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NBA Clutch Moments

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In the spirit of the NBA playoffs and Derek Fisher's two clutch three point shots to help secure a game four victory for the Lakers, I want to take this chance to look at one of my favorite moments in NBA playoff history. It was May 13, 2004, game five of the Western Conference semifinals. The match up was the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the San Antonio Spurs, who combined had dominated the past five championships. The series had been tied by the Lakers 2-2, who were looking to gain home court advantage with a win in San Antonio, but in order to do so, they would have to partake in one of the most trilling games in NBA history.

In a low-scoring game, the Lakers had led most of the game until the fourth quarter, which was a real struggle for the Lakers. They only scored 8 points up until 11 seconds left in the game, where Kobe scored a clutch 20 footer to give the Lakers a one-point lead. But as we all know, 11 seconds in the NBA can be an eternity, especially when there are superstars like Tim Duncan playing. They advanced it to the front court but were forced to call timeout due to a broken play, leaving them with 5.4 seconds to work with.

The Spurs tried their best to get the ball to Ginobili who was being covered very well by Derek Fisher, so the in-bounder had no choice but to pass the ball to the next best option, Duncan. With time ticking down and Shaq playing very aggressive defense, Duncan put up a desperate faraway just a foot inside the arch hitting nothing but the net. And leaving a messily .4 seconds left on the game clock, all hope was lost for the Lakers. The Spurs had already begun their celebration, vibrantly congratulating their star for a miracle shot and helping the Spurs to a 3-2 series lead.

But wait, the Lakers still had .4 seconds left on the game clock. Time for one quick catch and shoot, and with one of the NBA's greatest players in Kobe Bryant on the other side, the Spurs had one more tough play ahead of them. Once the celebration stopped and the dust had settled, the Lakers lined up for one more play. Kobe scrambled to get open, but it was no use because of good double team. The ball was given to Fisher, who seemed to just elegantly push it in the direction of the basket. Like magnet, it went straight though the hoop, barely making a swish sound. Just in case my amazing literary recap of the event wasn't visually stimulating enough for you, here is a quick video of what happened:

 

People are saying that Derek's recent game saving 3 pointers have surpassed his .4 second shot as the shot that is most defining of his career. But I beg to differ – there is not a single shot that I have personally witnessed that can upstage Derek's miracle. But as they say, "It's not what you've done in the past that defines you, but what you are doing in the present." And that saying doesn't only refer to basketball; we can use it to guide ourselves to be better people. Meaning we shouldn't just be satisfied with the good deeds that we may have done last year, or even two weeks ago, but that we should strive for the next good thing we are going to do for our fellow human beings.

If you have a favorite NBA moment please tell me about it in the Comments section below, because I would love to read about it.

Author of this article: Mohammad Rizvi
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