by Zettler Clay IV
When it rains Horrys, it pours.
At the end of a thrilling double OT affair against the Detroit Pistons, Joe Johnson took matters in his own hands and sent the Brooklyn faithful home with elation. The game-winner was nailed with right foot on the 3-point line and was set up by Kyle Singler’s lay-up to tie the game at 105 with 5.8 seconds left. Johnson (28 points) also sent the game into a second overtime with a tough floater in the lane. Suffice it to say, it was just his day.
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, the patron saint of last-second daggers.
How does Johnson’s shot Friday night stack up? Let’s take a look.
This shot looked destined for the bottom of the net as soon as it left Johnson’s hands. He inbounded the ball to Deron Williams, who immediately gave Johnson back the ball. Johnson was well-defended on this one…initially. Tayshaun Prince offered some long-armed resistance, but was lost seemingly easy on a nifty stepback. But this is where Johnson earns his keep — he isn’t called ‘Iso Joe’ for nothing. If there is one thing he excels at, it’s getting enough space to knock down a jumper. It’s the type of shot he makes when in a groove. Give him credit for making the long jumper look easy, considering he played almost 52 minutes.
Game knotted at 105 in double overtime. A miss extends game past the 60-minute marker and into another extra period.
The Nets had lost five of six games heading into Friday night’s game. A loss to the Pistons before hitting road to face Chicago Saturday night would have invited minor panic in Brooklyn. With the Knicks in Madison Square Garden looming next Wednesday, the Nets needed this win badly. Williams wasn’t at his sharpest (17 points, 7-of-17 shooting, five turnovers). So it was Joe who was needed to step up.
It was Johnson’s first such shot in a Brooklyn uniform. What better way to ingratiate yourself with the home crowd than to nail a smooth buzzer-beater on a Friday night?
This is Joe Johnson, so don’t expect him to channel Ronny Turiaf. After launching the shot, Johnson already started his victory trot toward his bench. A hop, a run and bump with a teammate and an understated mob later…and we have our celebration. He isn’t owed $89 million over the next four years for his excitability.
3 1/2 Horrys. As far as game-winners go, this had all the style you wanted. Pretty move. Pretty shot. Great game. Great game where the guy nailing the game-winner carried the offense late. If Brooklyn was down prior to this bucket, we’re looking at 4 Horrys easy.
What sayeth you?