Memorial Day Miracle

Memorial Day Miracle

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


The play

Portland, who narrowly lost Game 1, emphatically outplayed the Spurs in the first half of Game 2. In the third quarter, Portland increased its lead to eighteen points before the Spurs responded with an 8-2 scoring run. Blazers coach Mike Dunleavy called a time out to break the Spurs momentum, but the Spurs scored nine unanswered points and cut Portland's lead to three.

The momentum would shift back and forth until Portland's Damon Stoudamire was fouled late in the fourth quarter. He made one of two free throws, extending Portland's lead to 85-83 with just twelve seconds left. The Spurs called time out, which by rule allowed them to advance the ball to halfcourt. Following the time out, Spurs guard Mario Elie inbounded the ball past a diving Stacey Augmon to forward Sean Elliott.

Elliott, who was privately battling a kidney ailment which would require kidney transplant surgery, caught the inbounds pass very near the sideline. He stayed balanced on his tiptoes while turning to shoot a three point shot, careful not to set his heels down on the sideline and turn the ball over. With Rasheed Wallace leaping at him trying to block the shot attempt, Elliott arched his attempt over Wallace's outstretched hand and into the hoop. The basket gave the Spurs an 86-85 lead, their first lead of the ballgame. Time expired some nine seconds later, and the 86-85 score held up as a final.


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

  1. Elliott was playing with a serious kidney condition and would likely have not been involved in the game had he gone through with the transplant surgery sooner.
  2. The Spurs trailed by eighteen points in the third quarter; more often than not, a lead that large that late holds up in a playoff game.
  3. The Spurs' last play itself succeeded despite a near steal (Augmon), a near block (Wallace) and a near turnover (Elliott shooting from his toes with heels above the sideline).


The Spurs went on to win the last two games in Portland for a four game sweep, then defeated the New York Knicks in the 1999 NBA Finals, four games to one, to win their first NBA Championship.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Memorial Coliseum (Portland) — For other uses, see Memorial Coliseum (disambiguation). Memorial Coliseum Location 300 North Winning Street (or 1401 North Wheeler Avenue) Portland, OR 97227 …   Wikipedia

  • Day One (film) — Day One Directed by Joseph Sargent Written by David W. Rintels (teleplay) Starring Brian Dennehy David Strathairn Michael Tucker …   Wikipedia

  • Memorial Stadium (Baltimore) — Memorial Stadium The Old Grey Lady of 33rd Street The World s Largest Outdoor Insane Asylum Location 900 East 33rd Street Baltimore, Maryland 2 …   Wikipedia

  • Memorial Tournament — Tournament information Location Dublin, Ohio Established 1976 Course(s) Muirfield Village …   Wikipedia

  • Memorial Tower — of LSU General information Type Clock tower Architectural style …   Wikipedia

  • Miracle on 34th Street — For other uses, see Miracle on 34th Street (disambiguation). Miracle on 34th Street Original movie poster Directed by George Seaton …   Wikipedia

  • Miracle on Ice — This article is about the ice hockey match. For the episode of The Penguins of Madagascar, see Miracle On Ice (The Penguins of Madagascar episode). The Miracle on Ice is the name in American popular culture for a medal round men s ice hockey game …   Wikipedia

  • Miracle on Manchester — The Fabulous Forum on Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood, California …   Wikipedia

  • Memorial Acclamation — In Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and some Anglican and Methodist churches, the Memorial Acclamation is a part of the Eucharistic Prayer. It is sung or recited by the congregation. It is most commonly used after the Words of Institution. Contents 1… …   Wikipedia

  • NBA on Christmas Day — The National Basketball Association s Christmas Day Games is a series of games played on Christmas Day. It has been an annual occurrence since the league s inception in 1946. Unlike with the NFL on Thanksgiving, there are no fixed opponents for… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.