#9. 12/28/12 – James Johnson vs. New York
James Johnson was in his first and only season with the team in late 2012 when he hit one of the 10 buzzer-beaters up to that point in Sacramento Kings’ history.
The Kings were taking on the New York Knicks in late December of that year in what was one of the more difficult seasons to watch. The Kings were in the thick of the Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons years, which were easily forgettable. The Kings were 10-19 at the time, the Knicks a solid 21-9. New York was without their best weapon in Carmelo Anthony, which evened the scales a bit. The Kings even held a 27 point first-half lead before the Knicks eventually chipped away and took the lead.
Sacramento cut New York’s lead to 2 with around 30 seconds remaining but needed to get a stop, and that they did. DeMarcus Cousins stole an entry pass from Jason Kidd with 16 seconds remaining and the Kings were off to the races. An early shot by Isaiah Thomas rimmed out for an offensive rebound, and then all hell broke loose. Thomas elevated and threw an off-balance pass to Salmons in the corner who made a panicked jump pass. The ball landed in Johnson’s hand, but it was likely intended for Francisco Garcia who was standing about three feet behind him.
He didn’t have time to think. Johnson gathered, a threw up a desperation heave that swished home.
A few fun facts about this buzzer-beater: it was Johnson’s first successful three-point attempt of the season, and one of just two he would make all year. He attempted 21 overall, giving him an abysmal 9% mark from beyond the arc. He shot 36% in 2019-’20.