Ramon Harris’ buzzer-beater gives GR win over OKC

Kevin Murphy, Grand Rapids Drive

A miraculous buzzer-beating three by Ramon Harris gave the Grand Rapids Drive (7-7) a dramatic win over the Oklahoma City Blue (8-7) at home on Saturday night, 103-102.

The Drive did not trail until the fourth quarter and led by as many as 15 points, but the Blue came charging back and outscored Grand Rapids 54-43 in the second half to force the game down to the wire. It was the third consecutive win for the Drive and the third consecutive loss for Oklahoma City.

After OKC pulled ahead late in the fourth, Grand Rapids initially had a chance to tie the game with 12 seconds left trailing by one, but the Blue stole the ball and the Drive sent Daniel Hamilton to the free-throw line.

Hamilton split the pair, and Grand Rapids called timeout with 0.9 seconds left. Zeke Upshaw’s inbound pass crossed nearly the entire court to Harris, who hit the contested three-pointer as time expired. Harris, playing in just his second game for the Drive after being waived by Iowa, finished with 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

It was a night for impressive statistical feats for the Drive. One night after teammate Jordan Crawford tied the franchise record with six made three-pointers, Kevin Murphy equaled that total for the second time this season. He finished with 24 points. Crawford had 26 off the bench, and Ray McCallum fell just short of a triple-double with 11 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists.  The Drive also equaled a franchise record with 20 made three-pointers.

The Blue had some strong performances of their own, of course. Daniel Hamilton had 31 points, 12 rebounds and knocked down five three-pointers. Dakari Johnson shook off a slow start to finish with 17 points and 15 rebounds, including what would have been the game-winning basket if not for Harris’ buzzer-beater.

The Drive did not look like a team coming off a back-to-back early in the game, as they jumped out to a 26-13 advantage in the first quarter and led by nine at its completion. Crawford and Murphy were both in double digits for the Drive by the end of the first, combining to hit five of the Drive’s seven first-quarter three-pointers.

Grand Rapids’ lead hovered around the double-digit mark for most of the second, as they scored 31 points in the second for a 60-48 halftime lead. They headed to the locker room shooting an incredible 64 percent (11-of-17) from three-point range. Crawford had 18 points at halftime, while McCallum had already collected nine assists.

OKC came out strong in the third quarter, trimming the Drive’s lead down within six a couple times and opening the quarter on a 16-11 run, but the Drive held it together and entered the fourth quarter leading by nine.

This did not deter the Blue from making another big push, though, as Hamilton nailed two three-pointers in a row to give the Blue their first lead of the game, 92-90 with five minutes to go. It was a see-saw battle from then on, all the way until the final buzzer.

The Drive got up nearly double the three-point attempts as the much bigger Blue roster managed. They also had 22 assists to Oklahoma City’s 14.

Despite the disparity from deep, the Blue made their comeback by controlling and dominating the paint. The Drive were just 9-of-23 in the paint, not even attempting as many shots as the Blue made, as Oklahoma city went 26-of-49 inside.

This game concluded a seven-game home stand for the Drive, who will head to Toronto to play Raptors 905 on Dec. 20 at 11 a.m. The Blue have wrapped up a three-game road trip and now head home, next hosting Rio Grande Valley on Dec. 20.