5 stars who pulled a vanishing act in the NBA playoffs

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

September 16th, 2020

NBA playoffs series are best-of-seven affairs. They last up to four rounds, and each round features progressively better super-athletes being paid millions to stop you from getting a round object into a slightly larger hole elevated 10-feet off the ground. Scoring points consistently every night for these games can be a struggle, and occasionally even the best players in the game succumb to the pressure of the moment and leave their teams in the lurch.

Join us now as we look back at five stars who pulled a vanishing act in the NBA playoffs

LeBron James (2017 Eastern Conference Finals)

LeBron James is the best player of his generation and arguably the greatest of all time, but if there is one team that has given him trouble throughout his career it has been the Boston Celtics. In Game 3 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron struggled mightily, putting up a stat-line of just 11 points, six rebounds, six assists, and six turnovers on 4-13 shooting. He's redeemed himself since, but that performance was one he would surely like to forget.

Ray Allen (2010 NBA Finals)

Ray Allen is without a doubt one of the most prolific and accurate shooters in the history of the NBA, but in Game 3 of the 2010 NBA Finals, Allen went cold. Scoring just two points total and going 0-13 on field goals (including 0-8 from three), Allen failed to make a single shot from the floor en route to a loss.

Reggie Miller (2000 NBA Finals)

Another of the most prolific outside shooters in NBA history, Reggie Miller made his debut in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001 after years of playing second fiddle to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. While Miller undoubtedly had high hopes for his debut, he completely disappeared under the spotlight, putting up just seven points and four assists on 1-16 shooting from the field. While Miller bounced back to play competitively for the rest of the series, the Lakers ended up winning 4-2 after an easy head start to the series.

Chris Paul (First Round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs)

In a pivotal Game 4 that ended up being the most decisive loss in NBA playoff history, the Chris Paul-led Hornets got absolutely blown out by wine-partner and longtime friend, Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets won the game 121-63, and went on a couple nights later to finish off the series. In the demoralizing Game 4 loss, Paul had just four points and six assists. Considering Paul had sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic and big man David West accompanying him, there really is no excuse for a loss of this magnitude.

John Starks (1994 NBA Finals)

Life is hard as a Knicks fan. Despite all the advantages that come with a storied history in the nation’s largest market, they haven’t won a title since 1973. In 1994, they reached Game 7 of the NBA Finals with a chance to find glory, and their star guard, John Starks, proceeded to go 2-18 with just two rebounds, two assists, and miss all 11 of his three-point shots. They say it’s better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all, but the pain of this performance might have Knicks fans questioning the truthfulness of that cliche.