The top 10 Greatest Buzzer Beaters in NBA History

The top 10 Greatest Buzzer Beaters in NBA History

The top 10 Greatest Buzzer Beaters in NBA History

Buzzer-beaters in the NBA playoffs are etched into the memory of fans, players, and basketball history. These clutch shots have the power to define legacies, turn around series, and elevate players to legendary status.

Let's walk through the top 10 greatest buzzer-beaters in NBA playoff history, considering difficulty, circumstance, and series impact.

10. Kobe Bryant vs. Phoenix Suns 2006 - First Round - Game 4

In this first-round matchup from 2006, the Lakers, led by the one and only Kobe Bryant, were the underdogs against the Phoenix Suns.

With 6 seconds to go and the Lakers down by one, Kobe forced a turnover before rising up for a mid-range jumper with no time left on the clock, sealing a crucial victory for the Lakers.

9. Kawhi Leonard vs. Philadelphia 76ers 2019 - Second Round - Game 7

Kawhi Leonard's unforgettable buzzer-beater against the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2019 playoffs is considered the most important playoff buzzer-beater in NBA history.

This shot, which came in a Game 7, propelled the Toronto Raptors on their road to their first-ever NBA Championship. It also gave Kawhi 41 total points for the game and is arguably the most difficult shot on this list.

8. Damian Lillard vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 2019 - First Round - Game 5

Damian Lillard's game-winning shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2019 playoffs is one of the most important shots in NBA history.

With one shot, Lillard sent the Thunder home and effectively put an end to an era for the Thunder. This shot, along with his 50 points for the game, secured a place for Lillard in the history books.

7. John Stockton vs. Houston Rockets 1997 Conference Finals - Game 6

John Stockton's buzzer-beater in the 1997 Conference Finals sent the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals. With the game tied and a trip to the Finals on the line, Stockton delivered a shot that remains one of the most important and relevant buzzer-beaters in NBA history.

6. LeBron James vs. Orlando Magic 2009 - Eastern Conference Finals

Trailing the Orlando Magic 95-93 and 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron James caught an inbounds pass with exactly one second remaining.

He then drilled a fadeaway three to stun the Magic and even the series at one game apiece, punctuating his stellar campaign in the 2008-09 season.

5. Derek Fisher vs. San Antonio Spurs 2004 - Second Round

Derek Fisher's buzzer-beater against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2004 playoffs is a testament to his clutch performance.

With only 0.4 seconds to get a shot off, Fisher managed to nail a game-winner, leaving the Spurs stunned and solidifying his place in NBA playoff history.

4. Michael Jordan vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 1989 - First Round

Michael Jordan's iconic buzzer-beater against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1989 playoffs is one of the most memorable moments in NBA history.

With only three ticks remaining on the clock, Jordan provided a truly devastating shot, escaping defenders to secure a victory for the Chicago Bulls.

3. John Stockton vs. Houston Rockets 1997 - Conference Finals - Game 6

Eleven years after Ralph Sampson's shot clinched Houston's place in the NBA Finals, John Stockton stunned the Rockets at the buzzer in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.

The buzzer-beater handed his team a 4-2 series victory and sent the Jazz to their first-ever NBA Finals, making it one of the most significant shots in NBA playoff history.

2. Ralph Sampson vs. Los Angeles Lakers 1986 - Western Conference Finals - Game 5

Ralph Sampson's buzzer-beater in the 1986 Western Conference Finals is etched in NBA lore as one of the most iconic moments. The game tied and little time on the clock, and Sampson's quick turnaround mid-air jumper sealed the series and a finals appearance for the Houston Rockets, showcasing the power of a clutch performance.

1. Jerry West vs. New York Knicks 1970 - NBA Finals - Game 3

Jerry West's half-court buzzer-beater against the New York Knicks in the 1970 NBA Finals remains one of the most legendary shots in NBA history.

Despite being on the losing side of the series, West's iconic shot solidified his status as one of the greatest clutch performers in NBA playoff history.

 

These buzzer-beaters have left an indelible mark on the NBA and continue to be celebrated and remembered by basketball fans around the world.

From iconic shots by legends like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to game-winning performances by modern stars like Kawhi Leonard and Damian Lillard, these moments define the drama and excitement of NBA playoff basketball.

These clutch performances not only showcase the skill and determination of the players but also demonstrate the unparalleled drama and unpredictability that makes NBA playoff basketball so compelling and unforgettable. 


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