During the 1983-84 NBA season, two of the game’s biggest stars, New York’s Bernard King and Detroit’s Isiah Thomas, had no idea that come playoff time, they were destined for history in one of the league's all time great playoff duels. During the regular season, King was out to prove that he was the game’s most lethal offensive weapon. He averaged more than 26 ppg, scoring 50 in back-to-back games, and became one of the few players to ever eclipse the 60-point mark. Isiah Thomas was building his legacy as a Hall of Fame point guard averaging 20 points and 11 assists. Their two squads met in a 1st round playoff series. Despite King being unconscious in the first four games, averaging more than 42 points, Isiah and the Pistons had the series tied at two games a piece.
In a critical and decisive Game 5, Bernard King was his usual unstoppable self putting up 40 points as the Knicks held a double-digit lead with under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Then Thomas decided to take things into his own hands by putting on a performance of epic proportions, tallying 16 points within the game’s final 94 seconds, to force overtime. King and Thomas exchanged offensive blows like a heavyweight title fight, with King getting the final blow by jamming an offensive put-back in the games final moments, giving him a game high 46 points and the Knicks a 3-2 series win. King showed a national audience that he would become one of the game’s most prolific scoring machines before injuries robbed him of his explosiveness. Game 5 was also arguably the moment that put a young “Zeke” on par with the NBA’s elite.
Classic Shootout: Isiah vs Bernard King 1984: