Each NBA team’s most clutch player of all-time

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images /
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Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

In the NBA not all points are created equal. Perhaps mathematically two points scored at the beginning of a game are the same as two points scored at the end, but basketball is not purely a game of math. It’s a game of emotion, of narrative, of players rising to meet the pressure of a clutch moment.

Kids do not count out the seconds in their head of a second-quarter possession before launching a ball of paper towards their wastebasket. Growing up we instead placed ourselves at the very end of a game, when the stakes were higher and the pressure unbearable. How we performed in those moments would make us the talk of the town, one way or another. 3…2…1…

We remember NBA players, rightly or wrongly, for how they performed at the end of games. The all-time greats were dominant all the time, but they didn’t shy away from the biggest moments. In addition, other players, ones who may not have been the stars on their teams, made a name for themselves by performing in a huge moment.

While some teams have had more high-pressure moments than others, each has a long history of players thriving or wilting when the chips were down. Who are the players who have been the best in the clutch for each franchise? And what moment defines their clutch play the most?