The Los Angeles Lakers are unarguably the greatest franchise in NBA history. And with their incredible list of accomplishment and talented players — including 16 championships and 31 NBA Finals appearances — come some of the most incredible and memorable moments.
All-Star Anthony Davis put his name in the franchise’s history books on Sunday night by sinking a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Lakers to a 2-0 series lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.
Davis joined a powerhouse list of seven Lakers who have hit a buzzer beater in the playoffs.
Anthony Davis, 2020 Western Conference Finals
After the Nuggets mounted yet another comeback in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, they held a one-point lead with 20.8 seconds to go in the game. A sloppy possession by L.A. and Alex Caruso missed shot led to an out of bounds play on the baseline, thanks to Danny Green’s offensive rebound.
With the Nuggets right about to tie the series at 1-1, Davis circled over the top of the defense and received an inbounds pass from Rajon Rondo behind the three-point line at the wing and immediately pulled up.
Davis’ high-arching shot was drilled and the Lakers won the game 105-103, putting them just two wins away from the NBA Finals.
Metta World Peace, 2010 Western Conference Finals
The Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, were looking to win the franchise’s second consecutive championship, but were up against a pesky Suns team they had faced several times throughout the decade.
In Game 5, with the score tied and series locked at 2-2, L.A. had one chance to avoid an overtime and take a series lead. With 3.5 seconds left, everyone in the world knew Lamar Odom would find Bryant for the final shot.
Bryant forced a double pump 3-pointer, which air-balled, only to be corralled by Metta World Peace, who easily dropped in a layup at the buzzer. The Lakers would win Game 6, and then defeat the Boston Celtics in seven games in the NBA Finals.
Kobe Bryant, 2006 Western Conference First Round
Bryant has made some of the NBA’s most iconic shots ever, but he has just one buzzer beater in the Playoffs. It came in 2006 in the Lakers’ first-round series against the Suns.
After a clutch steal by Smush Parker and a layup by Bryant sent the game to overtime, L.A. trailed by one point with 6.1 seconds to go. A jump ball at center court between Luke Walton and Steve Nash went to Bryant, and he took the ball the length of floor, hitting a fade away jumper from the elbow to win the game.
It gave the Lakers a 3-1 series lead but the Suns eventually overcame it.
Derek Fisher, 2004 Western Conference Semifinals
The 2003-04 Lakers struggled to live up to sky-high expectations after adding Karl Malone and Gary Payton to the roster. While the Lakers ended up losing to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals, this team could’ve been completely forgotten if not for Derek Fisher’s improbable heroics.
In Game 5 of the second round against the San Antonio Spurs, and the series tied at 2-2, the teams traded baskets throughout. The game was seemingly over — with the Spurs taking a 3-2 lead — when Tim Duncan drilled a fadeaway 18-footer over Shaquille O’Neal with 0.4 seconds on the clock.
Lakers head coach Phil Jackson drew up an out of bounds play, and Payton inbounded the ball to Fisher. With barely enough time to get the shot off, Fisher nailed the jumper to give the Lakers a 74-73 win and the series lead.
Robert Horry, 2002 Western Conference Finals
In Robert Horry’s championship-filled career, there is not one shot that defined him more than his buzzer beater against the Sacramento Kings in 2002. Earning the name “Big Shot Bob,” this 3-pointer helped save the Bryant and O’Neal dynasty with the Lakers.
Down 2-1 in Game 4, the Lakers trailed by just two points with 11 seconds to go. Bryant and O’Neal each had an attempt, but could not get point-blank range shots to fall. After O’Neal’s attempt, Vlade Divac batted the ball out, where Horry grabbed it and calmly drilled the three at the buzzer to tie the series.
L.A. went on to advance to the 2002 NBA Finals, completing a three-peat and giving Horry a spot in history.
Jerry West, 1970 NBA Finals
Today, Jerry West is more commonly known as a brilliant basketball executive and as “The Logo.” However, West is also one of the greatest guards in the history of the game, and sealed that in 1970.
In Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals with the series tied 1-1, New York Knicks guard Dave DeBusschere gave them a two-point lead with under three seconds remaining. With no timeouts, West was forced to heave a 60-foot shot, drilling it as time expired to send the game into overtime.
The Lakers would wind up losing in overtime and losing the series, but the shot is remembered fondly to this day.
Elgin Baylor, 1954 Western Conference Semifinals
Baylor provided the Lakers’ first buzzer beater in the playoffs, which at the time helped them avoid being swept by the St. Louis Hawks. L.A. also won Game 4, but dropped the following contest.
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