Memorial Day Miracle

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The Memorial Day Miracle is a game-winning three-point field goal by Sean Elliott in Game 2 of the 1999 Western Conference Finals between the Portland Trail Blazers and the San Antonio Spurs at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on May 31, 1999, Memorial Day.

The play[edit]

Damon Stoudamire of the Blazers was fouled with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter, he hit one of two free throws to make the Blazers' lead 85–83. The Spurs called a timeout to advance the ball to half-court. After the timeout, Spurs guard Mario Elie inbounded the ball past a diving Augmon to forward Sean Elliott.

Elliott caught the inbounds pass near the sideline, he stayed on his toes while turning to shoot a three-pointer, careful not to set his heels down out of bounds which would have caused a turnover. With Rasheed Wallace running at him trying to block the shot, Elliott arched the ball over Wallace's outstretched hand and into the basket with nine seconds left to give the Spurs an 86–85 lead.[1] Portland failed to score in the remaining time, and the Spurs, who had trailed for the entire game prior to Elliott's basket, celebrated on the court.


The "Miracle" designation relates to the combination of circumstances involved:

  1. Elliott played with a serious kidney condition that required kidney transplant surgery and would likely have not been involved in the game had he gone through with the transplant surgery sooner.[2]
  2. The Spurs trailed by 18 (52–34) early in the third quarter; more often than not, a lead like that holds up in a playoff game.
  3. The Spurs' last play succeeded despite a near steal by Stacey Augmon, near block by Wallace, and near turnover by Elliott.[3]


The Spurs won the next two in Portland for a four-game sweep, then defeated the New York Knicks in the 1999 NBA Finals 4 games to 1 to win their first NBA Title.


  1. ^ Christopher J. Walsh (2006). No time outs: what it's really like to be a sportswriter today. Taylor Trade Pub. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-58979-302-6. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  2. ^ Pat Williams; Michael Connelly (2012). NBA List Jam!: The Most Authoritative and Opinionated Rankings from Doug Collins, Bob Ryan, Peter Vecsey, Jeanie Bu. Running Press Book Publishers. pp. 312–. ISBN 978-0-7624-4686-5. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  3. ^ John Hareas (2003). NBA's greatest. DK Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7894-9743-7. Retrieved 10 June 2013.

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