Sun, Dec 23, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Top 10 plays of the year


The Boston Red Sox’ Andrew Benintendi makes a diving catch with the bases loaded for the final out in the ninth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series in Houston on Oct. 17.

Photo: AP / The Boston Herald

This was a year of moments.

Justify won the Triple Crown. The US beat Canada in a shootout for gold in women’s hockey at the Pyeongchang Olympics. Stefon Diggs engineered a miracle in Minneapolis to win a playoff game for the Vikings. Roger Federer won a point at the US Open without getting the ball over the net. Tiger Woods walked down the 18th fairway as a winner again.

All of them spectacular.

Still, none of them made the list of the plays of the year.

Here are the best plays in sports for 2018:

10: Holtby saves the Caps

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby might have turned the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final around with one save.

Alex Tuch had a chance to tie Game 2 of the series with about two minutes left in regulation.

Alone in the slot, he took a pass and had tons of open net to shoot at from right on the doorstep — only to be denied by Holtby, who stabbed his stick at the air and just managed to find the puck.

“Thank God he’s our goalie,” Caps star Alex Ovechkin said.

The Washington Capitals went on to win the series.

9: Harden breaks ankles

Poor Wesley Johnson. All he was trying to do was guard Houston star James Harden, and he ended up on the ground as an unwitting participant in a highlight for the ages.

Harden crossed Johnson over and caused him to stumble to the floor — called “breaking ankles” in basketball vernacular — and it only got worse from there for the Los Angeles Clippers guard.

Harden stared at him, held the ball for nearly three seconds, then made a three-pointer.

8: Messi in a flash

Argentina’s Lionel Messi, even in a full sprint, simply does things that hardly anyone else in the soccer-playing world can pull off.

He took a long pass in a FIFA World Cup game against Nigeria, controlled it with his left thigh, then tapped it forward with his left foot — the ball had not hit the ground yet — then stutter-stepped his way to the ball and delivered a right-footed strike into the far side of the net.

7: Bump, kick, spike

The pass from Kailey Elrod was not perfect, and all Talia Watson could do was get her foot on the ball and flick it skyward.

By the way, this was not soccer. This was volleyball.

The Cedar Crest College Falcons of Allentown, Pennsylvania, had match point against the College of Staten Island on Sept. 6, and Elrod’s bump from the baseline was low.

Watson got her foot on the ball — yes, it is legal — to extend the point, and eventually she had a more conventional set to set up a kill that capped Cedar Crest’s 3-0 victory.

6: Sling and a prayer

Julian McGarvey is a quarterback at Marist College, and his best throw of this year had nothing to do with football. Down by two with time running out in New York state’s Section 1 Class A boys basketball championship game, McGarvey intercepted a long pass, stumbled, gathered himself — some angles show that he did not travel, either — and heaved a 21m desperation try that dropped to give Ardsley a 52-51 win over Tappan Zee.

Ardsley went on to make the state championship game, before eventually falling.

5: LeBron saves the day

Jimmy Butler tried a layup with about three seconds left in overtime, only to have it swatted away by LeBron James, who tracked the play perfectly and rejected Butler’s shot with ease.

Moments later, James outdid himself — again.

After a timeout, James delivered Cleveland a win over Minnesota when he took an inbound pass, turned and swished a fadeaway over Butler to help the Cavs top the Timberwolves 140-138.

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