May 7: A Day for the Basketball Gods

May 7th is a day that reverberates in basketball history delivering some of its most iconic moments ever:  Dikembe and the Nuggets, Reggie the Knicks Killer and Michael and The Shot

THE SHOT

1989 Playoffs (Round 1)
Game 5

Chicago Bulls 101, Cleveland Cavaliers 100 (Bulls Win Series 3-2)

The Shot was the turning point in the battle for who would overtake the Detroit Pistons as the new beast of the East.  The Cleveland Cavaliers were the heir apparent as they tied with the Lakers for second best record in the league behind the Pistons.  While they swept the sixth-seeded Bulls in the regular season, they were battling them in a decisive Game 5 at home.  The game itself is a classic involving two amazing “game-winning” plays in the final six seconds.

Game 1 Fri, April 28 Chicago Bulls 95 @ Cleveland Cavaliers 88
Game 2 Sun, April 30 Chicago Bulls 88 @ Cleveland Cavaliers 96
Game 3 Wed, May 3 Cleveland Cavaliers 94 @ Chicago Bulls 101
Game 4 Fri, May 5 Cleveland Cavaliers 108 @ Chicago Bulls 105
Game 5 Sun, May 7 Chicago Bulls 101 @ Cleveland Cavaliers 100

The Bulls would go on to face the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals – where they would meet for three years in a row.  Detroit would win in 1989 and 1990 en route to championships, delaying the Bulls dynasty until 1991 when they finally won against the Lakers.

What is interesting is that the iconic image of Jordan’s celebratory fist pumpting jump into the air was never shown during the broadcast, but slowly found its way into our collective consciousness.


THE UPSET

1994 Playoffs (Round 1)
Game 5

Denver Nuggets 98, Seattle Super Sonics 94

  The 1994 Seattle Super Sonics finished 63-19.  At the time it was the 19th best record in NBA history.

Of the previous 18 teams:

  • 17 went to the Conference Finals
  • 12 to the NBA Finals and
  • 10 won NBA championships.

After jumping off to a 2-0 lead over 8th-seed Denver, the Super Sonics lost the remaining three as Denver became the first 8th seed in NBA history to beat a first-seed.  Denver would lose to Utah in the second round 4-2.

Game 1 Thu, April 28 Denver Nuggets 82 @ Seattle SuperSonics 106
Game 2 Sat, April 30 Denver Nuggets 87 @ Seattle SuperSonics 97
Game 3 Mon, May 2 Seattle SuperSonics 93 @ Denver Nuggets 110
Game 4 Thu, May 5 Seattle SuperSonics 85 @ Denver Nuggets 94
Game 5 Sat, May 7 Denver Nuggets 98 @ Seattle SuperSonics 94


 

REGGIE v THE KNICKS

1995 Playoffs (Round 2)
Game 2

Indiana Pacers 107, New York Knicks 105

In 1993, the top seeded Knicks eliminated Reggie Miller and the 8th-seeded Indiana Pacers 3-1.

In 1994, the Knicks won again in the Conference Finals in an epic battle seven game battle.  The Pacers took a 3-2 lead after Reggie Miller had a huge game 5 scoring 39 points (25 in the fourth quarter alone) spurred on by a trash-talking exchange with Knicks-fan Spike Lee.

In 1995, the two teams met in the Conference Semifinals and in Game 1 Reggie Miller took over with the Pacers down 105-99 with 18.7 seconds to play.  Miller would hit 2 three pointers and sink two foul shots to pull the Pacers ahead 107-105.  The Pacers would go on to beat the Knicks in seven games.

 

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