On this date in 2019, then-Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lamb connected on one of the craziest game-winners in NBA history – a contested heave from beyond halfcourt to beat a fully-healthy Toronto Raptors team at the buzzer.
It’s the most recent example of a list of crazy game-winners this league has seen but was it the craziest? Our NBA.com Staff weighs in by making thre case for others that were just as unlikely.
Dec. 9, 2015 – Matt Barnes vs. Pistons
I mean, this one is just nuts.
When Matt Barnes grabs the rebound with 5.6 seconds left, a quick look at the score bug shows that the Memphis Grizzlies had three (!) timeouts remaining, meaning they could have called one to advance the ball. They were down two after all.
Barnes paid that no mind.
He didn’t just pull up from half court, he did so with 3.5 seconds left on the clock, three defenders in his vicinity and a solid shooter in Courtney Lee ahead of him.
I mean, come on.
But when you watch the play again, you notice that Barnes pulled up calmly and with confidence and reacted the same way as if it was what he meant to do the whole time. There was even time left on the clock!
When he’s mobbed by his teammates, notice Marc Gasol mentions they almost called a timeout, as head coach Dave Joerger was motioning to take a 20-second timeout to draw up a play to get a bucket.
Sometimes, you just gotta go with your first instinct, and it paid off for Barnes here.
– Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21)
Mar. 30th, 2007 — Morris Peterson vs. Wizards
It’s not a game-winner but it’s one of the most dramatic shots I’ve ever watched unfold. The Raptors were all but cooked in Washington against the Wizards. The game should’ve been over, all we needed was for Gilbert Arenas to knock down his free throws and make it a formality. He made both giving the Raptors very little hope to pull off the road victory.
With no timeouts left Anthony Parker flung the ball down the court trying to find anyone in a red jersey, instead, he found Michael Ruffin who tossed it up in the air trying to get time to expire. He didn’t throw it high enough and the opening Toronto needed was now there.
The ball landed in the hands of Morris Peterson who had not played much at all. In fact, Mo Pete had played all of eight seconds in the entire fourth quarter. He took one shot the entire game, it just happened to be a desperation three that fell to send the game into overtime.
Onions, baby onions! I can still hear Chuck Swirsky screaming at the top of his lungs.
The Raptors would later win the game 123-118 in OT led by Chris Bosh as he scored eight of his game-high 37 points in overtime.
It was a magical win in what felt like a magical season as they put an end to a four-year playoff drought that year and Sam Mitchell was named Coach of the Year. The good ole days.
— Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay)
Feb. 23, 2009 – Devin Harris vs. 76ers
I’ll never forget seeing this one come through on the SportsCenter Top-10 plays.
Down by one point following a go-ahead free throw by Andre Iguodala with 1.8 seconds remaining, the Nets inbounded the ball to Harris.
Harris had just been named an All-Star for the first time in his career and he already had a game-high 36 points in this contest, continuing what had been the best season of his now 15-year career.
Harris turned up the sideline and took one dribble with Iguodala in his jersey. He put up what was going to be a long and contested halfcourt shot for the win, but Iguodala blocked the shot back into Harris’ hands. Somehow, there’s still time on the clock and Harris heaves it at the basket… nothing but net.
I remember watching the highlight over and over again on my TV. “Was it a travel? Did he get it off in time? How did he even shoot it again?” Those were just some of the questions going through my head at the time. Even after seeing the replay 10 times I couldn’t wrap my mind around that shot counting.
It’s still, to this day, the most absurd game-winning shot I’ve ever seen.
– Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)
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