Top 5 NBA Playoff Buzzer Beaters of the last decade
What is the difference between the NBA Playoffs and the regular season? It’s the intensity of the game and everything that hangs in the balance with it. In such an atmosphere a game winning buzzer beater would either silence the crowd or make them bonkers, depending on where the game is being played and a player of which team shot the game winning buzzer beater.
That being said, game winners are one of the hardest thing to deal with especially for the team that just got dealt the loss. On the flip side, it takes a lot of courage and self-confidence for a player to shoot the game winner. Last weekend, three Playoff buzzer beaters in the span of the three days lifted the excitement level of the 2015 NBA Playoffs. Watch it here.
Sticking to buzzer beaters, we are going to track down the 5 best game winning buzzer beaters in the last decade of NBA Playoff basketball. The criteria for the ranking is simple and straight forward: Shot difficulty, time remaining on the shot clock and defense on the player. Here they are:
5. Kobe Bryant against the Phoenix Suns (Game 4 West First Round 2006)
After one season of hiatus from the Playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers were back in the post-season in 2006 but this time they were without their 3 time NBA Finals MVP center Shaquille O’Neal. The roster was a much younger and inexperienced one but there was one constant-Kobe Bryant.
They entered the Playoffs as underdogs in the seventh position and were set to face the Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns in the first round. However to everyone’s surprise through three games, they were leading the series 2-1. The Lakers fought hard and eventually won the game in overtime but eventually lost the next three games and the series 4-3.
Anyhow Game 4 of this series was a preview of the great things this Laker team was capable of in the coming years under Bryant. With his team trailing in regulation 90-88, Bryant was given the ball of a steal and he put in a one handed floater. He followed it up with a game winner over Raja Bell after Luke Walton had won the tip off of a jumpball with Steve Nash. Here’s the game winner:
4. Glen Davis against the Orlando Magic (Game 4 ECSF 2009)
Heading into the 2009 NBA Playoffs, Boston Celtics were the defending champions courtesy of their Big 3 of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett coming together and helping the franchise win the title after 21 years in 2008.
Having said that, the C’s were entering the post-season without Garnett who was suffering from a bad knee. They just about managed to get past the Chicago Bulls by defeating them in 7 games but found it hard against big man Dwight Howad and his Orlando Magic. Although, Boston eventually lost the series in 6 games yet they would not have got that far if it wasn’t for Glen Davis, Garnett’s replacement.
In Game 4, with the ball in their hands for the last possession the Celtics needed to win or trail the Magic 3-1. On a screen and roll, Pierce passes the ball to Davis who knocks down the shot as the shot clock expires. Watch the buzzer-beater here: