With 2020 in the rear view mirror, Wagerbop will now rank our top-10 plays in sports from the past year.
Here is the logic behind the plays picked for our top 10:
Pretty good plays in huge moments trump great plays in garbage time. The moment is key. A game-winning routine layup is more exciting to watch and relive than a windmill 360 dunk in the 2nd quarter. The bigger the moment, the higher up the list the play ascended.
Remember, this is a biased list. Hockey, soccer, tennis, cricket, and golf don’t get a lot of love here, so a play from one of these sports really had to wow us to get into the top 10.
Let’s get the 2020 highlight reel started and relive these great moments.
10. DK Metcalf Chases Down Budda Baker
Perhaps the greatest effort play of 2020.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a horrible pick to Cardinals safety Budda Baker with a running start the other way – sure pick 6 touchdown, right?
Wide receiver DK Metcalf had an outside shot of catching Baker, but he had to get on his horse. Many receivers would have simply given up on the play and surrendered the score.
Metcalf gave full effort – sprinting the length of the field to catch Budda Baker inside the 10-yard line.
The best part about this play is that the Seahawks defense held Arizona for a field goal. Metcalf effectively saved his team 4 points. Seattle wound up losing this game in overtime, but it would not have gotten that far without this fantastic effort.
9. Jamal Murray Splits Double and Finishes with 360 Layup
Staving off elimination to the Jazz in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, Murray controlled the ball near half court in a 4-point game late in the 3rd quarter.
Teammate Jerami Grant (#9) came out to start a 2-man pick-n-roll game with Murray. Jazz defender Georges Niang (#31) jumped in front of Murray with a hard hedge. Murray smoothly dribbled through what became a soft double team and took the ball into the paint.
Here’s the problem. The Jazz have the Stifle Tower – Rudy Gobert (#27) – protecting the rim. Gobert is a shot-blocking specialist – averaging north of 2 blocks per game in each full season of his career.
Murray needed to come up with something special to get the ball around Gobert and into the hoop. Here’s what the Nuggets guard decided to do.
This play was not in vain. The Nuggets won Game 5, then won Game 6, and then won Game 7 – taking the series after being down 3-1.
8. 3 Blocks on One Play by Lakers
What are some common knocks on the modern NBA? Lazy effort and bad defense are two big ones.
That’s exactly why we like this play so much. In a high-intensity playoff game, the Lakers blocked 3 jump shots on one play. 3 of them!
The first was a Gary Trent 3-point attempt blocked by Danny Green. Trent got the ball back and took it in for a little 8-foot jumper where he was blocked once again by Anthony Davis.
Trent collected the ball once again and said, “I’m done trying to shoot against this team”. Trent kicked it out to fellow Blazers guard Damian Lillard who tried a 3-pointer himself. Danny Green registered his second block in as many seconds, sending Dame Time’s shot behind him out of bounds.
Of course, the Lakers went on to win the series and the entire NBA Finals.
7. Rahm Skips Ball Across Pond for Hole-in-One at Masters
Let’s be honest here – golf is not a very exciting sport to watch. It is not an open sport (one where the athletes must react to external stimuli). Golf is full of closed, premeditated movements with no time limit.
For a golf shot to make this list – especially as high as #7 – it has to be pretty special.
Did you know that if you hit a golf ball correctly it can skip across a body of water rather than sink into it? Jon Rahm knew this fact and used it to his advantage during the biggest golf tournament of the year – the Masters.
Check out one of the coolest hole-in-ones in history.
Although Rahm did not win the Masters, he finished tied for 7th, which came with a payout of a little over $350K. Had Rahm finished just 2 strokes lower on the board, his payout would have decreased by $135K. You could argue this shot was worth $135,000 for the 26-year-old.
6. Joaquin Buckley Spinning Knockout Kick
Even those who don’t follow the UFC can appreciate this awesome spinning knockout kick from Joaquin Buckley delivered on Impa Kasanganay.
5. Antti Raanta Scorpion Save
The play begins when Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach gets a good look at the goal but is blocked by Coyotes goalie Antti Rannta, sliding to his right on his belly.
With the goal temporarily open, the puck squirts back out front to Chicago forward Brandon Saad. Saad is licking his chops staring at the wide open goal. The only opposition is Raanta laying on his belly. Raanta has one option to stop this puck … and he goes for it.
The Coyotes lost this game 3-2 in a shootout, but it would have been over in regulation without this brilliant save by Raanta.
4. Manuel Margot Flips Over Wall to Make the Catch
It’s the ALCS – Rays vs Astros – Game 2 – 2nd inning. Because of COVID, the game is being played at Petco Park in San Diego.
Tampa jumps out to an early 3-0 lead but Houston is knocking on the door with 2 runners in scoring position with 2 outs and George Springer at the plate.
Springer fouls the 1-1 pitch deep down the right field line – it’s heading out of play. Rays right fielder – Manuel Margot – initially has trouble seeing the ball in the sunny San Diego sky. His momentum keeps taking him toward the side wall in deep right field foul territory.
If Margot can make this catch, it will get the Rays out of an early jam and preserve their early lead – suffocating Houston early on in this series. Check this play out.
Some may remember that Margot played for San Diego before coming to Tampa. This was his original home park. The outfielder is not familiar with right field, however, as he played a grand total of 0 games in right field at Petco in his stint there. That’s right, Margot had never played right field before in this park.
It took some guts for Margot to allow himself to flip over this wall. As the announcers point out, that is quite a fall. The ground is not at field level on the other side of that fence. It drops off several feet.
The Rays would take Game 2 and the series, but fell to the Dodgers in the World Series.
3. OG Anunoby Quick-Release Game-Winner vs Celtics
It’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Celtics have taken Games 1 and 2. The Raptors need this one to keep their heads above water in the series.
Toronto is down 2 with just .5 seconds remaining and the ball side out. It takes about .3-.4 seconds to catch and shoot the basketball. The Raptors don’t have time to dilly dally.
Raptors HC Nick Nurse elected to have guard Kyle Lowry inbound the basketball. This is significant because Lowry is one of the best 3-point shooters the Raptors have. Nurse figured it would be smart to have his best passer inbound, however, and Lowry fit that bill.
Celticas HC Brad Stevens countered by checking legal giant Tacko Fall into the game. Fall stands 7’5 and boasts a wingspan of 8’4. Tacko’s role in the game? Guard the inbound and make Lowry’s job as difficult as possible.
The play begins. Fred VanVleet tries to get open but is obviously the focus of the Celtics’ defense and cannot get free. Pascal Siakam is locked down himself by Celtics guard Marcus Smart – Boston’s best defender.
Lowry must throw the ball all the way across the court to the only open man on his team – OG Anunoby. Keep in mind, Anunoby must catch and shoot this ball right away as the clock reads 0.5.
The Raptors would eventually drop this series in 7 games, but Anunoby’s heroics helped it go the distance.
2. Luka Doncic Deep Game-Winner vs Clippers
The Clippers and Mavericks were locked in a grueling Western Conference Quarterfinals matchup. LA took Game 1, the Mavs responded by taking the second game, but LA bounced back with a Game 3 win.
Down 2-1 in the series, Dallas needed Game 4 to break their way or they would be tasked with winning 3 straight games to stay alive.
Fast forward to OT. Dallas is down a point with the ball side out and 3.7 seconds remaining. We all know who the ball is going to – Luka Doncic.
It’s Luka’s game to win. The Mavs are more than willing to do or die with a Doncic 3-point attempt here.
Although Doncic’s heroics won them this game, Dallas fell in 6 games to the superior Clippers.
1. The Hail Murray
The Arizona Cardinals – led by quarterback Kyler Murray and star wideout DeAndre Hopkins – are down 4 points to the Buffalo Bills with just 11 seconds remaining.
The Cards have the ball on the Bills’ 43 with no timeouts remaining. Arizona’s only hope is to take an endzone shot.
Murray gets flushed out of the pocket and narrowly avoids a sack. To give his receivers more time to get downfield, Murray sprints toward the sideline.
With defenders closing in and the sideline right on him, Murray needs to unload the ball downfield in the direction of Hopkins and pray …