4. BILL RUSSELL, 1966
To beat the Lakers in Game 7 95-93, Russell had to have a huge game to offset Jerry West’s 36-point, 10-rebound night. West, in a losing effort, would actually become series MVP, but Russell won another title behind this line: 25 points and 32 rebounds.
3. JAMES WORTHY, 1988
A series against the Detroit Bad Boys that went seven games was capped by a player worthy of a huge game. That is, you can count James Worthy‘s 36-point, 16-rebound, 10-assist masterpiece â€” in a tight, 108-105 win that needed every point â€” as perhaps the best closeout performance. Worthy played a game-high 44 minutes (Isiah Thomas played just 28) but didn’t use all the time to score by volume: he shot 15-of-22 en route to the title at The Forum.
What makes this game stand out was the pure animosity between Detroit and L.A., a clash of styles â€” one of grace, one of grit â€” that placed this series in the public consciousness as less a basketball series but a referendum on the game itself. Detroit would get their titles later, of course, but Worthy â€” the old guard who represented the Lakers’ transition brilliance â€” turning in this performance was perfect for the series it was.