Despite playing a grueling first-round series against the Indian Pacers that went the full seven games, the Cleveland Cavaliers are one win away from sweeping the No. 1 seeded Toronto Raptors. As to be expected, LeBron James has been the driving force for the Cavaliers.
His latest exploits came in Game 3, after the Raptors rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to tie the game. With less than 10 seconds remaining and coming out of a timeout, James dribbled the ball up the side of the court and went off the glass for a buzzer-beater.
It was the second time this NBA Playoffs that James lifted the Cavaliers to a win with a shot at the buzzer. His first came in Game 5 against the Pacers, which gave Cleveland a 3-2 series lead.
Per NBA Stats, James is the only player in the last 15 years with multiple buzzer-beaters in a single playoffs.
Before James, the latest player with at least two game-winning baskets within the last five seconds of a game was former Los Angeles Lakers forward Robert Horry. Known for his ability to knock down clutch shots, Horry accomplished as much in 2002.
Horry’s first game-winner that year came in Game 3 of the first round to help the Lakers sweep the Portland Trail Blazers. Scottie Pippen missed two free throws with 10 seconds remaining, leaving the Lakers down just two points.
Kobe Bryant received the inbounds pass at the top of the key, dribbled to his right, and kicked out to Horry for an open 3-pointer when Pippen collapsed to double team.
Of course, Horry’s more memorable clutch shot came against the Sacramento Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. After Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal each missed a basket that would’ve tied the game, the ball was batted out to where Horry happened to be standing.
He drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to help the Lakers avoid falling into a 3-1 series hole, and they went on to win a third NBA championship.