By Jeff Merron
Page 2

Thursday night's Duncan-glass, Fish-swish finish left us breathless -- and really, there's never been anything like it. But some finishes have come mighty close.

If you want more detail -- and audio -- have a look at the major source for this list, "At The Buzzer: The Greatest Moments in NBA History," by Bryan Burwell.

10. Kenny Smith's big three (1995 NBA Finals, Game 1)
The Rockets trail by three against the Magic in Orlando with 1.6 seconds left. Smith, who'll finish the night with 23 points, takes an inbounds pass and, with Anfernee Hardaway's hand in his face, swishes from beyond the arc to tie the game and send it to OT. The Rockets go on to win, 120-118.

John Stockton
John Stockton's sweet shot sent Utah to the NBA Finals.

9. Jerry West's 60-footer (1970 NBA Finals, Game 3)
With three seconds left in Game 3 of the Lakers-Knicks series in L.A., Dave DeBusschere hits a 15-foot jumper to give the Knicks a 102-100 lead. L.A. immediately inbounds from under their own basket, West takes the pass and dribbles as fast as he can upcourt, then, with the game clock reading 0:01, heaves it in from beyond the halfcourt circle to tie the game and send it into OT.

The momentum doesn't carry into the extra period, and the Knicks go on to win, 111-108.

8. Alonzo Mourning stuns the Celtics (1993 Eastern Conference first round, Game 4)
The Hornets are up two games to one in the five game series, and are playing at home against Boston. Trailing 103-102, Mourning sinks a 20-foot jumper with 0.4 left on the clock to put Charlotte into the conference semis and send the Celtics home.

7. Ralph Sampson shuts down Showtime (1986 Western Conference finals, Game 5)
The Rockets are up in the series, three games to two. With the score tied at 112 in the Forum, Rodney McCray passes to Sampson inside. With his back to the basket and Kareem looming, he makes an awkward half-turn mini-jumper with one second left, propelling Houston into the Finals.

6. John Stockton's 3 shoots Jazz into Finals (1997 Western Conference finals, Game 6)
The Jazz are up three games to one in their series against the Rockets, and Game 6 is in Houston. With the score tied at 100, Stockton gets himself wide open for a 25-foot 3, which he hits to give Utah the game and a long-awaited trip to the Finals. Stockton's shot capped an amazing final 3:13 for the guard, in which he scored 13 points.

5. Gar Heard and the Greatest Game Ever (1976 NBA Finals, Game 5)
Many have called it the greatest NBA game ever played. In the second OT, John Havlicek appeared to give the Celtics a one-point win over the Suns with a miraculous, running 15-foot bank shot with one second left. Fans stormed the court at the Boston Garden. After order was restored, the Suns took a technical (which gave the Celtics a two-point lead), but moved the ball to halfcourt. Heard took the inbounds pass near the free-throw line, turned and hit a 20-footer to force a third OT. The Celtics won 128-126 and then won Game 6 as well.

4. Derek Fisher's Point-Four (2004 Western Conference semifinals, Game 5)
Instant legend. Will it prove to be the key shot in another Lakers' title run?

Derek Fisher & Robert Horry
Robert Horry reacts after hitting the big shot against Sacramento -- and look who else is celebrating?

3. Big-Shot Rob sinks Kings (2002 Western Conference finals, Game 4)
The Kings, trying to go up 3-1 in the series, built a 24-point lead over the Lakers. But L.A. had the final shot, trailing 99-97. Kobe Bryant missed, Shaquille O'Neal missed a follow-up and Vlade Divac batted the ball ... to the top of key, where Robert Horry picked up the loose ball and fired at the buzzer over Chris Webber for the game-winning 3-pointer. Lakers win the series in seven and then win their third-straight NBA title.

2. Vinnie Johnson's title-winner (1990 NBA Finals, Game 5)
The defending champion Pistons are up three games to one in their series against the Trail Blazers, and the game is tied at 90 with Detroit holding the ball for one last possession. Isiah Thomas winds the clock down from 20 to six seconds, then starts his drive for the last-second shot. Only he doesn't take it. He passes to The Microwave, who drives, backs off to make some space, and fires an off-balance jumper from 14-feet for the win and the title.

1. Jordan hangs, Ehlo descends (1989 Eastern Conference first round, Game 5)
Series tied at two games apiece. Three seconds left. Cleveland's up 100-99. Winner takes the series. Chicago inbounds to MJ, who, with Craig Ehlo right on him, takes off for a jumper from the top of the key with one second left on the clock. Ehlo takes off with him, but makes a much more rapid descent as Jordan remains in the air just long enough to get a clear view and sink the game and series winner. "I can't believe he hit that shot," said the Cavs Brad Daugherty. "I don't know how he stayed in the air that long."




Jeff_Merron
Jeff
Merron