Five of the Best Basketball Games of All-Time

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What we thought was MJ’s final game was the fairy-tale ending we all hoped for. 

 

Part of the reason why betting on basketball is so popular worldwide are the buzzer beaters, backdoor covers, and overtime dramatics that put fans and bettors on an emotional rollercoaster that few other sports do.

Some of these games (and bets) we’ll remember forever, win or lose. Below are five of our best basketball games of all-time.

 

Duke 104, Kentucky 103 (1992 NCAA East Regional Final). 

It was the defending National Champions vs. The Unforgettables; Duke vs. Kentucky. The storied programs were two of the favorites to win the 1992 NCAA Tournament, and fans weren’t disappointed when their paths collided in the East Regional Final. 

The game remained tight throughout regulation, marred by a second-half incident where Kentucky forward Christian Laettner stomped on the chest of Kentucky’s Aminu Timberlake. Laettner was only given a technical foul (and not ejected like many feel he should have been), a refereeing decision that would ultimately give us one of the most iconic moments in sports history.

Down 1 with 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime, a 70-foot heave down court would land in the hands of Laettner, who would dribble, turn, fire, and sink what is now known as The Shot.

 

Chicago Bulls 87, Utah Jazz 86 (1998 NBA Finals, Game 6). 

While anything but a sixth NBA Championship for the Chicago Bulls seemed unlikely heading into the 1998 NBA Finals, it didn’t make the ensuing series any less exciting. When the Bulls dropped game four in Chicago to the Jazz, the championship series was sent back to Utah for Game 6. Pending a Bulls victory, this would be the last NBA game for both Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson (or so the world thought--both would return to the league a few years later). 

As he almost always did, MJ lived up to the billing. Down 86-83, Jordan stole the ball under Chicago’s hoop and drove down the court toward the Jazz defense. After dribbling out some clock, Jordan would pull back and hit a 20-footer to give Chicago a 1-point lead with 3.2 seconds left, a shot that would win the NBA Championship and be his last ever (or so we thought). 

Syracuse 127, Connecticut 117 (2009 Big East Quarterfinals) 

At 9:36PM on March 12, 2009 Syracuse and Connecticut tipped off at Madison Square Garden in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament. The game would not conclude until he next morning at 1:22AM. 

During that nearly four hour stretch, 244 total points were scored, 93 free throws were taken, 66 fouls were committed, and four players from each team had fouled out. The longest game in college basketball history since the implementation of the shot clock, slight underdog Syracuse pulled ahead for the win in the sixth overtime, despite not having lead at any point during the first five.

 

Villanova 77, North Carolina 74 (2016 NCAA National Championship)

Up ten with less than five minutes to go in the 2016 NCAA Championship, it looked fairly certain that Villanova’s 30+ year title drought was about to come to an end. But North Carolina wasn’t going to give up on winning their third title of the century so easy, and a desperate double-clutch three-pointer from Marcus Paige tied the score with less than 5 seconds remaining. Had the game led to an overtime UNC win, Paige’s shot would have lived in college basketball infamy forever. Instead, it will be Kris Jenkins of Villanova’s, who hit a 40-footer as time expired to mark the end of Villanova’s title drought. It was also the first time in tournament history that the title game was decided by a three-point buzzer beater.  

Games like these is what makes the sport of basketball so special, the fast paced sport infused with controversial calls and last minute 3 pointers make it so unpredictable! It can be frustrating when your team is heading towards a last minute defeat, but the best wins are when you winning side. This can be even more special when you have a wager on the winning side. OnlineGambling.ca is one of many websites providing online sports betting which can be done via your mobile, tablet or PC.

 

Boston Celtics 128, Phoenix Suns 126 (1976 NBA Finals, Game 5). 

Often referred to as the NBA’s “greatest game ever played”, Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals between Boston and Phoenix was a 3OT affair soaked in controversy. The series had been building to this pivotal Game 5 in the Garden and had already seen a tight overtime finish, standout performances from rookies and veterans alike, and even a fistfight.

With 20 seconds left in the second overtime, Phoenix managed to cut the lead to one, steal the ensuing inbound pass and then score again to take a 110-109 lead. Boston’s John Havlicek would answer with a go-ahead basket of his own, after which the clock incorrectly ran out (instead of stopping) sending a wave of celebratory Boston fans on to the court. While the refs were determining how much time to put back on the clock, one ref was attacked by Boston fans and Suns players had to shove raucous Boston fans away.

With two seconds put back on the clock, the Suns hit a buzzer-beater to tie the game yet again and send it to a third OT.

There, Boston would take a lead that wouldn’t relinquish, giving them a 3-2 series lead they also wouldn’t surrender. 

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