Reading Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow really changed how I look at the end of basketball games. We spend so much time remembering/talking about the end of a close game, as if that last shot or that last blown call was more important than the others-- they're not. Two points is always just two points. The blown calls at the 8:13 and 12:45 mark were just as consequential as the one at 39:49. The last shot taken doesn't "win the game," the final score is a cumulative outcome of all shots made. If you lost by one point, then any of your missed field goals or free throws would have made the difference. Kahneman calls this obsession with the final moments "the tyranny of the remembering self."
Kentucky fans (myself included) suffer the '92 Laettner shot every year. There's no need. Had he missed any of his shots, or Kentucky made just one more shot or free throw the outcome would have been different. The final play was just one of a large number.
The Michigan economist @justinwolfers reminded me during the championship game that Michigan's benching of Trey Burke after picking up his 2nd foul in the first half was also illogical. It doesn't matter if Burke plays the first 30 minutes or the last 30 minutes of a game, two points are two points whenever they're scored. (This would have taken away the captivating Spike Albrecht show. It was illogical to keep playing Albrecht in second half, something called regression to the mean-- he's not a good player and it showed.) There is no such thing as "crunch time." The end of the game is no more important than the beginning. Invite an economist to watch a game with you whenever you want it ruined.
A booke related to the subject that I'd highly recommend:
Dean Oliver now works for ESPN.com, this book is dated but still the bible of statistical analysis of basketball.