NBA basketball is probably the most exciting professional sport that there is to watch. But what makes the sport so vigorously exciting? The end to end, quick scoring games? The massive dunks or blocks? The rival tension between teams? These are all exciting, but the one thing that tops this is the shot clock.
The shot clock is the time remaining in the game. In some instances, the game can be very close, 1/2/3 points between the two teams, where there is only a single second for a team to make a final shot to tie or win the game. This is what makes basketball so exciting.
Through the past decade of NBA basketball, there has been a plethora of exhilarating game-winning buzzer-beaters. So here on Carbon, I have got together a series of the best buzzer-beater moments that are a must-watch.
Kawhi Leonard NBA semi-Finals game 7
During the 2019 Eastern conference semifinals, the Toronto Raptors took on the Philadelphia 76ers. It was a tight game all the way through, and towards the end of the game, it was 90-90, with only a few seconds left on the board. It was in Toronto’s possession, and with only a few seconds Toronto’s star player, Kawhi, took a jump shot to win the game 92-90. Toronto Raptors then went on the win the Championship that season, beating the Golden State Warriors 4-2 in the series.
The best thing about the jump shot was how it went in – watch as the ball bounces 4 times around the rim before it actually goes in! This made it all the more suspenseful, and the gasp of the crowd waiting for it to go in makes it all the more exciting.
Damien Lillard NBA playoffs vs Huston Rockets
Back in 2014, Damien Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers took on the Huston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. Towards the end of the game, the Rockets were winning 98-96, and with a few seconds left on the clock, Portland had to pull something out of the bag.
Damien Lillard stepped up to the plate. He ran around a screen and got free from his defender, and with the last few seconds of the game, he sunk a deep three-pointer to win the game. This buzzer-beater won the game 99-98 for the Trailblazers and meant that it was Portland’s first time in the second round of the NBA Playoffs in 14 years.
Russell Westbrook vs Denver Nuggets game-winner
Russell Westbrook buried a 35 ft jump-shot to win the game for the OKC Thunder. In the 2017 playoffs, OKC were 10 points behind in the final quarter of the game. But, sheer determination and willpower from the OKC team and specifically Russell Westbrook brought the game back for them.
When Russell hit this shot, it tipped him over the 50 point mark for this game. OKC were down to Denver 103-105. In the final seconds, Steve Adams threw a short pass to Russell, who knocked down the buzzer beater three to win the game 106-105. The most impressive part about this was the unbelievable comeback, and Russell Westbrook’s even more impressive 50 point, Triple Double game.
Jeremy Lamb vs Toronto Raptors
Now, this shot is probably the craziest shot in the past decade. Jeremy Lamb hit a half-court buzzer-beater for the Charlotte Hornets.
The Charlotte Hornets beat the Toronto Raptors in 2019, 115-114 thanks to an incredible game-winning shot from guard Jeremy Lamb. The funny thing about it is he was inbounded the ball at half court, and fumbled it straight away, making him loose ground, back towards the middle of the court.
And with only a few seconds left on the clock, it seemed as if there was no chance of them winning the game, but Jeremy had other ideas. He launched the ball from half-court, and to everyone’s surprise, it went in. Jeremy’s half-court bucket meant that the Hornets won the game 115-114 with one of the craziest NBA shots ever.
Lebron James vs Minnesota Timberwolves
How could I have an NBA list without including the GOAT, Lebron James?
This entire sequence of plays is fantastic, ending with a fantastic fading buzzer-beater from Lebron, to win the game for the Cavaliers.
In a tight game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Minnesota Timberwolves, the game was tied in overtime, 138-138. The sequence of plays that took place after this was fantastic. He blocked Jimmy Butler’s shot with one second left and the Cavs had the ball out of bounds (after a timeout) on their own end.
Jeff Green threw it all the way down to James at the foul line, who turned and faded over Butler to drain the game-winner.
Now watch the clip to see why Lebron is the best basketball player of all time.
Written By Jacob Adatia.