On June 1st in 2006, Dirk Nowitzki went off for a playoff career-high 50 points and led the Dallas Mavericks to a pivotal 117-101 Game 5 win against the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals.
The performance, that was a franchise-high in the postseason, put the Mavericks franchise just one win away from their first-ever NBA Finals.
Despite leading for a majority of the first three quarters, the Mavericks found themselves trailing by seven (77-70) with 3:27 to go in the third quarter and that's when the 7-foot German took over.
He scored seven points as part of the hosts' 12-4 run to close to quarter and then, in the final period, he single-handedly outscored the Suns 22-20 including 15 straight to give the Mavericks a comfortable win.
"I tried to make something happen," Nowitzki said.
"He played unbelievable," said Suns' guard Steve Nash, a teammate of Nowitzki's on the Mavericks from 1998 to 2004.
Playing 43 minutes en route to the only postseason 50-point game of his career, the German also finished with 12 rebounds and three assists while also recording phenomenal shooting splits - 14-26 FGs (53.8%); 5-6 3Ps (83.3%); 17-18 FTs (94.4%).
This Nowitzki show came off the back of an absolute struggle in Game 4. As the Mavericks lost by 20 (106-86) in Game 4 in Phoenix, he finished with just 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting from the field in 33 minutes.
"The last game, I never really found my rhythm," Nowitzki said. "Today, I just wanted to be aggressive, no matter what happens."
The Mavericks took care of business in Game 6 back in Phoenix and advanced to their first-ever NBA Finals. However, in the championship series, they surrendered a 2-0 series lead to eventually lose in six games to Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
Other notable events on June 1st
- In 1979, the Seattle Supersonics won their first and only NBA championship as they defeated the Washington Bullets 97-93 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Gus Williams scored 23 points and Jack Sikma grabbed 17 rebounds as the SuperSonics avenged their seven-game loss to the Bullets in the 1978 Finals.
- In 1993, Dan Majerle, of the Phoenix Suns, set a then playoff record with eight 3-pointers in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Seattle SuperSonics. He finished with 34 points in Game 5 as the Suns eventually prevailed in seven games to advance to the NBA Finals.
- In 1994, Reggie Miller knocked down a then NBA playoff record five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter in the Pacers' 93-86 win over the New York Knicks in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He finished with a game-high 39 points including 6-of-11 from 3-point range.
Game-winning buzzer-beaters on June 1st
Michael Jordan vs. Utah Jazz in 1997
Bob Harrison (Game 1, 1950)- NBA History (@NBAHistory) June 1, 2015
Sam Jones (Game 4, 1969)
Michael Jordan (Game 1, 1997)#FinalsTriviahttps://t.co/haf5zKOcfq
Notable playoff eliminations on June 1st
- In 2005, the San Antonio defeated the Phoenix Suns 101-95 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals to advance to their third NBA Finals in franchsie history and the second in a three-year span.
- In 2004, the Detroit Pistons booked their sixth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history with a 69-65 Game 6 victory against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. It was the Pistons' first Finals appearance since 1990.
- In 1995, the Houston Rockets booked their second consecutive Finals appearance with a 100-95 Game 6 win over the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
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