Between the suspected tampering, historic triple-double streaks and dominant points-per-game records, the 2018-19 NBA season has certainly been a theatrical roller coaster for fans and critics alike. This weekend’s All-Star festivities will allow one-time opponents to put aside differences and play alongside each other for bragging rights.
Before that all commences, however, it’s worth recognizing this first half of the year has also provided audiences with some memorable buzzer-beaters. From coaches playing against their former teams to overtime triumphs, here are five of the best game-winners of this year’s NBA season.
Former Detroit Piston Reggie Bullock made the winning shot as time expired and the Pistons overcame a 19-point deficit to defeat the Toronto Raptors 106-104 on Nov. 14, 2018.
Reggie Bullock with the game-winner!
— SB Nation (@SBNation) November 15, 2018
This victory was especially memorable because it gave former Raptors coach Dwane Casey a sentimental triumph over his former side. On Feb. 5, Bullock was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and a draft pick.
Prior to his season-ending injury, Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo was one of the league’s most electrifying players. He demonstrated his range on Nov. 3, 2018, against the Boston Celtics with a clutch game-winner.
THE GAME-WINNER! 😱
— NBA (@NBA) November 4, 2018
The Pacers trailed by two with roughly 10 seconds to play when Oladipo grabbed the rebound from underneath Indiana’s basket. The Maryland native pushed the ball the other way, dribbling past Celtics guard Kyrie Irving before positioning himself along the right side of the arc. He buried the game-deciding triple with 3.4 seconds remaining, eventually giving his team a 102-101 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
With an 88-65 lead with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter, a victory for the Brooklyn Nets against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 5, 2018, was surely on the horizon. The final result was the opposite, thanks in large part to Paul George. The six-time All-Star put up 25 points against the Nets in the fourth quarter.
Paul George for the win 🔥🔥🔥
He led OKC's comeback with 25 points in the 4th quarter! pic.twitter.com/HRlfpw3ezK
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 6, 2018
On the game-winning play, Westbrook darted toward the sideline for an inbounds pass with 8.1 seconds left. The former MVP could have dribbled and shot with ease, but he identified the defense and passed it to a wide-open George, who set up a near perfect triple to solidify the comeback.
Rajon Rondo: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
It was a sentimental homecoming of sorts for Lakers guard Rajon Rondo, who nailed the winning shot against his former team, the Boston Celtics, to seal a 129-128 win for the Lakers on Feb. 7. With the end of regulation looming, the Lakers attempted to run a play for Brandon Ingram. Ingram drove to the basket and tried a layup, but his shot was blocked. After bouncing and touching a couple players, the ball founds its way into Rondo’s hands. He instinctively put up a shot as time expired. It went in, and the Lakers left TD Garden with the W.
Rondo jumper to bury the Celtics. Awesome.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 8, 2019
James Harden: Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors
The Jan. 4 showdown between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets was arguably one of the best games of the regular season, and it’s all thanks to the breathtaking conclusion
Both teams had 132 on the board with less than a minute left in overtime. Golden State had the ball and ended up getting a Stephen Curry go-ahead jumper on a play where Kevin Durant was obviously out of bounds when he saved the ball, but the official missed it despite having a clear view of the former MVP.
HARDEN WITH THE GAME WINNER! #SCtop10
What. A. Game. pic.twitter.com/9Hi2mGFXnK
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 4, 2019
It didn’t matter. The next play, surrounded by a sea of yellow defenders, Harden sunk the game-winning three from deep, giving the Rockets a 135-134 victory.
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