The Top 5 Games of the 2018 – 2019 NBA Season

As the 2018 – 2019 NBA season comes to a close, we take a look back at a few astonishing instant classics from the season…

by: Claudio Bermudez

If you’re an NBA fan, or for that matter, a sports fan in general, you love a great game. As we move towards the conclusion of the 2019 NBA Finals, where the Toronto Raptors sit on the precipice of possibly shocking the world (— check this review if you’re planning on betting the rest of the Finals —), it is an apropos time to take a look back at a few of the best games that took place this past season in order to celebrate how special the ride that was the 2018-2019 NBA Season has been…

5. Philadelphia 76ers v. Charlotte Hornets — November 17, 2018

In this countdown of best games the young, talent-stacked Philadelphia 76ers are found represented in three of the five games — a lofty feat. Unfortunately, the matchup with the Charlotte Hornets that took place in mid-November that commences this rundown was the only game where they were on the winning end. Kemba Walker, Charlotte’s All-Star point guard, stole the show this evening, putting up a whopping 60 points for the Hornets, but that mammoth effort turned out to not be enough. As the clock ticked down, the perpetual free agent that is Jimmy Butler dropped a three pointer to win the game. Butler joked that he wanted the shot to go in and win the game so as to avoid an overtime that would have led to Kemba putting up 70 points in total.

4. Milwaukee Bucks v Philadelphia 76ers — March 17th, 2019

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, also aptly known as the Greek Freak, is one of the NBA’s premiere talents, and there is one game in particular you can point to in the 2018-2019 regular season that highlight his jaw-dropping talent, a showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers at the tail end of the season. His 52 point performance was stunning, especially keeping in mind that he was going up all game against one of the best young centers in the league in Joel Embiid, who was assertively challenging every single shot Giannis took. Joel Embiid also had a great game, scoring 40 points, but it wasn’t quite enough to outshine the Freak, who led the Bucks to a 5-point victory.

3. Houston Rockets v. Miami Heat — February 28th, 2019

The Miami Heat ultimately had a disappointing 2018 – 2019 season finishing just outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but they were no pushover night in and night out. In a riveting matchup with the mighty Houston Rockets, the Heat put up a hell of a fight, yet the Rocket’s superstar guard, James Harden, ended the game with an absolutely monster stat line: 58 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds. The two teams dueled back and forth up until the bitter end, but the NBA is the sort of league where one star player, and one star player alone, can take the game over and seal the deal — and this is exactly what Hardin did as the Rockets held on to win this heated battle.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder v. Portland Trail Blazers — April 23, 2019

There are walk-off wins, and there are WALK-OFF WINS. Damian Lillard, Portland’s All-Star point guard, is the second player with multiple game-winning 3-point buzzer-beaters in the playoffs over the last fifteen postseasons, joining LeBron James, and his Game 5 bomb in the in the semifinals of the Western Conference playoffs was one of the craziest ever. The game was tight through the first two quarters and the Blazers had a 1 point lead at the half. Then, after going down by a couple of points by the end of the 3rd, things started looking bad for the Blazers as OKC found momentum. Blazers went down by 15 early in the 4th but Lillard led the charge and had the game tied in the final seconds of regular time. To conclude the game, Lillard calmly dribbled the ball deep in the backcourt with Paul George guarding him where he somehow created enough space to get a shot off and dropped the longest playoff buzzer-beater in history. This game was a battle up until the very end, and the final incredible dagger that broke 50 points for Lillard knocked the Thunder right out of the playoffs.

1. Philadelphia 76ers v. Toronto Raptors — May 12, 2019

The Sixers had the Raps on the ropes in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but a game-winning clutch shot by Kawhi Leonard from deep in the corner of the court shattered the Sixers chances of advancing and proved to be one of the greatest buzzer-beaters of the year. This back and forth series came down to the final seconds with the Raptors trailing by 1 point. It looked as if the 76ers had the game in the bag as their defense was swarming all over the Raptors in the final seconds. Then the unthinkable happened for Philly fans. Kawhi caught the ball on the run and launched a sideways, leaning three pointer, and as the ball bounced off the back rim as time ran out everyone watching was wondering which way it would fall. Dramatically, the ball fell in, and the fact this shot made possible Toronto’s first trip to the Finals, and possibly their first championship ever, makes it that much more incredible.

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