Kevin Durant has already made thousands of baskets in the NBA. He will likely go on to make thousands more before he ultimately hangs up his high-tops. But he may never score another basket as improbable as the off-balance, three-point shot that he added to his career highlight reel in his second game of the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
With his Oklahoma City Thunder trailing the Memphis Grizzlies, 98-93, in the final minute of Game 2 of their first-round series, Durant delivered a miraculous four-point play that will be remembered long after the result of this game is forgotten. After receiving a pass from teammate Russell Westbrook in the corner of the court, the four-time NBA scoring champion heaved a desperation shot attempt toward the rim as Grizzlies center Marc Gasol pushed him out of bounds. Despite the foul and the off-balance release, the shot somehow fell through the net at Chesapeake Energy Arena with 13.3 seconds remaining.
(GIF via @BenGolliver)
Durant, dubbed the Slim Reaper for his lithe frame and lethal shooting touch, coolly drained the ensuing free throw to pull the Thunder within a point of the visiting Grizzlies, 98-97. After the Grizzlies added a free throw to their tally on their next trip down the floor, the Thunder forced overtime with another unlikely score, a putback layup by Kendrick Perkins, at the buzzer.
"Basically it's just going to be a slugfest," Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said of the matchup after the game, via The Associated Press. "We're going to pound it. They're going to run it. Whoever can come up with the most stops pretty much wins the game."
Withstanding the fourth-quarter surge by the Thunder, the Grizzlies would get enough stops in overtime to escape with a 111-105 win to even the best-of-seven series 1-1.
"Gotta move past it," Durant said after the defeat.
Both the Thunder and Grizzlies will have to move past this single game but NBA fans won't likely move past Durant's timeless shot any time soon.