A few quick buckets in basketball can make any lead disappear, no matter how deep the hole or how little time left. As the Boston Celtics were pained to discover on Monday, when they were stunned late by the Phoenix Suns. With 11 seconds left the Celtics led by one and had point guard Isaiah Thomas at the free throw line. But, after the 91 per cent foul shooter made one-of-two, Eric Bledsoe tied the score with four seconds remaining. And then, with the game seemingly set for overtime, the Celtics fumbled the in-bound pass and Suns guard Tyler Ulis drained a buzzer-beating three. Five points in four seconds for one unlikely win. Unlike Phoenix, though, the following men needed no teammates to amass their incredible scoring sprees...

1. Reggie Miller

Eight points in nine seconds. With his Pacers trailing by six points late in game one of their 1995 Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Knicks, Miller produced the impossible with this sequence: three, steal, two, missed Knicks free throws, three. Safe to say Miller's spree is the only one that later became the centrepiece of an entire documentary.

2. Tracy McGrady

Thirteen points in 33 seconds. Unlike Miller, it was only a regular season game, but McGrady's feats were arguably more impressive as his opposition kept edging ahead. Trailing late against the Spurs, McGrady made it his mission to chase down the ever-advancing target, lifting his Rockets with four three-pointers - earning a foul to turn one into a four-point play - and a steal.

3. Xavier Rathan-Mayes

30 points in 4m 38s. Not quite as famous as the exploits of Miller and McGrady but no less mind-blowing. With less than five minutes on the clock, the Florida State guard entered the type of zone athletes are always striving for, shooting eight-of-10 from the field, six-for-eight from deep and eight-of-nine from the line. Unfortunately for Rathan-Mayes, FSU still lost.