Arguably one of the greatest NBA game of all time occurred during the 1976 showdown in the final match of the NBA championship between the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns. The first overtime ended with Paul Silas (Celtics) attempting to signal an unauthorized timeout subsequently ignored by referee Richie Powers ending the period tied. At the end of the second overtime, the Suns scored to take a one-point lead with only four seconds to the buzzer. John Havlicek sprinted down the floor and sunk a fifteen-foot jumper to put the Celtics up by one, bringing hundreds of fans to the floor in celebration; the game, however, was not yet over. With one second restored to the clock, Paul Westphal (Phoenix) requested an ineligible timeout resulting in a technical foul. The Celtics scored, moving to a two-point lead, but the Suns with ball at half-court scored on a Gar Heard jumper to tie. The stunned Garden crowd went silent. Glenn McDonald, Celtic reserve, scored six points in the final period to bring home a 128-126 win for Boston.
One game previous to this Celtic win was a dynasty defeat in 1958 NBA championship final competition which ended a decade long run by the infamous Boston club. The St. Louis Hawks, whose 6’9” power forward Bob Petit, scored 50 points, 19 of which were in the final team 21 as they steam-rolled over Boston with a last minute tip-in leaving fifteen seconds on the clock in a 110-109 Cinderella win.
A game just four years later marked the astonishing feat by Bill Russell in the final contest of the 1962 NBA championship season whose 30 points and 40 rebounds led the Boston Celtics to a 110-107 defeat over the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime.
The 1980 6th game of the NBA finals comes on the heels of this competition with rookie Magic Johnson suiting for injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. At halftime, the Lakers and the 76ers were tied at 60-60. The Lakers came out explosive in the third quarter firing fourteen unanswered points and stunning the Spectrum crowd as Johnson commanded the boards with 42 points. He was, however, overshadowed by Jamaal Wilkes who scored 25 of his 37 in the second half.
An awesome spectacle by Michael Jordan occurred in the 1986 NBA first round playoff game between the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics in which the Bulls fell to the Celtics 135-131. Jordan, in a his one-man show at Boston Gardens, made it into the annals of NBA history with an awesome display which included fade-away jumpers and signature flying dunks to drop 63 points for the Bulls effort that included 19 of 21 free throws and 22 of 41 field shots.