Buzzer-beaters provide the most thrilling finish to a basketball game. And if it comes when the game is on the line, there are few things in sports that can match the excitement. Another reason why game-winning buzzer-beaters are cherished is because they're rare. They don't happen too often because not all games go down to the wire, and if they do, not everyone has the mettle to drill it with all those eyeballs pumping up the pressure.
This is why the weekend we just had in the NBA playoffs was special. Historic even, if you view it from a certain angle. On Friday, with almost no time on the shot clock, Derrick Rose hit the shot that downed the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
A day later, Paul Pierce showed why the Washington Wizards made such an effort in recruiting him from the Brooklyn Nets. Just when the Hawks thought they had done enough to force overtime, the Truth shot a stepback jumper with the defense all in his face. No overtime ensued as Pierce's J went into the basket as the game clock expired.
Considering that one single edition of NBA playoffs delivers 2-3 buzzer-beaters at max, surely we were done for the weekend. But the basketball gods were feeling more generous than usual. On Sunday, LeBron James avenged Rose's winning shot with one of his own. With a second and a half to go in regulation time, the King ignored his coach's play and executed his own. The result was the same. The pumpkin hit nothing but net.
These three, along with Jerryd Bayless' dagger against the Bulls in the opening round, makes it four for the 2015 post-season. It makes one wonder what a magnificent playoff we're having this year. The fight of the century and others may have generated much more buzz due to the media hype, but the real action is happening in the NBA. And this is just the buzzer-beater excitement; we're not even talking about how close the race to the NBA finals is this year. With no clear-cut favorite, it's not hyperbole to say that almost anyone can lift the Larry O'Brien trophy next month.
Anyway, getting back to the buzzer-beaters, let's check out all three:
While all three shots were incredible, Pierce's is certainly better than the other two. Rose (6'3) launched his shot over a much bigger Tristan Thompson (6'9), but Pierce had the attention of two guys with a third one lurking nearby. He didn't just beat the game clock, he beat the double team too, something we can't say about Bron or Rose's shots.