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Which Game-Winner Was Better: LeBron's or Rose's?

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Rose and James traded game-winning threes in Chicago. Which was more impressive?

Which Game-Winner Was Better: LeBron's or Rose's?

Over the weekend, Derrick Rose and LeBron James elevated the level of drama and intrigue in the playoff matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers with a spirited game of one-upmanship. Each player won a game for his team with a buzzer-beating three-pointer as time expired, on inspiring the home crowd and the other deflating it. So which was better?

In Game Three on Friday night with the game level at 96, Rose took the side inbounds pass from Mike Dunleavy Jr. and just 3 seconds left. After a screen from Taj Gibson (that forced a switch from Iman Shumpert's defense to Tristan Thompson's) gave Rose just enough daylight to pull up for a slightly off-balance three. The shot soared through the air before banking home and sending the United Center into hysterics.

On Sunday, LeBron and the Cavaliers faced a nearly identical situation. With the game tied at 84, Cleveland had the ball under its own basket with 1.5 seconds remaining. Matthew Dellavedova passed it to James, who created separation between himself and Jimmy Butler with a cut to the corner. James caught, rose, fired, and coldly drained the game-winning three as the buzzer sounded.

So which buzzer-beater was better? It's hard to choose, but Rose tops LeBron here for a couple of reasons. To start, Rose launched his three from a solid four feet behind the line. James was in the corner, the shortest of all the three-point shots, and while he was fading away into Chicago's bench during his shot, Rose wasn't exactly going straight up either.

Then factor in the celebrations. Both players remained relatively calm following their makes, but Rose was the steelier of the two. He calmly jogged toward his teammates and let them wrap him up. He also had the luxury of being in the middle of the court. LeBron buried his shot from the corner and his teammates engulfed him in an awkward spot near the scorer's table. Rose's celebration was much more graceful and organic in that sense, and while it takes serious stones to quiet an entire arena with a make, seeing a shot send over 20,000 into hysterics is much cooler.

The real winners here? Us basketball fans that get to see these two teams continue to challenge each other. It doesn't seem like they will be able to outdo themselves, after this weekend, but as Rose and LeBron are reminding us, anything is possible.

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