The Duel: Nique vs Bird

Dominique Wilkins vs Larry Bird

There's nothing as beautiful during the game of basketball as when we get to see a superstar "in the zone." Situations in which it seems as if the basket has suddenly grown and there's nothing the opposing defense can do to stop the opposing player.

Rarely in basketball history, do we get a duel of epic proportions in which two players are just flat out on fire from the field. But in 1988, the basketball gods smiled down at the show that was on display in the Boston Garden. 

Let's set the scene first. It's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks. With 10:26 left to play in the game, the score was all tied up at 86-86. 

That's when Boston Celtics star Larry Bird and Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins decided to give us one of the best All-Time playoff performances in NBA History. 

It's one of the most exciting parts of the game of basketball. A situation in which today, you would immediately contact everyone you know and say "are you watching this?!" Bird and Wilkins would continue to exchange blows, and everyone sat back and smiled as they were watching some of the best basketball put on display in front of their own eyes. 

Larry Bird would go on to score 20 of his 34 points in the 4th quarter. Wilkins, who was flat out brilliant in this game, would finish the game with a game-high 47 points on 19 of 33 shooting. Bird and the Celtics would get the last laugh, as they went on to win the deciding Game 7 with a final score of 118-116. Below you can see the box scores from the two superstars, and enjoy the quick clip of one of the best performances in NBA history. 

One of the best parts about this game is the fact that everyone overlooks Kevin McHale's performance in this one. Almost an afterthought, McHale would finish with 33 points (10/14 FG), 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks. 
 
MIN
PTS
REB
AST
FG
3P
FT
TO
Larry Bird

47

34

4

6

15/24

1/3

3/3

4

Dominique Wilkins

43

47

5

3

19/33

1/2

8/9

0

If you have some time to spare, the wonderful world of youtube has provided us with a full 4th quarter coverage of the legendary performance below.

Video via Foranzo Productions