Flashback Friday: Half Court Buzzer Beaters in the 4th Quarter: There are plenty of exciting ways for basketball games to end. Whether it be on a three, a lay-up, or big defensive play. You never know what’s going to happen before it happens. That’s what makes sports so great.
In the instances below, I’ll be reminiscing about half-court game winners made by several players over the years. Let’s have some fun in this week’s Flashback Friday edition.
Matt Barnes Beats Detroit
The first shot here will be Matt Barnes’. With the Grizzlies trailing Detroit by 2 with 13 seconds left in the game, they came away with several stops. Detroit missed their initial shot, and two tip-ins which followed. And so, one possession game, Memphis went to work.
Barnes grabbed the rebound, and then dribbled it up the floor. With four seconds still on the game clock, he fired off a leaner from the center circle. And wouldn’t you know, the reaction of any Memphis fans quickly went from “OMG NOOOOO”, to “WOW. WOW. WOW!!!” The shot is not a big part of Barnes game, but on this night, it was.
He had only five points before sinking this one. He grabbed 11 rebounds for the game, and was likely only in for his defense. And yet, he had the biggest moment of any player that night. It was also impressive that they were able to win on the road after trailing by seven points entering the fourth.
Take a bow, Matt Barnes. Heck of a shot. Heck of a moment.
Tyreke Evans Gets Last Laugh
The game between the Kings and Grizzlies on December 9, 2010, was one to remember. The Kings led by one with 5.5 seconds left. OJ Mayo got the inbounds pass for Memphis, and then proceeded to hit a ridiculous 20-footer off one foot with just 1.5 seconds left. The Kings were out of timeouts at this point, too.
DeMarcus Cousins threw it in to Tyreke Evans, who took one dribble and just let it fly. And the shot would, after hanging in the air forever, drop in. Evans game the Kings their sixth win in 29 games, during what was a horrible start to the year. They allowed Zach Randolph to finish with 35 points and 17 rebounds. Mayo had been just 2-9 before his wild jumper fell through.
But, Tyreke had the last laugh. He lifted the Kings to a win in a game where they trailed by 35 in the third quarter the year prior. And then, there was this. An incredible buzzer beater to lift the Kings to a wild 4th quarter comeback.
Devin Harris With the Bobble and Bucket
The date was February 23, 2009. The Nets and 76ers were tied with 1.8 seconds remaining, the Nets being out of timeouts. Andre Iguodala had just missed the first foul shot, but proceeded to make the next. Down by one, New Jersey was going to need a miracle. Devin Harris to the rescue.
Harris already had 36 points and eight assists in 41 minutes of action. It was one of his best games as a pro. And then, he took the inbounds pass and went as quickly as he could. He initially bobbled the ball, but recovered in time to shoot it with about 0.2 on the clock (see photo below). The Nets defeated their rivals, and Harris just did the unthinkable.
I was watching this live, and have friends who were at the game. None of them could believe it. One of them actually got tickets for less than $10, so basically, it was the best money he ever spent. What a shot. What a night. Devin Harris let Philly know what he was all about.
Lowry with the Playoff Miracle
There is absolutely no question that the best was saved for list. Kyle Lowry’s half-court shot in game one of the second round of the 2015 playoffs was something out of a fairytale. Except, this might have been even more exciting than what happened in Cinderella, or Snow White.
Toronto trailed by three with just three seconds left in the game. Lowry was shooting just 2-11 from the floor that night. And then, it happened. He got the inbounds pass after Hassan Whiteside hit his second free throw, dribbled to half-court, and let the prayer fly. Ian Eagle was shocked as he called the shot going in, and Raptors fans were going crazy. The scene in Jurassic Park was probably even crazier.
So, Lowry was 2-11 from the floor and saved his team from going down 0-1 in the playoffs by making the shot. Unfortunately, this sent the game to overtime. No winner had been declared yet. Dwyane Wade (7 pts), outscored the Raptors (6) by himself in the extra session, guiding Miami to an impressive road win.
The Raptors would get the last laugh, winning the series in seven games. But still. I remember being utterly shocked and in complete awe when Lowry made that shot. It was one of the best games I’ve seen in my 20+ years as a basketball fan. If it had been a game-winner, it might be a historically great shot, talked about with all the other playoff winners.
Thank You for Reading
Well, you’ve made it to the end! Thank you for reading. I’ve been enjoying putting these Flashback Friday pieces together in recent weeks, as a nice form reminiscing.
I hope that the nostalgia you were craving could be met by reading this. Plenty more to come. I’m just getting started.