There is nothing more beautiful or thrilling than a game-winning shot. When 48 minutes of blood, sweat and tears all comes down to one single moment, the art of basketball shines brightest. The feeling of your heart pounding when the game is on the line is arguably unmatched in this game we love.
Basketball fans have been fortunate this season, as there has been a plethora of game-winners and buzzers-beaters for fans to appreciate. Just this weekend, Washington’s Bradley Beal beat the Knicks with a pull-up J in the closings seconds in Madison Square Garden. If you have time, search “game-winners” on the NBA’s YouTube channel. It was a bigger challenge than initially thought to narrow down the best game-winner shots of solely the 2014 portion of the season (January-present), as each one provided memorable, entertaining moments.
With that said, what game-winning shots from 2014 made the cut? Let’s take a look.
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10. Klay Thompson’s buzzer-beating fadeaway to beat the Pacers
In the Warriors’ March 4 matchup with the Pacers, Klay Thompson was in 2K-mode in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of his overall 25 points. Two of those points came at the most crucial time when the game was tied up.
With 10.9 seconds left, Thompson received the pass on the baseline and used his size advantage over George Hill to whip out a turnaround fadeaway to seal the game for Golden State. I can only imagine Kobe Bryant giving Klay the nod of approval after that beauty of a shot.
9. Patrick Patterson steals (literally) the game from Brooklyn
Toronto has made incredible strides as a team this season, as a talented, young core of players have solidified the Raptors as a team that cannot be overlooked. On January 27, one Raptor in particular came up with two consecutive plays on both ends of the court to silence their opponents for the night. With 12 seconds remaining and the Raps down by one against the Nets, Patrick Patterson intercepted the inbounds pass from Deron Williams and quickly passed it to Kyle Lowry. Lowry dished it back to Patterson, who drained the go-ahead jumper from midrange.
8. Stephen Curry’s game-winning step-back jumper in Dallas
Steph Curry is no stranger to game-winners and clutch shots. In a short amount of time in his pro career, Steph has proved that beneath that babyface is a cold-blooded assassin. On April 1, the Dubs and the Mavs went into overtime in a meaningful match with standings implications. With the game tied, Curry brought the ball up the court, dwindled down the clock on the perimeter, stepped-back, and threw up a 21-footer that swished through the net with 0.1 seconds left in OT. This was his second game-winner against Dallas this season alone. Man, is Steph the most entertaining player to watch, or what?
7. Wesley Johnson’s game-winning alley-layup against Portland
The Lakers have had a rough year, to say the least. Yet, somehow this Lakers team set a franchise record for most points in one quarter (51) in a recent matchup with the Knicks. When everything is clicking, this year’s squad is scrappy. That was on display in their March 2 game against Portland.
With 7.1 seconds left and the score sitting at 106-105 in favor of the Trail Blazers, Mike D’Antoni’s play design was executed perfectly. After a beautiful screen of LaMarcus Aldridge by Jordan Farmar at the top of the key, Wesley Johnson cut to the rim. That is when Kent Bazemore threw up the lob for Johnson, and the athletic Wes sprung up and threw in a soft, go-ahead layup to stun Rip City.
6. Tobias Harris throws down game-winning dunk against OKC
The match between Oklahoma City and Orlando on February 7 came down to a play that was hard to believe. After a missed jumper by Kevin Durant, Victor Oladipo ran down a long rebound with less than four seconds left. Oladipo pushed it up to Maurice Harkless under the basket, but instead of laying it in, Harkless threw it to the trailing Tobias Harris. Harris immediately took off for a dunk, which amazingly left his hands before the buzzer went off. You might want to watch this play a few times, as you may not see a game-winning buzzer-beater like this for quite a while.
5. Joe Johnson’s buzzer-beater to beat OKC
The Brooklyn Nets started 2014 off with a bang, and the timing of this win couldn’t come at a better time for the Nets. In their January 2 game against the Thunder, the score was tied up at 93 with 5.8 seconds left in regulation. Joe Johnson inbounded the ball to Kevin Garnett, who immediately handed it back to Johnson. Johnson dribbled the ball a few times then pulled out a behind-the back dribble to create space from the well-defending Serge Ibaka. Johnson finally threw up and nailed a fadeaway jumper to beat the buzzer and give the Nets a much-needed win.
4. Dion Waiters’ insane buzzer-beater against the Pistons
The Cavs are currently trying to make a push for the playoffs sans the their best player, Kyrie Irving. Therefore every game counts. The game between the Cavs and the Pistons on March 26 ended with a jaw dropping buzzer-beater from NBA sophomore Dion Waiters. With 3.2 ticks left in the fourth and the Cavs down by one point, Waiters caught the inbounds pass, dribbled, squared-up to the basket, and released a 19-footer to beat the final buzzer. Waiter’s sweet jumper fell through the net, and the entire Cavs’ bench ran out to the court to greet Waiters in celebration.
3. Kevin Durant’s go-ahead three in double-OT in Toronto
Kevin Durant has played at simply an insane level throughout the season, and he is likely on his way to receiving his first MVP award in the near future. In OKC’s March 21 duel with the Raptors, KD made everyone shake their head in awe as he nailed a gorgeous three-pointer to cap off a 51-point night.
With the Thunder down by two in double-OT, KD got the pass from Jeremy Lamb, took a few dribbles, pulled-up, and let go off a three over the 6-9 Amir Johnson from well behind the line. Durant’s shot was so clean that it barely made the net move. Kevin Durant is not nice.
2. Randy Foye’s game-winning three against the Clippers
It’s always a thrilling notion to have a great moment against your former team, and on February 3 Randy Foye got to live out that experience on the highest level against the Clippers.
The Nuggets were down by two with 6.2 seconds left in regulation, and J.J. Hickson had the ball at the top of the key and was searching for a teammate to come help. Foye was able to break away from Jamal Crawford, receive the handoff from Hickson, and launch a 25-foot Hail Mary before the backboard lit up red. Foye drained his ridiculous buzzer-beater and immediately stretched out on the court in jubilation.
1. LeBron James’ game-winning three against the Warriors
Remember there was a time when LeBron James was criticized for his avoidance to take the last shot when the game was on the line? In recent years, ‘Bron has made much progress to this facet of his game, and on February 12 he quieted those naysayers who still fight that argument.
With the Heat trailing the Warriors 110-108, LBJ had the ball in his hands with about eight seconds on the clock. After a few dribbles, James let go of a side-step prayer from beyond the arc over Andre Iguodala that splashed through with 0.1 ticks left. Not too shabby at all, King James.
Which game-winner is your favorite?
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