We’ve witnessed some legendary performances in NBA playoff history.
So, with Jimmy Butler entering the record books with that epic 56-point performance vs. the Milwaukee Bucks, Stephen A. Smith thought it was time to put together his list of the all-time best playoff performances.
.@stephenasmith's best NBA playoff performances:
1. Michael Jordan's 63 Pts vs. Celtics (1986)
2. LeBron James 25 straight Pts vs. Pistons (2007)
3. Isiah Thomas 25 Pts in 3rd quarter (1988)
4. Michael Jordan's flu game (1997)
5. Magic Johnson closes out 76ers (1980) pic.twitter.com/9CahVGZWuT
— First Take (@FirstTake) April 25, 2023
At No. 5, Smith chose Magic Johnson closing out the Philadelphia 76ers in 1980, which comes as no surprise.
Johnson filled in for the injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and played center for the Los Angeles Lakers, logging 42 points and 15 rebounds to get a championship-clinching win in Game 6.
That cemented Johnson as a budding star in this league and gave him his first championship.
At No.4, Smith chose Michael Jordan’s legendary flu game in 1997.
Jordan was exhausted and gassed after being intoxicated by a pizza he ordered the night before Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, torching the Utah Jazz for 38 points in one of the most iconic performances of his legendary career.
At No. 3, Smith chose Isiah Thomas’ incredible performance with a broken ankle.
He was hurting and hobbling, yet he still willed his team with a record 25 points in the third quarter of Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals.
The Detroit Pistons still lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Lakers, but Thomas finished that game with 43.
At No. 2, Smith chose LeBron James scoring 25 points in a row — and 29 of 30 — against the Detroit Pistons in 2007.
It happened in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to keep his Cleveland Cavaliers afloat, although they eventually lost in seven games.
And last but not least, Smith chose Michael Jordan’s incredible 63-point outing vs. the Boston Celtics in 1986.
The Chicago Bulls lost that game and the series, but it’s still the highest-scoring performance in NBA playoff history, and the day MJ officially introduced himself to the league.NEXT: Fans React To Picture Of Ja Morant's Injured Elbow