A buzzer beater is where a basketball player shoots the ball right before the buzzer sounds. Buzzer beaters can be taken before the end of a quarter or before the shot clock expires.
Notable Buzzer Beaters
- In Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals, after Dave DeBusschere hit a midrange jump shot with three seconds left to put the New York Knicks ahead 102–100, and the Los Angeles Lakers had no time-outs left. Wilt Chamberlain inbounded the ball to Jerry West, who raced past Walt Frazier and threw up a 60-foot shot. Frazier later commented: "The man's crazy. He looks determined. He thinks it's really going in!" West incredibly connected, and this basket was later called one of the greatest moments ever by the NBA. As the three-point line had not been introduced yet, the shot just tied the game. In overtime, West however sprained his left hand and missed all his five shots, and the Knicks won by three.
- In Game 5 of the 1986 Western Conference Finals with one second left on the clock, and the score tied at 112 Ralph Sampson, of the Houston Rockets, catches an inbounds pass and bounces in a twisting turnaround jumper that sailed through the hoop at the buzzer to beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 114-112, at Los Angeles advancing them to the 1986 NBA Finals.
- In the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics faced the Detroit Pistons. In Game 5 of the series, Dennis Johnson was involved in a crucial play: down by one point, Larry Bird stole an inbounds pass by Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas with six seconds left and passed it to a sprinting Johnson, who converted a difficult layup as time expired. This play caused Celtics broadcaster Johnny Most to shout out one of his most famous quotes: “Now there's a steal by Bird! Underneath to DJ who lays it in!!...Right at one second left! What a play by Bird!! Bird stole the inbounding pass, laid it up to DJ, and DJ laid it up and in, and Boston has a one-point lead with one second left! Oh, my, this place is going crazy!!!.
- On May 7, 1989, Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls received an inbounds pass with three seconds left in the game. Jordan sprinted to the top of the key with defenders hounding him, and launched a last-second shot over Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers to make it and win the game. The Bulls won 101-100.
- In Game 6 1993 NBA Finals (June 20) with the Bulls down by 2 points to the Phoenix Suns(98-96) after inbounding with 14.1 seconds left, the Bulls after a few passes passed the ball to Horace Grant who passed to the open John Paxson (shooting at 5 second left) giving the Suns the ball with 3.9 seconds left. Grant then when on to block Kevin Johnson winning the Game and the finals. This was the only three-point shot to win an NBA championship.
- In Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Western Conference Finals, John Stockton of the Utah Jazz made a three point shot as time ran out, lifting his Jazz over the Houston Rockets 103-100 and taking the series 4-2.
- In Game 4 of the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers were losing to the Sacramento Kings by 2 points with the score at 99–97 with 11 seconds left in the ball game. The Lakers were trailing two games to one in the series and faced Game 5 at Sacramento. On the final possession, after his teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal missed consecutive layups and Vlade Divac swatted the ball away to run out the clock, Robert Horry caught the ball and hit a three-pointer as time expired. The Lakers won the game 100–99 and eventually won the series and the championship.
- On April 20th, in Game 2 of the 2009 NBA Eastern Conference First Round the Boston Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls 118-115 after Ray Allen hit a 3 pointer with 2 seconds left.
- On June 11th, In game 4 of the 2009 NBA Finals with Lakers down by 3 points to the Orlando Magic, Derek Fisher hit a three pointer over Jameer Nelson sending the game into overtime. In the overtime he hit a tie-breaking three pointer with 31.3 seconds remaining in overtime to help send the Lakers to a 3-1 series lead and the eventual Championship.
Regular Season Games
- On January 15, 1990 with :00.1 seconds remaining in a tie game with the Chicago Bulls, Trent Tucker of the New York Knicks unbelievably gets off a wild three-point shot as the buzzer goes off. The basket counts and the Knicks win. In the wake of this incident, the NBA establishes a rule -- known as the Trent Tucker Rule -- stating that "0.3 needs to be on the clock in order for a player to get a shot off whether they make it or not." A shot that is tipped in with less than 0.3 seconds remaining may still count.
- On January 2, 2009, the New Jersey Nets were playing the Atlanta Hawks at home in the Izod Center. With 5.3 seconds left in overtime, the Hawks were up 91-90. After a time out, Jarvis Hayes inbounded the ball for the Nets. His intention was to get it to Vince Carter, but Hayes missed. Carter eventually got the ball and dribbled up the ball. With 2.5 seconds left, Carter pulled up for a three pointer a few feet behind the three point line and made it. The Nets won the game 93-91.
- On February 23, 2009, the New Jersey Nets were playing the Philadelphia 76ers at home in the Izod Center. With 1.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Nets were down 96-95. Bobby Simmons inbounded the ball to guard Devin Harris. Harris ran up the court and tried to shoot over the Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala. Iguodala blocked it. Harris got the ball back and shot it back up from half-court with 0.1 second left in the game. The shot went in. Iguodala quickly ran off the court into the locker room telling fans the shot was no good. After some discussion, the referees decided the shot was good. The Nets won the game 98-96.