To celebrate the start of the postseason, we dove into the history books to unleash the best buzzer-beaters (And yes, we tweaked the rules a few times to include a couple of shots that weren’t exactly buzzer-beaters. But who’s complaining?) of the NBA’s second season. There were many great ones that didn’t make the list — check out a few of our favorites in the Honorable Mentions — because trying to limit this piece to 25 was damn near impossible.
Here are the top 25 buzzer-beaters/game-winners in NBA Playoff history.
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25. Paul Pierce’s game-winner against Chicago in the 2009 Eastern Conference First Round
In one of the greatest series ever, you can find a lot of historical moments. This shot by Paul Pierce was one of those moments. Pierce wasn’t having a great game at all — he only scored seven points in the first half. The last shot is what counts the most in this situation though. In the end, The Captain came through for his team without Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. He scored the game winning shot with John Salmons barely giving him any room. He took to that sacred elbow spot that he loves so much and put the game away. The Truth will set you free.
24. Dudley Bradley In the 1986 Eastern Conference First Round Against Philadelphia
Maybe the only shot on this list that wasn’t the highlight of the game. In this first round matchup during the 1986 Playoffs, the Bullets were down 17 points with four minutes left before Dudley Bradley banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer to cap a crazy comeback. Charles Barkley and Dr. J are still recoving from this loss.
23. Reggie Miller Clutch Shots against the Nets in the 2002 Eastern Conference First Round
In a win or go home situation against the top-seeded New Jersey Nets, Reggie Miller shined twice. He sent the game into one overtime off of a crazy bank-shot three-pointer that should’ve never went down. He shot that ball fading away toward the sideline and it hit the middle of the backboard with such accuracy. It was an amazing shot in itself, but Miller wasn’t finished. He needed two points to force another overtime, so what does he do? Dunks it, of course. Miller finished the game with 31 points, but it wasn’t enough. The Nets were just too good in the end and the Pacers lost the game.