Any other examples of of when a great player choked during the playoffs?
Question:Provide an informative answer, no sarcasm.
(I don't mean any disrespect to Dirk Nowitzki. In fact, he is one of my favorite players, and truly one of the best players in the game. But when it counts the most, he didn't do what was expected of him. Also, I don't mean disrespect to any player who you guys think choked. I respect everyone, and expect you all to do the same. thanks)
I distinctly remember one Game 7 at home where New York was trailing by 2 to Indiana with a few seconds left and he went up for an open layup to tie and MISSED it. Knicks eliminated.
2. Karl Malone versus the Bulls in 1997 Finals. Except for one or two games of the 6-game series, Mailman - who was the regular season MVP that year - just didn't deliver. In Game 1, he missed two free throws with score tied and 10 seconds left, Bulls got ball and Jordan won game at the buzzer.
3. David Robinson being thoroughly outplayed by Hakeem in 1995 West Finals has been mentioned. Robinson was regular season MVP that year.
And even the ALL-TIME GREATEST EVER IMMORTALS also choked at times:
1. Magic Johnson - basically gave game away in deciding Game 3 at home to Rockets in 1981 First Round. Lakers were defending champs that year.
Worse was his choke in 1984 Finals versus Bird and the Celtics. In Game 4, Lakers could have led series 3 games to 1 but Magic had bad game and missed two crucical free throws in overtime and Celtics tied series and won it.
2. Michael Jordan - In 1995 East semis, he had the ball with Bulls leading Orlando by 1 with 20 ticks left and all he had to do was get fouled or run out the gameclock. He instead lost the ball to Magic Nic Anderson and Magic had fastbreak dunk. Bulls called time out then Jordan threw ball away on game's last possession.
3. Larry Bird - they were the defending champs in 82 and were playing Game 7 of East finals at home versus Philadelphia and were heavily favored to win like in 81. He shot poorly - didn't even score a point in 4th quarter - and got totally outplayed by Julius Erving as Sixers rout Boston and advance to Finals.
4-5. Julius Erving and Moses Malone - with the defending champion Sixers in 1984 first round versus New Jersey. In deciding Game 5 at home, Malone didn't even score a point in 4th quarter and Erving kept missing shots and Nets pull of great upset to eliminate the champs in their home floor.
Also, what about Shaq in this year's first round versus the Bulls? I think that counts as a choke, being swept like that when you are the defending champs.
So you see, it happens to ALL players at least once int heir career - both great players those not-so-great.
But admittedly, nothing as bad as what happened to Dirk Nowitzki this year. That was embarrassing.
Most of the greats have at some point. Remember the Kobe air-ball three at the buzzer a few years back? Or how about the entire Lakers team that got beat in 5 by the Pistons a few years ago? Dennis Johnson in the 78 Finals is the best example. Dirk is 28, he'll be allright. Folks used to say MJ was soft and could never win the big one. That is laughable now.
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...sorry the warriors-mavericks series is still fresh in my mind! =)
Karl Malone getting stripped of the ball in the dying seconds of Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals.
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