 Finals
Bron goes down hard and feels cramps, a turning point of the series. He checks back and hits a big three-point shot late in the 4th quarter to get the game 4 victory. Series were almost over after LeBron’s heroics, it was already a 3-1 lead.
39. Paul Pierce Blocks Kyle Lowry’s Game-Winner Attempt
Brooklyn Nets against Toronto Raptors in game 7. At the moment of truth, Paul Pierce was the truth. He blocks Kyle Lowry’s game-winner attempt to secure the series victory over Raptors.
38. James Harden Posterizes Draymond Green
Best dunk of 2018. Game 4 of the West Finals. Harden goes over the most versatile defender of the league Draymond Green and posterizes him. The Beard was the 2018 MVP and Rockets were pushing Warriors to 7 game series. Rockets were so close to winning the title that year but they blew it off.
37. Paul George Dunks Over The Birdman
Another so close to the NBA finals team, 2013 Indiana Pacers. They were built so stacked and the young core was unstoppable against The Heat. Paul George was emerging as a superstar in the league that year, especially in game 2 by taking over the game and posterizing a defensive specialist Chris Andersen aka The Birdman.
36. Derrick Rose’s Game Winner Against Cleveland
It’s 2015 and we’re thinking that is Derrick Rose still a superstar and MVP caliber player. Injury after injury. It was a relief moment for both Bulls and D-Rose. If it was not LeBron, Kyrie and Kevin Love big 3 for the Cavs, The Chicago Bulls could’ve advanced to the NBA Finals that year. Derrick Rose was not in his 2011 form but the team was really good.
35. 2016 NBA SLAM DUNK CONTEST In All-Star Saturday
That time the NBA Slam Dunk Contest was back. At least for a year. Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine put on a show as Jordan and Nique did in 1988 Chicago. Dunks were so rare and athletic to see. LaVine was doing windmill free throw dunks while Gordon literally sitting in the air. Also, Aaron Gordon robbed that year as Wilkins did in ’88.
34. Brandon Roy’s Comeback In 2011 Playoffs Against Dallas
Alongside Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, and T-Mac: Brandon Roy is the biggest what-if career of this decade. His game had no weaknesses like Kobe Bryant said. Roy scored 18 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. What a clutch moment that was. Including a 10-foot bank shot with 39.2 seconds left for the game’s final points. He handed Trail Blazers a miracle 84-82 first-round playoff victory over that year’s NBA Champion, Dallas Mavericks.
33. Vince Carter’s Game-Winner Against San Antonio Spurs
Spurs were NBA champions in 2014. The same year, only Vince Carter upset them so bad. It was a Deja Vu moment from 2001 Playoffs. Remember the missed game-winner attempt of VC against 76ers in game 7? He probably repeated that shot 1000 times so 13 years later, he pulled it off successfully. Vinsanity was alive in Dallas.
32. LeBron James’ Epic Game Winner Over Raptors
When Bron said it’s over. It was the first year we said, “Oh wait. LeBron with the killer instinct?” He shot game-winners all the year. He was a one-man army that year, deserved the MVP than everyone else. LBJ always tortured Raptors in playoffs. Raptors fans can sue LeBron James for their depression, they deserve that.
31. Jayson Tatum Posterizes LeBron James
Kyrie-less Boston Celtics are upsetting everyone except their fans. Jayson Tatum once had a photo with LeBron James as a 12-year-old kid, now he’s posterizing him relentlessly in a playoff game.
30. LeBron James Buries Jason Terry
It was a regular-season game and LeBron James was at his best version. A redemption moment from the 2011 NBA Finals, Bron dunks over Jason Terry and makes a look, then receives a technical foul for that. Terry’s next game was against New Orleans, 20 minutes and 0 points. He could not be recovered from that quickly.
29. Isaiah Thomas Scores 53 Points To Tribute His Sister
Isaiah Thomas scores 53 and 29 in the 4th quarter the days after his sister Chyna passed away. Celtics advance from the first round after a 6 game series, Isaiah attends to his sisters funeral the next day. A day after he drops 33 points to get the first victory. Then the next day was his sister’s birthday. That was a special, emotional birthday tribute from her brother.
28. Manu Ginobili Stops James Harden
2017 Playoffs game 5, Harden already emerges as the best scorer in the league but it’s not enough for the old man named Emmanuel Ginobili. What a true veteran Manu was, he jumped before the shot happened, he’s so experienced. He blocks James Harden’s game-tying three-pointer attempt and seals the game. The Spurs won 110-107 in overtime and lead the series 3-2.
27. Damian Lillard Beats Houston Rockets
2nd year Damian Lillard beats single-handedly Houston Rockets with a game-winner buzzer-beater to advance in 2014 NBA Playoffs. James Harden and Dwight Howard are in a state of shock. It was their first playoff run. Lillard grabs the mic and yells, “RIP CITY!” shows he’s an MC.
