The NBA season rumbles on, despite the problems around the country, as culture tries to find some modicum of normality against a backdrop of anything but.
The world has been shaken upside down and continues to see turmoil and strife, but with sports, at least people have something to cling to and focus on. The NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB are all outlets for the frustrated to find solace, to discuss, analyze and of course, enjoy.
At least, that is how it should be. You might be hard pushed to find any Ravens fans enjoying life right now after their playoff defeat, and whilst NBA isn’t yet at a critical stage, there are fans out there who may still be haunted by a misplaced pass or mistimed shot at a critical moment. It happens, from pre-season games right through to the biggest stage of all, the NBA Championship game.
So here are five moments from those showcase events that still horrify fans and pundits alike, to this very day.
J R Smith – 2018
In game one of the 2018 finals, J R Smith made a mistake so huge, it is discussed as perhaps the costliest mistake in NBA history. The Cavaliers and Warriors are tied in the final seconds, and Smith rebounds the ball, seizing a chance to pass or shoot himself. Instead, believing his side are ahead, he dribbles away from the basket and the game goes into overtime, which the Cavs lose. They lose the series 4-0, the third defeat in four years against the Warriors at the showcase event.
Dallas Collapse -2006
2006 was the Mavericks first appearance in the finals, and what a team they were. They had two double-digit wins against Miami Heat from the first two games and were up by 13 with a quarter to go in the third. It was also the first appearance in the finals for the Heat, who have since enjoyed plenty of success. A post on who will be crowned NBA champions in 2020-21 notes that the Heat have reached more finals than any other team under the current format, winning three and losing three of their six appearances. They turned Dallas around in sensational fashion, with Dwayne Wade in irresistible form as they run out two-point winners. That lifted them to win the series, the first of three in the modern age. The Mavs would have to wait until 2011 for their revenge.
Ray Allen – 2013
The Spurs were hunting their fifth title of the Gregg Popovich era and went into game six leading 3-2. In the final quarter, they had a 10-point cushion and were seemingly on course for the win. With 5.2 seconds left, LeBron James attempts a three that misses, and Chris Bosh rebounds the ball to Ray Allen. He shoots a three to tie the game, with the Spurs not having any timeouts left. They got a few seconds after a video review, but it was not enough, and the Heat wins in overtime, before snatching the title two nights later. A year later, Popovich and the Spurs do get their win.
Draymond Green – 2016
LeBron James might have been named Time Magazine’s Athlete of the Year, but he certainly was not on Draymond Green’s Christmas card list after their coming together in 2016. The Warriors and Cavaliers had met in the 2015 final, and the following year the Warriors were again on the up, 3-1 up after four games. In game five, Green had a swipe at LeBron’s groin and was suspended for his fourth flagrant foul. The Cavaliers took the initiative and overturned the deficit, winning three games in a row to secure their only title to date.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade 2011
This was not an on-court mistake, but the sort of shenanigans that have become familiar in WWE, but not the NBA. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade are seen wiping their noses and sniggering ahead of game five of the finals. The two teams, Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks are tied 202 and the ‘joke is apparently a dig at Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, who had a sinus infection during game four. Nowitzki clearly took their antics as motivation, scoring 29 points to give his team a 3-2 series lead. Once game five was sealed, they eased to a 4-2 win and left James and Wade to their jokes.