10 best performances in the NBA Playoffs from the last 40 years

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 6: Allen Iverson
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 6: Allen Iverson /
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5. Dwyane Wade, 2006 NBA Finals Game 3

The 2005-06 season was only Dwyane Wade’s third in the league. Still, he earned the nickname “Flash” and was already one of the best players in the NBA. The then 24-year old Chicago native averaged 27.2 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game that season. He played alongside the last dominant version of Shaquille O’Neal, whom the Miami Heat acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers via trade. The duo led the Heat to a 52-30 record during the regular season, finishing second in the Eastern Conference.

The Heat disposed of the Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets, and Detroit Pistons on their way to the NBA Finals. Dirk Nowitzki and the 60-win Dallas Mavericks were on the other side. The Mavericks took each of the first two games in Dallas by double digits, before the series shifted to Miami.The Mavericks threatened to snatch a 3-0 series lead when they took a 9-point lead into the fourth quarter of Game 3.

After scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter to bring his team back, Wade then made three critical plays down the stretch to seal the victory. He snagged the rebound off a missed free throw by Nowitzki and got fouled with 1.4 seconds remaining. He made one of two free throws to give the Heat a two-point lead with one second left in the game.

After a timeout, Nowitzki lobbed a pass to the rim for Josh Howard that would have tied the game if Wade hadn’t tipped it away. Wade also played with five fouls for much of the quarter. He finished the game with 42 points and 13 rebounds. The performance sparked the Heat to the win the next three games and ultimately win the title. Dwyane Wade averaged 39.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in those four Heat wins and won Finals MVP.