Comebacks make for exciting basketball and there have been a lot of great comeback victories this season. What's even more exciting is watching a basketball player play out of his mind for a game, a quarter, or even 33 seconds. On this day 13 years ago, history was made at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
On 9 December 2004, the San Antonio Spurs faced off against the Houston Rockets in the most exciting game of the season. The game featured superstars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady on the Rockets and NBA champions Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on the Spurs.
The game looked to be over with the Spurs leading 76-68 with only 44.2 seconds left to go. But then a miraculous event occurred. McGrady brought the ball down the court and got a screen from a teammate to leave him open for a three.
With no other options but to foul for the Rockets, the Spurs were going to have to make up points at the foul line. Again, McGrady brought the ball down the court and pulled the same play as the last one.
This time the defense knew and covered him. McGrady still pulled up for a jumper at the three-point line and sank it despite being fouled. He converted on the and-one free throw opportunity.
With two more free throws by the Spurs, the score was 80-75. The Rockets were struggling to come back against the defensive-minded Spurs, who were just looking to close out the game.
But McGrady wasn't going to leave this game without a fight, and he was on fire. With 16.2 seconds left on the clock, McGrady struggled to get open, but he still managed to get the ball and shoot the contested shot. Almost magically, the ball went in once again.
Up 80-78, the Spurs had possession and all they had to do was hold the ball for the win, but McGrady still gave everything he had out there. He managed to get the steal, run all the way across the court and pull up for another three-pointer, which went in. The Rockets took the lead with only 1.7 seconds left on the clock, and they took the 81-80 win.
In a 33-second span that led to one of the most unlikely outcomes of a match in NBA history, McGrady shot 4-for-4 from beyond the arc in addition to recording one steal and one free throw to put the game away. He finished the game with 33 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and five steals to help the Rockets upset the Spurs.