The 12 most thrilling buzzer beaters of all time
It's those come-from-behind wins, the jump-out-of-your-seat moments and the crazy, improbable shots that make us live for basketball. This past weekend, fans witnessed one of those moments as George Mason pulled off an unlikely victory thanks to Jalen Jenkins’ insane 75-foot shot. Jenkins’ feat has us rounding up some of the most incredible buzzer beaters in basketball history.
George Mason was trailing by one when Manhattan’s Shane Richards went to the line to shoot a pair of free throws. Richards made the first free one, but after missing the second, George Mason’s Jalen Jenkins rebounded the ball and sank a game-winning 3-pointer from 75 yards away.
A game-winning 3-pointer is impressive enough as it is, but a game-winning 3-pointer from the left baseline made while falling out of bounds? We’ll never understand how the Washington Bullets’ Jeff Malone managed it.
The New York Knicks and the Charlotte Bobcats were tied at 109 in double overtime with 0.1 seconds left. It's almost 99.9 percent sure that they’re going into triple overtime, but somehow the Knicks’ David Lee tipped in an inbounds pass from Jamal Crawford to win the game.
Tracy McGrady needed only 35 seconds to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in NBA history. Thousands of fans had already left when T-Mac scored 13 points against the San Antonio Spurs in the final moments, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to give the Houston Rockets the 81-80 win. I hope beating traffic was worth it, fair-weather fans (it wasn't).
Dayton Christian High School’s Casey Weber made headlines in 2009 when he launched a 90-foot game-winning shot during the Ohio Sectional Finals. For reference, a basketball court is 94 feet long.
Fans exited The Palace as the Denver Nuggets, with a 3-point lead over the Detroit Pistons, prepared to inbound the ball with 1.5 seconds remaining. But the ball ended up in the hands of Rasheed Wallace, who sank a 60-foot buzzer beater to force the game into overtime.
In a 2009 game between New Jersey and Philadelphia, the Nets’ Devin Harris caught an inbounds pass, almost lost the ball after bumping into the 76ers’ Andre Iguodala, caught the ball again, and heaved a game-winning midcourt shot. All in under 1.8 seconds.
Robert Horry was one of the greatest clutch performers ever, and his biggest moment came in Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals against the Sacramento Kings. After Kobe missed a layup, eight players fought for the rebound. The Kings’ Vlade Divac eventually knocked the ball away…directly toward Big Shot Horry. Game over.
This 2013 game between New Rochelle and Mount Vernon ended in one of the wildest and most bizarre finishes in recent memory, with both teams celebrating victories before referees announced that New Rochelle senior Khalil Edney’s 55-foot shot was good.
In Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals, the Utah Jazz’s John Stockton scored 15 points in the fourth quarter against the Rockets, including a 3-pointer over Charles Barkley to take the Jazz to their first NBA Finals appearance. Reports indicated that Barkley thought it was "turrible."
The Spurs were already celebrating after Tim Duncan's shot put them ahead of the Lakers with 0.4 seconds to go in the 2004 Western Conference semifinals. But in less than 0.4 seconds, Derek Fisher caught an inbounds pass and hit a turnaround jumper to give the Lakers the Game 5 win in one of the most memorable postseason buzzer beaters.
The Shot. Enough said.