History

Top NBA Finals moments: Garfield Heard's shot forces triple-OT in 1976

NBA.com Staff

In Game 5 of the 1976 Finals, Garfield Heard hit a 20-foot jumper from the top of the key as the horn went off to force the first triple-overtime in Finals history.

Top NBA Finals Moments Index

The Game: 1976 Finals, Game 5

The Series Situation: Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics tied, 2-2

The Play: With one second left, Garfield Heard catches Curtis Perry’s inbounds pass, turns and hits a 20-foot jumper from the top of the key as the horn sounds to force the first triple-overtime in Finals history.

The Significance: It has long been regarded as the greatest game in Finals history for all that happened, especially at the end of the second overtime. Perry gave the Suns a 110-109 lead with four seconds left, but John Havlicek raced the length of the floor to drop in a 15-foot banker that touched off a celebration at Boston Garden. Fans stormed the floor. Referee Richie Powers was attacked on the court by a fan.

When order was restored, one second was put back on the clock. The Suns had no timeouts, but Paul Westphal intentionally called a timeout Phoenix did not have. It gave Boston a free throw, which was converted for a two-point lead, but also gave the Suns an opportunity to advance the ball to mid-court and set up the Perry-to-Heard play. While the Suns got to celebrate then, the Celtics eventually won the game 128-126 and then closed out the series in Game 6 to wrap up their 13th championship.

Fran Blinebury

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