by Micah Hart
There have been several nice game-winning shots the last few days that I would love to have written about here on All Ball. Zach Randolph‘s corner shot to beat Dallas. Carmelo Anthony‘s first game-winner as a Knick. Channing Frye‘s repeat performance against the Nets. Alas, those shots all occurred with time left on the clock, and the Horry Scale rules are hard and firm. I am nothing if not slavishly obedient to the rules of my own creation.
Fortunately, Al Jefferson‘s tip-in at the buzzer against the Raptors last night fits snugly without our criteria for Horry inclusion, so let’s dispense with the intro and get to it.
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.
How did Big Al do? Let’s investigate:
Tough to rate. After all, a tip-in like this is pretty much all luck. Unlike, say, Mike Dunleavy‘s GWBB from earlier this season against the Hornets, where he was clearly in position to try to tip the ball directly into the basket, Jefferson’s touch on the ball is almost like a volleyball set that just happens to take the right trajectory into the hoop. He’s obviously trying to tip in the game-winner, but you rarely see a shot go four feet in the air from 10 inches in front of the basket.
Tie ballgame, but it almost doesn’t matter with a tip because there is no time to consider alternatives.
Ever since the Jazz traded Deron Williams to New Jersey, most people have written off Utah in the Western conference playoff race. It’s not an entirely unfair assertion considering they were 2-5 without him before last night’s win. However, there is still talent in Utah, and though it is still struggling, the Jazz are just 1 1/2 games behind Memphis for the No. 8 spot. The playoffs are still a possibility, which makes wins like this one immensely important.
Too muted. Am I right? I suppose Jefferson could feel a little sheepish for getting the winning points on a shot that wasn’t 100 percent intentional, but a game-winner is a game-winner. I’m not demanding the Jazz players pile on top of him, but would a nice group hug be too much to ask?
2 Horrys. It certainly was an unusual buzzer-beater, and a much-needed win for Utah, but between it being a tie game and a somewhat listless celebration, I just don’t think I can go any higher than two.
What do you think?