There is a phrase that circles the basketball world anytime an NBA game goes to overtime. “Free basketball” are two words that will fly around social media sites whenever two teams fail to find a winner through four quarters of play, as the paying public rejoice in the fact that they’ll be treated to more action than they originally forked out for.
That moniker could well catch on for 888sport customers too, as we will refund losing bets up to £25 on any game that goes to overtime. There have been 14 games that have treated fans to free basketball already this season, with some providing plenty of entertainment. Here’s the best five:
Cleveland Cavaliers 114 Chicago Bulls 108
Cleveland went into the season as the league’s favourites to win the title, thanks to an offseason recruitment drive that saw perennial MVP LeBron James team up with All-Star Kevin Love and the already-in-place former number one draft pick Kyrie Irving.
Their first game was a loss to the New York Knicks and their first win required overtime to down the Chicago Bulls. James, Irving and Love all had big games to seal what was supposed to be a kick-starting win, but things have been a bit bumpy for the Cavs so far.
Friday November 7th
No night in the NBA season has been so giving in terms of free basketball than this one, with three of the 11 games scheduled needing extra play and two of them going to double overtime.
The Charlotte Hornets saw off the Atlanta Hawks by three in the first 2OT game of the night, thanks to new-signing Lance Stephenson banking in a 33-foot jumper off the backboard with 2.7 seconds left.
Elsewhere the Sacramento Kings took a 114-112 win in the other double-overtime encounter, despite being without star-man DeMarcus Cousins for the entirety of the extra period after the centre fouled out in regulation time.
Meanwhile the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic played out what was to be rendered a rather dull battle, inconsiderately only needing one period of overtime to decide the clash, with Orlando prevailing by nine.
Milwaukee Bucks 122 Brooklyn Nets 118
Jason Kidd’s return to the team he coached last season started with resounding boos from Nets fans when his name was announced, but ended with the Bucks coach getting the last laugh in a thrilling triple-overtime win.
The evening wasn’t all about Kidd though, as Brandon Knight stole the show. The point guard missed this wide-open layup as the clock ticked down in the first extra period to give his side the win, but recovered to hit the game-tying three that sent the game into a third period of overtime, then sank the clinching free-throws with five seconds left in the third to claim a fascinating win.
Toronto Raptors 122 Los Angeles Lakers 129
The Raptors have been superb this season to sit on top of the Eastern Conference, while the Lakers have been quite the opposite in the West and own its second-worst record.
Had Kobe Bryant, who may as well take to the court on his own for the rest of the year, drained a free-throw at the end of regulation, the Lakers would have had a shock win.
As it was, that was the outcome anyway, albeit after a period of overtime and with a clearly vendetta-driven Bryant coming away with a 20th career triple-double of 31 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists.
Dallas Mavericks 132 Chicago Bulls 129
The most recent thrilling session of free basketball saw the impressive Mavs outlast the Bulls thanks to the shooting of Monta Ellis.
The shooting guard made three consecutive free throws with the clock winding down to ensure a tied game at the end of the fourth, then made his only three-point shot of the night – Ellis took 35 shots to score his 38 points – in sealing the win at buzzer of the second extra period.