Few men can say they’ve hit NBA playoff buzzer-beating game-winners. Even fewer have drained series ending playoff buzzer beaters. Those plays are usually reserved for March Madness and Cinderellas, not professionals in The Association.
Michael Jordan’s shot over Craig Ehlo, Ralph Sampson’s Western Conference-title winning tap over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Alonzo Mourning’s long two that eliminated the ’93 Celtics and John Stockton’s three to silence the Rockets are the few that come to mind.
After Friday night, you can add Damian Lillard over Houston to that list. In case you didn’t pick up on the theme, Houston is involved in three of the five series-ending buzzer beaters in playoff history.
Not only was it a fitting way for Lillard to end a series in which he averaged 25.5 points and 6.7 assists, but it also gave us our final 2013-14 edition of James Harden Playing Soft Defense after he didn’t switch off of Wes Matthews and onto Lillard who had been sprung open after getting the jump on Chandler Parsons.
For the remainder of the offseason, Kevin McHale’s decision to bench Jeremy Lin on the final defensive possession after he’d held Lillard scoreless in the fourth and hit what could have been the game-sealing trey will be questioned.