Nothing in basketball gets the blood flowing and the buzz buzzing like an incredible shot. Whether it's a big NBA star drilling a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win it or Joe Schmo swishing a half-courter during halftime to win $75,000, a big shot gets everybody talking.
Sure, a little luck may be involved, but that's part of the fun. Who knows? With a little luck of your own, maybe you can recreate one of these outrageous shots from this year on that hoop in your driveway or as the clock ticks down in that big rec league game this weekend.
With this year's hoops season heading into the home stretch, it's the perfect time to revisit a few of the most memorable, and improbable, shots of the year.
DURANT'S REVERSE RAIN-MAKER: Kevin Durant has become the most unstoppable scorer in the NBA thanks to a high-arching jumper that is released from the top of his 6-foot-11 frame. Who knew he used the same technique for a reverse layup? The Oklahoma City star blows by Denver's Wilson Chandler on the left wing and is met by JaVale McGee at the basket. No problem. As he takes off, Durant drifts to his left to sail past McGee, then flings the ball up — higher than the top of the backboard — before it falls through.
KYRIE TAKES OFF: In less than two years in the league, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving has already put together quite a highlight reel. This one against Atlanta didn't win a game for the Cavs, like shots against Toronto and Oklahoma City did this season, but the degree of difficulty puts it right up there with his very best. He gets the ball deep in Cleveland's end with just over four seconds remaining in the first half against Atlanta, uses a behind-the-back dribble to weave past Al Horford, gets two steps into Atlanta's side of the court and double-clutches as he floats past Kyle Korver for the buzzer-beater.
BEN BRUST'S HALF-COURT HEAVE: With Wisconsin down three points in the closing seconds of regulation against Michigan, Brust grabbed the inbound pass just beyond half-court, took one dribble and threw up a prayer that caught nothing but the bottom of the net to force overtime. To top it all off, Brust also nailed a 3-pointer in overtime to lift the Badgers to the win. "It was awesome, something I'll remember forever, and I'm sure a lot of people will," Brust said.
JONES' STEAL AND STREAK: Butler was down by one against Gonzaga with 3.5 seconds left, and the Bulldogs didn't even have the ball. Roosevelt Jones took care of that, stealing the inbound pass behind half-court then dashing the other way. He hit a runner just inside the free throw line as time expired to send Hinkle Fieldhouse into a frenzy. One of the best parts was Butler coach Brad Stevens' low-key response as the students crashed the court. Stevens watched the ball go through the net, then turned and calmly walked to shake Zags coach Mark Few's hand as if Butler had just beaten a Division II team by 25.
FIT FOR A KING: Michael Drysch, a 50-year-old computer technician from Illinois, had the moment of a lifetime at a Miami Heat game in January. And that was AFTER he hit a half-court shot with a football-like throw to win $75,000. As part of a contest sponsored by Heat star LeBron James, Drysch got a chance at the shot at halftime of a game against the Pistons. He wound up like a quarterback and let it fly. When the shot went through, a euphoric James tackled the fan at center court, hauling him to the ground in a wild celebration. "Nice way to meet somebody," Drysch said. "I can't believe it."
NEW ROCHELLE'S MIRACLE: New Rochelle was down two with 2.9 seconds left against rival Mt. Vernon High School, and it only got worse from there. Khalil Edney's inbound pass was intercepted, and the Mt. Vernon player lofted the ball toward the other end of the court to try to let the final seconds tick away and seal the win. But the ball wound up in Edney's hands just beyond the 3-point line on the wrong end of the court. Edney grabbed it and flung a 55-footer just before the buzzer sounded that went through, giving New Rochelle the victory in the New York state sectional playoff. The shot became an instant YouTube sensation, drawing praise from the likes of Stephen Curry and Ray Rice, a proud New Rochelle alum.
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