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21 great basketball plays of 2021

21 Great Basketball Plays From 2021

It’s been a much better year of basketball with fans in the stands (and games actually happening), and we want to look back at some of the sport’s best plays from 2021.

This was published with a month left in the year, so we’re bringing it back now to relive some of the best basketball moments of 2021. With so much to look back on, you’ll have plenty to help you enjoy this trip back down memory lane.

Full disclosure: this probably won’t be the 21 best basketball plays of the year, because I’m sure some things slipped through the cracks. But this is a collection of 21 of the best basketball plays from 2021, in no particular order. If you know of plays that didn’t make the cut here, please send them our way.

This article was originally published Dec. 2, 2021.

21 Great Basketball Plays from 2021

1: Trae Young Wins First-Round Opener

Trae Young’s teardrop with 0.9 seconds to go in Game 1 of Atlanta’s first-round series against the Knicks gave the Hawks an insurmountable 107-105 lead to start their playoffs off right.

2: Jalen Suggs Sends Gonzaga to the Title Game

I’ll just let this one speak for itself.

3: Stanford’s Defensive Stand Wins National Championship

Stanford stood tall defensively in the final seconds of the national championship game to hold onto a one-point lead to win the ultimate prize. Enjoy the last few minutes of what was a remarkable contest.

4: KD Forces OT in Game 7

Overtime ultimately didn’t go Brooklyn’s way, but this gave the Nets an extra five minutes of life when they were otherwise dead.

5: Brittney Griner Blocks A’ja Wilson to Punch Finals Ticket

Brittney Griner denied A’ja Wilson at the rim in the final seconds of Game 5 of the WNBA Semifinals to keep the Mercury in the lead and save the contest and series for Phoenix.

6: Controversial Call Decides UConn-Baylor

A no-call in the final seconds of the Elite Eight game between UConn and Baylor played a big role in the outcome, making half the participants jubilant and the other half, well, not.

7: Alex Reese Sends It to Overtime

Alex Reese nailed a triple from deep at the horn to tie Alabama’s Sweet 16 game against UCLA at 65 at the end of regulation. It didn’t go the Crimson Tide’s way in the extra period, but this play remains one of the best in basketball this year.

8: Half-Court Heave Helps Houston Over Memphis

Tramon Mark connected from half court to avoid overtime and give Houston the win over Memphis in regulation.

9: Notre Dame Goes Coast-to-Coast

A fantastic defensive play on one end and a great, quick-thinking possession on the other separated Notre Dame and Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament.

10: Khris Middleton Wins Game 1 vs. Heat

Khris Middleton drilled a fadeaway, contested jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining in overtime to give Milwaukee a 109-107 separation from Miami to win Game 1 of the first-round series.

11: Rui Hachimura Dunks on Pau Gasol in Tokyo

Rui Hachimura put Pau Gasol on a poster in his home country during the Olympics.

12: Courtney Vandersloot’s No-Looker

Truthfully, Vandersloot put together so many jaw-dropping dimes this year, especially in the playoffs. I had to choose one to be on this list of the year’s best basketball plays, but there are many more I could have included instead.

13: Mac McClung Decides It in Austin

There would be no overtime in Austin when Texas Tech came to town in January, courtesy of Mac McClung.

14: Keifer Sykes Calls Tournament

Keifer Sykes hit the Elam Ending-winner in the 2021 TBT Championship Game, giving Boeheim’s Army its first-ever title in the event and winning himself and his team the $1 million prize.

15: J.P. Moorman Stuns the Sun Devils

J.P. Moorman stunned the Sun Devils with his full-court swish that gave UC Riverside the one-point win over Arizona State.

16: Ja Morant Reserve Jam

Ja Morant made jaws drop when he finished off an alley-oop with a reverse jam against the Utah Jazz in the playoffs.

17: Karlis Lasmanis Clinches Gold

Karlis Lasmanis hit the biggest shot of his life to clinch gold for Latvia in men’s 3×3 basketball at the Tokyo Olympics. Enjoy this five-minute recap that concludes with his game winner.

18: LeBron James Off the Backboard

In Game 4 of the Lakers’ first-round series against the Suns, LeBron James took an alley-oop off the glass from Alex Caruso to rock the rim.

19: Virginia at the Buzzer

Reece Beekman sent Virginia to the ACC Tournament Semifinals with this cold-blooded shot at the buzzer against Syracuse.

20: Always A Brave Makes Epic Comeback

Always A Brave executed one of the greatest comebacks in TBT history, and the final basket brought out the passion, to say the least.

21: Blocked by Antetokounmpo

In the late portion of Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Giannis Antetokounmpo blocked DeAndre Ayton at the rim, protecting Milwaukee’s two-point lead and giving the Bucks the foundation they needed to go on to win the game.

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