When the Los Angeles Lakers took on the San Antonio Spurs in the 2002 playoffs, Robert Horry had a chance to play hero in Game 4 of the series. After Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant both missed layups the ball was swatted out past the three point line where Horry picked up the ball, rose up for a three-pointer and made the shot at the buzzer. That gave the Lakers an 87-85 victory.
The Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets squared off in the 1997 NBA Western Conference Finals. With the Jazz leading 3 games to 2, Game 6 at Houston was tied in the final seconds. As the clock ticked down, Stockton rose up in the final seconds and the star point guard hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Jazz a 103-100 victory.
Nick Van Exel
The Los Angeles Lakers trailed the San Antonio Spurs 3 games to 1 and were forced to go to the Alamo City to stay alive. Trailing the Spurs by a point, guard Nick Van Exel hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to turn defeat into sudden victory.
Many people believe Jordan is the greatest player in NBA history. A big part of his legend was formed in Game 5 of the Chicago Bulls’ playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989. In the final seconds of the best-of-5 series, the Bulls trailed the Cavs by a point and the Bulls had the ball. Jordan refused to let the Bulls lose, rising up over guard Craig Ehlo and hitting the series-winning shot as the Bulls took a 101-100 victory.
One of the most shocking buzzer beaters came in the 1970 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks. With the Lakers trailing by two points in game 3 in Los Angeles, West took an inbounds pass and launched a three-quarter court shot that went right through. However, the NBA had no 3-point shot in 1970 and the basket merely tied the score. The Knicks would go on to win the game 111-108 in overtime and take the series in seven games.
The 1983 NCAA national championship game was supposed to be a rout for the high-flying Houston Cougars over Jim Valvano’s gritty North Carolina State Wolfpack. However, North Carolina State won the game at the buzzer when forward Lorenzo Charles slammed the basketball home for a 54-52 triumph.
Duke’s Christian Laettner hit one of the most famous shots in college basketball history. In the 1992 Easter Regional Finals at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Kentucky held a 103-102 lead with 2.1 seconds left. Duke’s Grant Hill made a three-quarter court pass to Laettner at the foul line. Laettner made the catch, took one dribble, faked to his right and spun left before hitting the shot that gave Duke a 104-103 victory.
In the first round of the 1998 NCAA tournament, tiny Valapariso trailed Ole Miss 69-67 in the final seconds. On the final play of the game, the ball ended up in Bryce Drew’s hands with less than a second left on the clock. Drew hit a three-point shot to give Valpo the victory and they moved onto the second round.
The UConn Huskies met the Washington Huskies in the NCAA tournament in 1998. Washington led 73-72 in the final seconds and appeared to be in a great position to pull off the upset. However, Richard Hamilton tipped in the game-winner at the buzzer to give UConn the victory.
Georgia Tech trailed highly regarded USC in the second round of the 1992 tournament. With the Trojans leading 78-76 with less than a second to play, Georgia Tech’s James Forrest launched a high-arching 3-pointer that gave Tech the 79-78 victory. It was the only 3-point shot that Forrest would make all season.