Top NBA Finals moments: West's buzzer-beater in 1970

Top NBA Finals moments: Jerry West, 1970

NBA.com Staff

Top NBA Finals Moments Index

The Game: 1970 Finals, Game 3

The Series Situation: Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks tied, 1-1.

The Play: After Dave DeBusschere’s short jumper gives N.Y. a two-point lead with three seconds left, L.A. has no timeouts. Jerry West gets the inbounds pass from Wilt Chamberlain, dribbles twice and launches a 60-foot rainbow that forces overtime.

The Significance: Ultimately it became one more tortured Finals remembrance in the career of West, because the Knicks won the game 111-108 and took a 2-1 lead in the series. Years later, West would say he “still can’t believe the Lakers lost that game.”

The series eventually became remembered for Game 7 and the limping appearance of center Willis Reed at Madison Garden. Reed had suffered a leg injury in Game 5 and was not expected to play, but gave the crowd and his teammates an emotional lift when he walked out of the tunnel. Reed scored the first two baskets of the game Then guard Walt Frazier took over, running up 36 points, 19 assists and seven rebounds as the Knicks won their first NBA championship. West reached The Finals nine times in his career, but won only a single title (1972).

Fran Blinebury

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