SECAUCUS, NJ, Jan. 24, 2006 --
Time to celebrate. We have reached the midway point of the regular season, a perfect time to honor the best of the 2006-07 campaign to date. NBA.com's experts expound on their mid-season picks for the six major awards, as well as another eight "best of" categories.
Seeing them live is always so much better than just seeing the highlight. It's why we keep our eye on the scoreboard throughout the evening, ready to switch the channel if a game is close in the final seconds. And the players have come through with a thrilling finish quite a bit this year. But which was the Best Buzzer-Beater of the season so far?
As a Sixers fan, let me go on record as saying I dislike the Knicks. Even still, when David Lee tipped in the inbounds pass at the buzzer in double-overtime to give New York a wild two-point win over Charlotte, I jumped up and down with excitement. >>
Pick your game-winning trey from Gilbert Arenas. There are plenty from which to choose and I'm sure my comrades here at NBA.com have selected carefully. My top buzzer beater, though, comes from the man they call Mr. Big Shot. In only his second game back, after sitting eight games with a strained calf, Chauncey Billups was called on to lift the Pistons into a second overtime vs. the Timberwolves on Jan. 19. His team down 91-88, Billups drilled a line-drive triple with three ticks on the clock. The best part was watching Billups, right before the tip in the second OT session, shoot a little knowing wink at Mike James, who moments earlier had hit a big three of his own. >>
Agent Zero's bravado never looked better than on his gem vs. the Jazz.
You know that thing that Sam Cassell does where he holds his hands down at his knees and it looks like he's holding a couple coconuts after hitting a big shot? That's what Gilbert Arenas should have done after the one against the Bucks. Arenas lined up for the shot he wanted, took his time, and let it fly. The best part of it might have been Michael Redd smiling in disbelief with a look like, "this guy is the coolest." >>
This season, Gilbert Arenas' conversion rate on shots to end quarters, halves and game has been an astonishing 11-for-11, and none was better than his 30-footer in Charlie Bell's face on Jan. 3. With the game tied at 105, Gilbert calmly walked the ball up the court, waited until the clock reached one second and then let fly from 10 yards away. In mid-flight, Arenas turned around, nodded his head and walked away. Swish. Even Milwaukee's Bell and Michael Redd had to smile at not only the shot and Gilbert's reaction, but his guts. How could you not?
One of many Gilbert Arenas buzzer-beaters to choose from, his dagger on Martin Luther King Day takes the prize because of the brazen prediction he admitted to making before he took the floor. He said he felt like 37 points and a game-winner. He was only half right. While he nailed both the latter portion of his prediction and the shot required to make it a reality, he was off by 14 points. I think he'll swap complete clairvoyance for a 51-point performance.
Come on. He was walking away with his hands in the air before the ball went through the net! It doesn't get any better than Gilbert Arenas against the Jazz.