by Micah Hart
Before we get into the nitty gritty details, I must make one correction to the Internet this morning. I’ve seen it written in several places that this was the first GWBB of Kevin Durant‘s career, but that is a falsity. I know, because I was there.
Early in KD’s rookie season, before the franchise moved to Oklahoma City, (sorry to bring up painful memories, Seattle fans), the Sonics came to Atlanta to take on the Hawks. In a double-OT game, Durant hit a long turnaround three to give Seattle a 126-123 win. In fact (consults Internet), here it is:
So, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the specifics of last night’s heroics.
Once again, the Horry scale examines a shot in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.
Difficulty: I don’t know if it’s fair to judge Durant differently than other humans, but while I’d consider this a difficult shot for most players, I’ve seen him play long enough to know he can hit this shot in his sleep. I may even mean that literally. Taking Durant’s range out of the equation though, fallaway 3-pointers, especially from the deepest spot around the 3-point line, are pretty tough.
Game Situation: The Knicks and Thunder were tied at 98-98, and OKC inbounded the ball on their final possession with 6.5 seconds left. All in all, plenty of time to get a good shot off (almost certainly a better one than they ended up with), and no immediate consequences for a misfire.
Importance: I’ll say medium. The Knicks and Thunder have no rivalry to speak of, and play in separate conferences. However, the Thunder are in a dogfight with the Jazz for the Northwest Division title, and currently sit in a three-way tie for the third-best record in the West (both OKC and Dallas are 28-15, while New Orleans is 29-16, percentage points behind but still 8.5 games behind the Spurs). With a crowded, talented field in the Western Conference, home-court advantage could be a big chip come playoff time.
Celebration: Remember a few paragraphs ago when I said I thought Durant could hit shots like this in his sleep? Well, that’s pretty much his reaction to it as well. If I hit a shot like that, I’d at least do the “beat my chest three times” routine or pop my jersey, but Durant just walks confidently down the court, then grins sheepishly when his teammates get to him. No one seems all that surprised, or even particularly excited. I guess it’s like Joe Paterno said: “Act like you’ve been there before.”
3 Horrys. A shot like this is slightly difficult to grade, as it’s hard for me to separate the shooter from the shot. But given that it was a tie game, and given the team’s somewhat muted reaction, I don’t think I can give it more than three, even though really, it was technically a more difficult make than many of the season’s previous Horry considerations.
What do you think?