26. Russell Westbrook’s Game Winner At Denver
Russ collects his 42nd triple-double in the season which is the NBA record. He finishes the game with a game-winner shot. The previous record was 41 with Oscar Robertson in 1962 season. He set the triple-double record and hit the game-winner. Are you kidding me?
25. Kobe Bryant’s Farewell With 60 Points
Only Kobe Bean Bryant could score 60 points in his final NBA game and he did it. The event was a movie type of narrative by itself. Ticket prices, celebrities and so forth. It was like the last big performance of Black Jesus. Kobe scored his last 60 of the many and grab the mic, “Mamba Out!”
24. Rajon Rondo’s Game 2 Performance Vs. Miami Heat In 2012 Playoffs
Rajon Rondo scared the Heatles so much after this game. Big 3 LBJ, D-Wade and Bosh were like, “Here we go again, it’s like 2011 all over again.” They were near to lose series until Garnett trigged LeBron James and LBJ single-handedly beat Celtics in 7 games. Rondo had playoff-high 44 points and he was clearly the leader of Boston Celtics that year.
23. Stephen Curry’s NBA Playoff Overtime Record
Game 4 of the 2016 West Semi Finals. 17 points in an overtime situation and it’s a playoff game. Stephen Curry was having his best year, the first unanimous MVP of the league. The dude was on another level and it was his first game back from knee injury, it’s crazy.
22. Tony Parker’s Buzzer Beater In Game 1
Every one of us believed that Spurs was going to beat Miami Heat in 2013 Finals after Tony Parker destroyed them with this buzzer-beater. They were looking like untouchables until Ray Allen cooked them and Chris Bosh blocked every single San Antonio player in Game 6.
21. Chris Paul Seals The Series Vs. San Antonio
What a 7 game series that was. LA Clippers were so close to winning the NBA championship that year until Donald Sterling crisis popped out. The team had incredible chemistry and Chris Paul shot a crazy game-winning shot to beat last year’s NBA champions. It was pretending to be a first-round series but it was close to an NBA finals experience between those two teams.
20. Damian Lillard Waives Oklahoma City Thunder
Probably the coolest most swaggiest moment of this decade. Throughout the season, Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard went back and forth, trashtalked at each other. Westbrook told Lillard that he cooked him for years. So, Lillard had his answer by dropping 50 points and the lethal long range 3 pointer to finish Westbrook and OKC. Thunder players’ faces were unforgettable, the whole Portland crowd went crazy.
19. Dirk’s Flu Game In 2011 Finals
Dirk Nowitzki is playing with the flu. He scored 21 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks to another come-from-behind win against the Miami Heat. This was also the game LeBron James scored 0 points in the 4th quarter. Dallas Mavs were so focused that year. And they knew that was their last chance to win a title.
18. Memphis Vs. OKC Triple Overtime Playoff Game
What could be more exciting than a triple-overtime game in NBA Playoffs? Westbrook and Durant combined for 75 points. The crowd was intense and remember those years when Westbrook, Durant, and Harden were playing together.
17. Bulls Vs. Nets Triple Overtime Game
One of the greatest comebacks in playoff led by a player: The game went triple overtimes and Nate Robinson played like a giant. He scored 34 points, and The Bulls wiped out a 14-point deficit late in regulation and beat the Brooklyn Nets 142-134.
16. Klay Thompson Scores 60 In 29 Mins
Klay goes off with 60 points in 29 minutes and makes us like, is he the best shooter over Stephen Curry? His scoring and minutes were had the same rate as Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game in 48 minutes. He only dribbled the basketball 11 times on his 33 shot attempts total. Insane!
15. James Harden’s 60 Point Triple Double
60/10/11 the first and the only 60-point triple-double in NBA history. The Beard did that for 19/30 on shooting attempts.
14. James Harden Goes For 53/17/16
James Harden continues to make history and ties Wilt Chamberlain for the highest scoring triple double with a final stat line of 53 points, 17 assists, and 16 rebounds. It was the only time a player had put up 50/15/15 or better stat-line. He had 95 points accounted for (points scored or assisted on) which is the 2nd highest in NBA history (Wilt Chamberlain with 104).
13. Klay Thompson Scores 37 Points In A Quarter!
So much stuff was happening during the Warriors 73-9 campaign. NBA record for most points in a quarter, 37. He scored all 37 points in 10 minutes of game time. He was 13/13 from the field. He’s not human.
12. LeBron James Blocks Tiago Splitter In 2013 NBA Finals
LBJ raises for a block for a 7-footer like he’s a center too. We all thought this was the best playoff block of all time. But then the Iggy block on game 7 just topped it.
