The buzzer-beater is an abrupt and often spectacular ending to intense competition. It has the power to rouse a crowd of thousands into a state of ecstasy and bring a roster of professional athletes to their knees.
People appreciate and remember buzzer-beaters partly due to the difficulty of the shot. A contested, fadeaway jumper from 30 feet is more remarkable than an open layup. The amount of time a player has to release a shot is also significant.
Game-winning buzzer-beaters are generally more exciting than shots that merely tie a game. Overtime ups the ante for last-second shots, as does a game with playoff implications.
Sometimes a buzzer-beater takes on added meaning within the context of a particular game. Game-winners that cap off a comeback are often the most dramatic, and those that extend a winning streak, add to a historic individual performance or secure a win against a rival are particularly meaningful.
Here are the top 10 buzzer-beaters in the NBA this season.