The 2021-2022 NBA Season marks the association’s 75th year. This season has been historic, from comebacks to buzzer-beaters to a new three-point champion. With professional hoops on almost every night, it can be hard to keep up with everything going on. Here are three key events that tell the story of the league’s historic first half.
Clippers Claw Back Down 35 to win in D.C.
On Tuesday, the Clippers came back to beat the Wizards. Why is this important? Well, dear reader, this tied for the second-largest comeback in NBA history and the largest road comeback in NBA history. Los Angeles did this without their two All-Stars, Kawhi Leonard, who’s missed the entire season thus far, and Paul George, who the Clippers have been without for weeks. Clippers guard Luke Kennard did his best Tracy McGrady impression, scoring seven points in nine seconds, including a four-point play to lead his squad to the largest comeback in franchise history. However, this is nothing new for the Clippers. Los Angeles has three comebacks from a deficit of over 24 or more in January.
While their record may say that they are a team fighting to stay relevant in the Western Conference, context matters. Watch out for these Clippers.
The NBA’s Buzzer Beater Bonanza
Think that you have been seeing more and more buzzer-beating shots on social media lately? You are not the only one. We have already had nine game-winning buzzer-beaters this NBA season, and we have not even made it to All-Star Weekend, only two less than the entirety of last season. The greatest is coming in a match-up between the Pelicans and the Thunder. OKC’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit a heavily contested, fading three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game with just over a second left. Everyone in the arena believed that SGA just sent this one to OT until Devonte’ Graham of the Pelicans turned around and hit a 61-footer to walk it off, the longest game-winning buzzer-beater in NBA history. Shai hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer at home in the next game to beat the Clippers, as mentioned above, by one. If Graham’s full-court heave did not fall, SGA would have been the first player to hit back-to-back game-winners in NBA history until Demar DeRozan did it two weeks later. DeRozan’s first game-winner came in the Bulls’ final game in the year of 2021, hitting an on-the-run, one-footed three-pointer with a defender in his grill to beat the Pacers in Indianapolis. His second came just over a day later in the Bulls’ first game of 2022, hitting a pocket corner three with two defenders on him to beat the previously mentioned Wizards in the nation’s capital.
This season, no lead is safe until the final buzzer sounds.
Pelicans bench reacting to Graham’s miraculous shot
Curry’s Three Point Crown
Stephen Curry: A name synonymous with the three-point shot. He single-handedly changed the way basketball is viewed and played, all the way up to the NBA level. Curry led his team to a 27-7 record, averaging twenty-eight points per game, to start the season. On December 14, 2021, Steph became the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers made while leading his Warriors to a win against the Knicks in the Garden. This moment will go down in infamy, and Curry will go down as the greatest three-point shooter of all time who forever revolutionized the game of basketball. After his record-breaking night, Curry began going through a slump and falling out of the MVP race. Steph went from the MVP front-runner at the start of the season to just outside the top five of the award race, which puts into perspective how consistent NBA MVPs have to play every night to be considered deserving of the award.
Nevertheless, just last week, Curry hit his first career game-winning buzzer-beater, the most recent we have seen this season. A beautiful, smooth step-back-mid-range to beat the Rockets at home. Just when we begin to doubt Steph, we are reminded of his greatness once again.
As the NBA season reaches the All-star break, the association is providing fans with a season to behold.