Every week on NBA.com, we'll unveil a new bracket with daily matchups to vote on. By the end of the week, we'll crown a champion and determine a winner based on fan voting. Starting us off this week? The greatest shots in postseason history!
It all comes down to this.
Ray Allen or Kawhi Leonard?
After starting the week with the 16 greatest shots in postseason history (click here to skip down to the entire field), we're now down to the final two as determined by YOU!
What is the greatest shot in postseason history?
The semifinals featured a pair of close calls and one major upset.
Ray Allen's shot in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals advanced past Kyrie Irving's clutch 3-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, receiving 65% of the vote .
And in an upset, Kawhi Leonard's four-bouncer buzzer-beater in Game 7 of the Conference Semifinals last year against the Philadelphia 76ers snuck past Michael Jordan's game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals, receiving 59% of the vote .
Who will come out on top? You decide!
Championship - 2 Ray Allen vs 4 Kawhi Leonard
It's wild to think how much different we'd view the legacy of LeBron James had Ray Allen not sank the clutch 3-pointer from the corner to force overtime in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. Allen's only made 3 of the game came at the biggest possible moment and right after Kawhi Leonard missed the opportunity for the Spurs to go up by four points. If Allen misses that shot, who knows what happens next with James and the Heat. Would he have ever returned to Cleveland? Would Kyrie's shot three years later have ever even occurred? Who knows!
But Allen buried it, the Heat won Game 6 in OT and won Game 7 to win their second straight title.
It's impossible to overstate the magnitude of Leonard's shot and what it meant not only for the Toronto Raptors but for basketball in all of Canada. Sure, it happened in the Conference Semifinals, but that remains THE signature moment for the Raptors run to the 2019 title. That shot captured the entire essence of why Masai Ujiri traded for Leonard in the first place in what surely will go down as the most impactful championship-deciding trades of all-time.
To do that in a Game 7 after freeing himself from Ben Simmons and shooting over the outstretched arms of a fully extended Joel Embiid and waiting for it to play pinball on the rim... just an incredible moment that will live on forever.
So who takes the crown? It's your call!
First Round Results
Here is how the opening round matchups played out on voting across Global NBA.com sites. The only upset came in the 7 vs 10 matchup with Jerry West's 60-foot heave to force overtime taking out Sam Jones's game-winner from the 1969 NBA Finals.
The closest matchup was between a couple of Lakers in Magic Johnson and Robert Horry while Kawhi Leonard received 91% of the votes in his duel with John Stockton, the most lopsided of the eight opening-round pairs.
- 1 Michael Jordan in 1998 def. 16 Damian Lillard in 2019: 67%
- 2 Ray Allen in 2013 def. 15 Allan Houston in 1999: 88%
- 3 Kyrie Irving in 2016 def. 14 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1974: 66%
- 4 Kawhi Leonard in 2019 def. 13 John Stockton in 1997: 91%
- 5 Michael Jordan in 1989 def. 12 Larry Bird in 1981: 70%
- 6 Magic Johnson in 1987 def. 11 Robert Horry in 2002: 58%
- 10 Jerry West in 1970 def. 7 Sam Jones in 1969: 82%
- 8 Steve Kerr in 1997 def. 9 John Paxson in 1993: 68%
Here is how Day 2 of voting played out. No surprises in store as the top four seeds in the tournament all advanced to the final four.
- 1 Michael Jordan in 1998 def. 8 Steve Kerr in 1997: 89%
- 2 Ray Allen in 2013 def. 10 Jerry West in 1970: 63%
- 3 Kyrie Irving in 2016 def. 6 Magic Johnson in 1987: 56%
- 4 Kawhi Leonard in 2019 def. 5 Michael Jordan in 1989: 83%
After the top four seeds survived to the final four, the No. 1 overall seed went down in the semifinals to set up our championship clash.
- 4 Kawhi Leonard in 2019 def. 1 Michaell Jordan in 1998: 59%
- 2 Ray Allen in 2013 def. 3 Kyrie Irving in 2016: 65%
The Original Field
So here's the deal... picking 16 and only 16 was TOUGH. Factors considered for each shot included the stakes, whether or not that shot changed the outcome of a series, and the degree of difficulty.
|1.||Michael Jordan||1998 NBA Finals Game 6 - game-winner over Bryon Russell|
|2.||Ray Allen||2013 NBA Finals Game 6 - hits corner 3 to tie game and force OT|
|3.||Kyrie Irving||2016 NBA Finals Game 7 - Pull-up 3 from right elbow|
|4.||Kawhi Leonard||2017 Conf Semis Game 7- Four bounces and in|
|5.||Michael Jordan||1989 1st Round Game 5 - The Shot over Craig Ehlo|
|6.||Magic Johnson||1987 NBA Finals Game 4 - Jr. Skyhook to beat the C's|
|7.||Sam Jones||1969 NBA Finals Game 4 - Jumper at buzzer to win|
|8.||Steve Kerr||1997 NBA Finals Game 6 - game-winning shot with 5 sec left to clinch title|
|9.||John Paxson||1993 NBA Finals Game 6 - game-winning 3 in final seconds to clinch title|
|10.||Jerry West||1970 NBA Finals Game 3 - 60-footer to force overtime (no 3-point line)|
|11.||Robert Horry||2002 Western Conf Finals Game 4 - Hits 3 at buzzer to win 100-99|
|12.||Larry Bird||1981 NBA Finals Game 1 - shot and putback to win it at end|
|13.||John Stockton||1997 West Conf Finals Game 6 - 3 at buzzer to send Jazz to first Finals|
|14.||Kareem Abdul-Jabbar||1974 NBA Finals Game 6 - Game winner skyhook in double OT|
|15.||Allan Houston||1999 1st Round Game 5 (best of 5) - Game winner in lane over Miami Heat|
|16.||Damian Lillard||2019 1st Round Game 5 to eliminate Oklahoma City Thunder|
Some of our hardest omissions:
- Robert Horry's shot to beat the Pistons in the 2005 NBA Finals.
- Don Nelson's go-ahead shot in Game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals
- Derek Fisher and "0.4 seconds"
- Any of the game-winners by LeBron James
- Kobe Bryant against the Suns in 2006
- Damian Lillard's shot to sink the Rockets in 2014
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.