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It's basketball season right? So, what's more exciting than seeing the clock race down while players scramble to score like some poor sap trying to scurry to a mailbox because he forgot to file his taxes before April 15th? Buzzer beaters.
There's nothing more exhilarating than watching people put balls in holes, and even more-so when there's a short amount of time to do so. So here we have an article that's all about those baskets being filled while the timer works against the athletic super-humans from various eras, each aiming to make it happen or die trying. Behold, 8 astounding NBA buzzer beaters you have to see.
Michael Jordan Makes Ehlo Look Like An AmateurTime is running out, the score hangs in the balance; glory is seconds away, failure is even closer. Michael Jordan comes in off a hot pass during this 1989 game between the Bulls and the Cavs. Jordan comes barreling up to half-court to capture the quick pass, as he takes what little time he has left – two very unforgiving seconds, to be exact – he puts the ball in his hands on a rocket ship to fame, sending that inflated sphere soaring through the air and into the net just as time runs out. It happens so fast that the video has to walk us through exactly what happened. It makes you appreciate the skill involved to pull off such an amazing athletic feat.
Never Underestimate Lebron JamesHumiliating. Absolutely humiliating. Everything you need to see happens in the first few seconds of the video above. We get it. But before talking about the victory shenanigans, let's sit on a skateboard and paddle backward to setup exactly what happened: The Heat are just one down against the Warriors and Lebron James gets a handle on the ball, with so very little time on the clock that there is no shot clock. Serious business, folks. For some reason, the Warriors decide to only guard Lebron with one dude, as if this guy was an odd man out, or the unlucky chap who showed up to school without pants on. The only difference is that he would have suffered a lesser humiliation arriving at school with no pants. Lebron shoots on him, leaving the Warriors with only a tenth of a second on the clock. Worse yet, the Warriors tip the ball in and it gets blocked instantly. Fail.
James Harden Pulls Out Some ShenanigansMost of the buzzer beaters on this list are pretty straightforward: Time is running out, one team wants to nail a win and the other one wants to keep their lead. That's pretty simple, yeah? Well, Harden mixes things up because that's apparently how he rolls. As his team is getting ready to inbound the ball, Harden gets fouled and is awarded a single free throw. He makes it, then takes a pass from Jeremy Lin and nails the buzzer beater. The unorthodox method is slightly more interesting than the buzzer-beater itself. Hey, there was no promise that every entry on this list was going to be a stereotypical buzzer-beating win. Some of these guys like rattling cages like a toddler in a bird store.
Dirk Nowitzki Gets The Crowd Up And DownThis video is hilarious. The build up. The uncertainty. The finish. The crowd. I mean... did you hear that response? Dat crowd at 0:18. The Dallas Mavericks are tied in the fourth. The clock is running down. Dirk has the ball but can't get past Carmelo Anthony, and despite a very sturdy defense, Nowitzki's more-luck-than-skill shot manages to land the Mavericks a win over the Knicks. It looks as if it was all part of the plan, in which case, I should mention, it was not part of the plan. The crowd's reaction definitely sums up the shock and awe of how this one ended, but I'm sure Mavericks were jumping out of their seats after seeing that one pop up and bounce down through the hoop like some sort of lost bird forgetting where it was flying before taking a dive back to its nest.
Kobe Devours The Soul Of The TrailblazersThere's nothing more soul-crushing than losing when you don't see it coming. An inbounds play with five seconds to go? That's common enough. You understand that you gave it your all but you just came up short of the brass ring. In the case of the LA Lakers taking on the Portland Trailblazers, the game was a heated one that went all the way into double overtime. The crowd was desperately chanting “Beat LA! Beat LA!” as if their first-born child depended on it. The Lakers had the play with only one second left on the clock, but the fan optimism quickly came to an end when Kobe Bryant worked his lost-angels magic and put the ball through the hoop as if he knew all the first-born children of the crowd depended on it. The commentary team reacts well to the results, exhibiting the kind of exuberance one would expect from a fan sitting on the edge of their seat. Well played, Kobe.
Hornets Bring It Home With A Fantastic FinishOh now this is a hell of a game. The Hornets were battling the Boston Celtics in an evenly matched slugfest. Back and forth the two teams went. The final minute or so was epic, and it concluded with Alonzo Mourning's two just inside the line. Everyone pushed forward on the court like they'd just won teh Super Bowl. The build up and finish is what sells the whole thing and the reaction is just priceless. It's the sort of buzzer beater that spring Hollywood blockbusters are made of. Now the only thing they need to do is find a way get Shia Labeouf in that Hornet's mascot costume and they've got an instant winner on their hands.
Robert Horry Recovers A Fumble, Destroys DreamsThis was the time of the Sacramento Kings. This was their hour. Their season. Their playoff to lose. Well, someone must have thrown salt over the wrong shoulder the night before, because everything came down to a shot that Kobe couldn't quite deliver on and no one inside the line – including Shaquille O'Neal – could recover Bryant's fumble... save for a lone Laker that everyone forgot about, Robert Horry, also known as Big Shot Rob. With less than a second on the clock and a wasteland of hardwood floor surrounding him, Horry dug deep and used the will of future broken promises and nightmares waiting and willing to haunt all the youth of Sacramento, to deliver a deafening three-pointer before the clock ran out, officially making him “The Destroyer of Dreams”.
Tyreke Evans Does The ImpossibleAs a way to reclaim some sense of honor from that last entry that the Kings suffered at the hands of Horry, this entry is nothing short of historical. Down by one. 1.5 seconds left on the clock. This is the kind of situation for which history is made and legends are born. Names are echoed throughout the hall of fame chamber and highlight reels are composed of what Tyreke Evans manages to accomplish in the fourth quarter that had everyone on their feet. The clip above sets up the tension perfectly and any embarrassment you may have felt for the Sacramento Kings against the Lakers is quickly absolved thanks to a half-court buzzer beater by Evans, sending shockwaves through the stadium and everyone screaming in excitement. This is the epitome of a buzzer beater.