by Zettler Clay IV
Looks like Tony Parker has company.
In a back-and-forth affair in Milwaukee, point guard Brandon Jennings punctuated a perplexing night (13 assists, but 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting, four turnovers) by nailing a 3-pointer as the buzzer expired to lift the Bucks to 2-0. The game was extremely competitive for the last 28 minutes, with Monta Ellis and Mike Dunleavy Jr. filling up the scoring column for the Bucks until Jennings performed a coup de grace on the Cavs.
For those that are new around these parts, the Horry scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?), and celebration, and gives it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, who is kind of the patron saint of last-second daggers.
How does Mr. Jennings’ shot Saturday night stack up? Let’s take a look.
This wasn’t an easy shot. At all. Armed with only 0.7 seconds, the left-handed Jennings had to catch the rock, get feet somewhat set, square up and have the concentration to drain the game-winner from really deep range. So many things have to work to make this play happen. The pass has to be on point. Pass has to be caught cleanly. And again, there was less than a second left in regulation. Jennings made that shot look easier than it was. One could make an argument that Anderson Varejao and Kyrie Irving were a little slow in closing out. But that’s nitpicking.
Game knotted at 102. 0.7 seconds remaining. Irving scored the Cavs’ last 13 points, including a game-tying layup to set up the buzzer-beater. A miss would have simply sent the game into overtime.
Jennings wasn’t extended for a new contract in Milwaukee and has not hidden his displeasure. He vowed to be professional and not let his disappointment seep into the season. He gave the Celtics fits in a 21-point, 13-assist season debut Friday night. A night later, despite struggling with his shot, he found a way to get the quick shot over Irving and Varejao to keep the Bucks unbeaten. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers were the opponents. Not the Miami Heat. Equally unfortunate for his rating, Jennings’ shot is in the opening week of the season. If this is early April with a playoff spot up for grabs…you see where I’m going with this one.
3 Horrys. For the record, Tyreke Evans’ sling across halfcourt to defeat Memphis two seasons ago ranks as the only buzzer-beater to get 5 Horrys. The degree of difficulty of Jennings’ shot was present, not to mention his focus to ignore a bad shooting night to nail it. He also one-upped Irving (who had been having his way throughout the game) in the process. Add in the lingering tension between Jennings and the Bucks franchise, this is a pretty cool way to start off the season. However… considering this was a tie game and an early season match-up between two opponents who aren’t necessarily rivals, 3 Horrys sounds about right.
What sayeth you?
*Editor’s update (11/15/12): After looking over this play another 13 times (or three, but who’s counting?), I’m going to upgrade this to 3.5 Horrys. The difficulty of the shot is emphasized above, but I was harsher on the opponent than necessary. Considering the Cavs have beaten arguably the best team in the league in the Clippers at home, any given night can yield the unexpected. This is why the game is played on the floor.