Is Ray Allen's game-tying 3-pointer against the San Antonio Spurs in 2013 the greatest shot in NBA Finals history?
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): It's definitely up there, but I'd put Kyrie Irving's 3-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals slightly ahead of it.
Not only were the Cavaliers coming back from a 3-1 deficit against a Warriors team that had won an NBA-record 73 games in the regular season, the city of Cleveland was in the midst of a 52-year championship drought. Throw in the degree of difficulty of Irving stepping-back towards his right hand and hitting a contested 3-pointer over Stephen Curry in the final minute of a tied game in Golden State, where the Warriors set another NBA record during the regular season by winning 54-straight games, and you have the greatest shot in Finals history.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): When you think about what was at stake and the comeback that led to it, there's no bigger shot in NBA Finals history than Ray Allen's in 2013.
By all accounts, the game - and the series - was over once the Spurs took a 94-89 lead with 28.2 seconds left in regulation. Somehow, the Heat still had a chance to tie the game just 10 seconds later. Allen answered the call in a big way; not only did his shot give Miami new life, it was absolutely demoralizing for San Antonio.
The momentum from Ray's extremely difficult corner jumper carried over into Game 7, where the Heat would defend its title from 2012. It was exactly why Miami signed Allen in the previous offseason, and it is exactly why it is the greatest shot in the history of the NBA Finals.
Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): Think about the parallel universe in a world in which Ray Allen misses that shot. Tim Duncan would have improved to 5-0 in the Finals with a shot at finishing 6-0 assuming they returned to win again in 2014. That vaults him higher in GOAT conversations and probably slams the door on Duncan or Kobe debates. LeBron James would have fallen to 1-3. Who knows how long he would have stayed in Miami, if he would have returned to Cleveland or how many Finals he would go on to make. Would the LeBron or Jordan debate rage on if he only has one or two championships? How might Pat Riley have reacted to one title in three seasons? Does the Heatles experiment end a year sooner with James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh heading elsewhere?
You can do the same thing with Kyrie Irving's shot, but given the Allen shot without a doubt flipped the outcome of a championship and the legacy of two top 10 of all-time players, I give the nod to Allen.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): It's the second best, no doubt, only behind Kyrie Irving's game-winner in the 2016 NBA Finals.
First, I have to address how incredible it is that Ray Allen was able to get his feet set behind the line, without looking down, burying a shot with the Larry O'Brien trophy sitting at the end of the tunnel ready to be awarded to the San Antonio Spurs. Now with that being said, Kyrie's shot was in a Game 7 on the road after crawling back from down 3-1 against a team that won an NBA-record 73 games that regular season.
Just under a minute left in a tied game and nearly a full shot clock, it didn't matter that Irving had the best player in the world on his team. Once he got the switch he wanted he never even thought about passing the ball. The magnitude of that shot almost cannot be topped. Oracle Arena is one of the toughest environments in the league and there is no bigger stage than Game 7. It's the greatest shot in NBA Finals history.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I'd have to put the Ray Allen triple a close second on the list only behind Magic Johnson's Junior Skyhook in the '87 Finals. It was an iconic play from the league's most storied rivalry.
The shot was Magic's most memorable of his career and came in a game the Lakers were on the verge of losing. They came back from being down 16 at halftime in the Boston Garden where history wasn't kind to the team from L.A. And after having the worst Finals series of his career the year before, Magic rose up in the clutch to knock down a clutch skyhook over Kevin McHale which left the Garden in stun silence.
The Lakers went on to win the game, taking a 3-1 series lead and finishing the Celts in six. It was also the final time Bird and Magic saw each other in the Finals, bringing an end to the epic rivalry that helped shape the league.
If Magic doesn't make that shot, the Celtics win Game 4 and might have won the series. The legacies of Bird and Magic could have been very different without the junior skyhook.