There’s never a shortage of thrills in the NBA. Oftentimes, teams push each other to the wire, battling back and forth to steal the win in the final few seconds. Over the years, there have been some amazing buzzer-beater shots that have sealed the victory.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at ten incredible NBA moments when it came down to the final shot. We’ll also get a look into NBA odds of various teams over the years and find out if they are worth a bet or not…
1. Kobe Bryant, 2006
Let’s begin with one of the all-time greats of the sport. Kobe Bryant was one of the best clutch players to ever grace a basketball court. Back in 2006, the LA Lakers trailed 98-97 to the Phoenix Suns with 6.1 seconds to go in Game 4 of the first round of the playoffs.
Bryant dribbled towards the rim, pulled up at the right elbow and scored to give the Lakers the win.
2. Derek Fisher, 2004
Sticking with the Lakers, another incredible match-winner came in the 2004 second-round playoff tie with the San Antonio Spurs. After Tim Duncan had given the Spurs the lead, Fisher, with just 0.4 seconds to go, got off a shot to steal a last-gasp win.
3. John Stockton, 1997
Back in 1997, John Stockton sealed the Utah Jazz’s place in their first ever NBA Finals with a buzzer-beater against the Houston Rockets. In Game 6, with the Jazz 3-2 up overall, they took possession of the ball with 2.8 seconds to go, and the scores locked at 100-100.
Stockton faked a three-pointer, sending Charles Barkley scrambling, and sank the clutch shot to win the game.
4. Gar Heard, 1976
This late winner came in a game that’s been described as the best ever. Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals had the Phoenix Suns facing off against the Boston Celtics. It went to three periods of overtime, and in the last second of the second period, Gar Heard saved the Suns.
After the Celtics took the lead, triggering a court-storming, the Suns took a timeout. They inbounded to Heard who hit a 20-foot jumper to send it into a third overtime.
5. Michael Jordan, 1989
During the 1989 playoffs, the Cavaliers were sent home by the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan in gut-wrenching fashion.
With three seconds to go, the Cavaliers took a 100-99 lead. Jordan took the ball, danced his way through two players and sank the shot to give the Bulls a 101-100 victory.
6. LeBron James, 2009
In 2009, LeBron won the first of his four MVP awards, and it was due to moments like this. In the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron’s Cavaliers trailed the Orlando Magic 95-93 with one second to go.
LeBron took an inbound pass, turned and shot to give the Cavs the game with a final score of 96-95.
7. Damian Lillard, 2014
In the 2014 playoffs, Damian Lillard ended a barren spell for Portland with an incredible three-pointer with just 0.9 seconds to go. With the Trail Blazers down two points to the Houston Rockets, Lillard, in typical fashion, ducked and rolled the screen and hit a long, looping shot to win the game.
8. Robert Horry, 2002
Robert Horry saved the LA Lakers’ season in 2002. With the Lakers down two against the Sacramento Kings in the Western Conference Finals, Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal both missed big chances, before the ball fell to Horry. Not known for long shots, he tried a three-pointer to give the Lakers a 100-99 win.
They went on to win their third straight NBA title.
9. Ralph Samson, 1986
In the 1986 Western Conference Finals, Ralph Sampson scored a mind-blowing buzzer-beater. With the scores locked at 112-112, the Rockets had the ball, and the Lakers were well set in their defence. Sampson charged forward and twisted his body in the air to evade Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The ball went in, and the Rockets won.
10. Jerry West, 1970
In Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals, LA Lakers hero Jerry West scored arguably the most incredible buzzer-beater of all time. The New York Knicks managed to pull ahead by two points with a mere three seconds to go on the clock.
The Lakers didn’t take a timeout. They gave the ball to Jerry West who looped a shot from the half-court to send the game into overtime.