The Memorial Day Miracle occurred during Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals with the Spurs up 1-0 in the series. With the Portland Trail Blazers having taken an 18-point lead in the third quarter of that game, the comeback in itself was already a big story.
The three Elliott buried with nine seconds remaining put San Antonio up 86-85, still leaving the door open for Portland to get the last shot, which ultimately turned out alright for the Spurs. Given that the shot came early in the series, I don’t see it as a shot that came in a “must-win” situation.
The Spurs went on to blow out the Blazers in their own arena in Games 3 and 4, not really leaving much doubt as to who had the better team. The same cannot be said for the series in which Big Shot Bob came through, however.
The 2005 NBA Finals featured two teams that were about as evenly matched as any two teams have ever been. While it took until Game 5 for both teams to actually show up at the same time, Robert Horry made the wait well worth it for Spurs fans.
After having been blown out of the Palace of Auburn Hills two straight times, Game 5 was a must-win for the Silver and Black. Yes, they still had two more games left at home to try and wrap up the series, but as Rip Hamilton revealed years later, the Spurs were mentally broken after those two big losses in Detroit.
Horry’s huge three came in a hostile building as San Antonio was down by two with under 10 seconds remaining. Even for a team with three Hall of Famers, it’s hard to imagine recovering from two humiliating losses followed by a nail-biter.
Advantage: Robert Horry