NBA Memorial Day Moments

By Dennis Berry

The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat will start the Eastern Conference Finals on Memorial Day 2012. The NBA has a long history of great playoff moments happening on Memorial Day.

Here is a look back at some great moments to happen on this holiday.

May 25, 1970

The Indiana Pacers were the best team in the ABA going 59-25 during the regular season. On Memorial Day 1970 they would win the ABA Championship after defeating the Los Angeles Stars four games to two. Roger Brown was named the MVP of the ABA playoffs.

May 27, 1985

Game 1 on the 1985 NBA Finals will always be remembered as the “Memorial Day Massacre.” It earned the title after the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 148-114.

Boston would set records for points in a half (79) and a game (148). Although the Celtics would dominate game one, it would be the Lakers who would get the last laugh winning the series 4-2.

May 26, 1986

Game one of the 1986 NBA Finals would mark the last time a NBA Finals game would be played on Memorial Day. The 1986 Finals would be a matchup of the Houston Rockets versus the Boston Celtics. The Celtics would win game one 112-100 behind Robert Parrish’s 23 points. The Celtics would win the series 4-2 and Larry Bird would be named MVP.

May 27, 1991

Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls had not been able to get by the Detroit Pistons. The “Bad Boys” had eliminated the Bulls in the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals, as well as the 1989 and 1990 Eastern Conference Finals. In 1991 it was the Bulls time to push through. Jordan would score 29 points to lead the Bulls to a 115-94 win and a series sweep of the Pistons. Chicago would go on to win the 1991 NBA Championship.

May 31, 1993

The Chicago Bulls had fallen behind 2-0 to the New York Knicks in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals. On Memorial Day 1993 the Bulls would tie the series up 2-2. The Bulls would beat the Knicks 105-95 behind 54 points from Michael Jordan.

The Bulls would go on to win the series 4-2 on their way to their third straight NBA Championship.

May 27, 1996

Michael Jordan had returned to the NBA the year, but the Orlando Magic defeated the Chicago Bulls in the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals 4-2. In 1996 the Bulls were the better team, having won a NBA record 72 games. The Bulls would complete the sweep of the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals on Memorial Day with a 106-101 victory led by Michael Jordan's 45 points.

Not only would this win put the Bulls back into NBA Finals for the first time since Jordan's return, it would also be the final game in an Orlando uniform for Shaquille O'Neal.

May 31, 1999

For fans of the San Antonio Spurs Sean Elliot and Memorial Day will always be linked.

In 1999 the Spurs and Portland Trialblazers faced off in the Western Conference Finals. Game two was on Memorial Day and the Blazers appeared to be on their way to evening the series up at 1-1. They led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter. The Spurs would come back and find themselves down two points with 12 seconds left. That is when Elliot caught an inbounds pass in the corner and would hit a three pointer to give the Spurs the lead 86-85.

The Spurs would sweep the Blazers and go on to win the NBA Championship over the New York Knicks.

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