There is only one thing that signifies two parallel emotions while a buzzer-beater drops in, one half being dismay, while the other is exultation. The game might have changed over the past few years, but there is no greater adrenaline rush than to see a basketball hoop into the net as the clock times out.
With the NBA 2020-21 Season heading into the business end, the fanatics are all geared up to witness some adrenaline rushing moments yet again in the knockout stage. Celebrating the platinum playoff season of the NBA, let us look at the NBA Top 5 Buzzer-Beater of All Time-
NBA Top 5 Buzzer Beater of All-Time
5. Vince Carter (Dallas Mavericks vs San Antonio Spurs, 2014)
It was Dallas Mavericks facing top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the 2013-14 season first round of playoffs. Mavericks were trailing 106-108 with 1.7 seconds remaining on the clock. Jose Calderon passed the ball to Vince Carter and Spurs defender Manu Ginobili did his best to push the player towards the edge.
Just when Carter looked all done and dusted, he released the ball in the air, while he kept on slipping on his heels. Just when Dallas Mavericks’ fans lost hope, Carter’s shot went inside the bucket, giving the hosts a 1-point victory.
4. Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets, 2014)
It was Game 6 of the First Round of the Playoff between Trail Blazers and Rockets. With less than a second remaining, the home team required a 3-pointer to seal the game and qualify for the semi-finals of the playoff after 14 years.
This is regarded as the moment which saw the rise of Damian Lillard as no Houston Rockets player saw him as the clear threat, they surrounded the big guns. With Lillard taking in the pass, his shot was swift as possible, breaking the 14-year jinx for the Trail Blazers.
3. Damian Lillard Oklahoma City Thunder (Portland Trail Blazers vs Oklahoma City Thunder, 2019)
This is the most cold-hearted moment in the NBA Top 5 Buzzer-Beater list with Damian Lillard coming into the charts yet again. In 2019, Oklahoma City Thunder were completely outplayed by Damian Lillard-led Portland Trail Blazers 1-3.
With Portland getting a chance to seize the game in Game 5, he took a 37-foot-long buzzer-beater over Paul George. Not only was it one of the longest buzzer beater ever in the history of the NBA, but Lillard even did a ‘See-Ya-Later’ wave to OKC fans.
2. Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls vs Cleveland Cavaliers, 1989)
The shot helped Michael Jordan lead his Chicago Bulls side into the Eastern Conference semi-finals against Cleveland Cavaliers. With only 3 seconds remaining on the clock, the Cavaliers were up by 1 point and they did not take a chance until he reached the free-throw line, where defender Craig Ehlo jumped passed him.
Jordan released the ball from his hands after hanging in the air to register that particular shot as the 2nd best in NBA Top 5 Buzzer Beaters of all time.
1. Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers, 2019)
This buzzer-beater only ranks on the top of the NBA Top 5 Buzzer Beaters of All-time because of the suspense it created. The newly faced Toronto Raptors were led by Kawhi Leonard and were pitted against the resilient Philadelphia 76ers compromising of Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
In Game 7, Leonard chose his momentum perfectly to register himself in the history book. Kawhi Leonard dribbled into space which seemed like a dead end with Simmons and Embiid guarding him. His shot bounced off the rim 4-times before actually going in, taking the Raptors through to the 2018-19 NBA Finals.