11. Klay Thompson’s Epic Game 6 Vs. OKC
When the greatness appeared on live TV: Klay Thompson was completely unconscious from 3 point line. Despite the great defense OKC put in, Klay set a playoff record with 11 three-pointers, all of them were contested shots, which kept the Warriors in the game until the end when they were able to take the lead and steal the game. After game 7 the Warriors completed the 3-1 comeback and were headed to the finals.
10. Mavericks Vs. Heat Game 2 Of The 2011 Finals
One of the greatest comebacks of NBA history. Nowitzki and Mavs were so focused to finish Miami Heat’s arrogant Big 3. They came from a 15 point deficit in the 4th quarter. What Dirk and Dallas achieved against this type of team that possesses 3 hall of famers, will go down as one of the most unappreciated, underrated, and forgetful championships in NBA history.
9. Dirk Nowitzki’s 48 Point Ownage Vs. OKC
When Dirk saw the path to the championship, he realized the team was old and it was their last chance. He was on a mission. 48 point ownage against Durant, Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka. Then he beat LeBron, Wade and Bosh trio. What a legend!
8. LeBron And Kyrie Scores 41 Each Against Golden State
The only time LeBron and Kyrie were looking like Batman and Robin. And it was something special. NBA record with two players scoring 41 points each. Cleveland Cavaliers finished Golden State Warriors mentally in this game. With injuries and Draymond Green’s suspensions, the title was about to be lost.
7. Kevin Durant In Game 3 Of The 2018 Finals
When you add Kevin Durant aka league’s coldest player to basketball’s one of the greatest teams, this is what happens. 43 points and 13 rebounds, a clutch demonstration by KD. His long-range dagger was right through LeBron and Cavs’ heart, and it was a Deja Vu, similar play to the 2017 finals game 3.
6. LeBron James’ Game 6 Vs. Boston Celtics In 2012
That time LBJ switched to the angry mode and single-handedly destroyed Boston Celtics Big 3. Kevin Garnett talked a lot of trash to him and this was LeBron’s response. 45 points and 15 rebounds, clearly the best version of Miami Heat LeBron James. He won his first NBA title that year, thanks to KG.
5. Celtics At Lakers Game 7 Of 2010 NBA Finals
The Decade’s first game 7 NBA Finals action between Kobe Bryant’s Lakers and Big 3 Boston Celtics. Vujacic’s clutch free throws, Ron Artest’ (before Metta World Peace) clutch 3 pointer. It was the time Kobe Bryant had the real teammates of his. Celtics were leading the 4th quarter until 6 minutes left, they were so close to winning a title in Los Angeles. One of the greatest NBA finals comebacks ever. And Kobe’s last title and first NBA championship of the 2010s.
4. Kawhi Leonard Historic Game Winner Vs. 76ers
“Is this the dagger? Oooohhh!!!!”: The Game 7 action between Raptors and 76ers. Kawhi Leonard drives to right baseline 3 and shoots a contested shot. Kawhi sits down to the near bench and watches the basketball. The ball bounces, bounces, bounces at the rim and goes in. Whole arena, color commentators, everyone goes crazy. The game is over. Klaw takes his team to the East Finals. If this miracle did not happen, Raptors would not win the 2019 title. What a moment! (And the only time Kawhi Leonard screamed and yelled)
3. Ray Allen & Chris Bosh Saves The Miami Heat
The turning point of the Miami Heat franchise. First Bosh grabs the rebound and kicks it to Ray Allen and he shoots the 3 and sticks the dagger to Spurs’ heart (Even the champagnes were ready to celebrate San Antonio title). Then Bosh goes for two clutch blocks to secure the victory. These two crucial plays saved Miami Big 3’s legacy and they won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
2. Warriors Broke Record & Win 73 Games In Regular Season!
What a year for NBA decade and Warriors history. Everything was pure, flawless and perfect. Klay Thompson was a scoring machine, Draymond was an all-around beast. The role players were perfect. The defense was impeccable and Stephen Curry was the first unanimous MVP fo the league. And Golden State Warriors won 73 games overall to break Chicago Bulls record in 1996. Yes, 73 does not mean a thing without a ring but this was something special and deserves to be in the top 3 moments all time!
1. LeBron James’ Chase Down Block & Kyrie Irving’s Dagger In Game 7
Arguably the greatest game of NBA history and the biggest upset of all time. LeBron James brings an NBA championship to his hometown Cleveland. LBJ has the greatest block of all time and Kyrie Irving shoots the top 3 the most clutch-est jump shot of all time. The biggest turning point of this series was Kyrie Irving realizing that no one can guard him and LeBron James was on a mood that, “F– it. I’ll give my 100%. Let’s see what happens.”
Totally deserves to be the Number 1 of the list!