De'Aaron Fox beat the Heat with what might be the year's coolest game-winner

De’Aaron Fox already had an NBA game-winner under his belt. Now, though, the Sacramento Kings’ rookie point guard might just have the most bad-ass victory-sealer of the year to date.

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After trailing the Miami Heat by 12 with just over seven minutes to go at AmericanAirlines Arena, the visiting Kings had clawed their way back to within one point, 88-87, entering the closing seconds. With a chance to win it, Dave Joerger put the ball in the hands of Bogdan Bogdanovic — an NBA rookie, but a European vet who’s been taking and making big shots in big games for years — and let him go to work. Fox sprinted up to the 3-point line to trigger the action with a screen, before popping free to the left wing. Bogdanovic went away from a second screen set by big man Willie Cauley-Stein, driving right before stopping and popping a stepback jumper with just under six seconds left on the game clock.

The off-balance shot caught the rim, then bounced up off the backboard and appeared to be going clear … until Fox, to whom Miami guard Goran Dragic had completely stopped paying attention when the shot went up, streaked in from the wing, knifed between three Heat would-be rebounders, soared up above the rim, caught the carom just as it exited the cylinder, and slammed down the offensive rebound with two hands. My dude got up:

One look at just how high De’Aaron Fox got on the offensive rebound that turned into his game-winning putback dunk. (Screencap via NBA)
And another. My goodness, De’Aaron Fox. (Screencap via NBA)

The thunderous and extremely awesome putback tip dunk — delivered, again, by a 6-foot-3, 20-year-old point guard — gave Sacramento an 89-88 lead with 3.3 seconds left. Miami got one last look at a response, but a long 2-point try by swingman Josh Richardson came up empty, meaning the Kings had snapped a 15-game losing streak in Miami that stretched back to 2001, and that Fox’s act of final-seconds superheroism stood up as the coolest game-winner in recent memory.

The game-winning dunk capped an eventful closing kick for Fox. The No. 5 pick in the 2017 NBA draft threw a honey of a pocket pass off the pick-and-roll for a Cauley-Stein layup that cut Miami’s lead to three. He blew past Dragic and sliced between Hassan Whiteside and James Johnson for a bucket of his own. Then, with the Heat reeling and trying to nurse their lead, he picked Dragic’s pocket at half-court to set up a Buddy Hield dunk that brought Sacramento within one with 1:25 to go.

The final stat line doesn’t look particularly overwhelming — 14 points on 6-for-15 shooting, four assists, three rebounds and a steal in 29 1/2 minutes — but De’Aaron Fox did everything he could to take over this game late, knocking a very good and playoff-bound Miami team back on its heels before delivering about as stylish and memorable a coup de grace as you can ask for, leaving the Heat stunned and an awful lot of Kings fans likely sounding like color commentator Doug Christie:


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Dan Devine is a writer and editor for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@oath.com or follow him on Twitter!

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