Horry Scale: All Al

VIDEO: Horford’s Game Winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s a good thing we put the Horry Scale on wheels a few months ago, because we’ve now had to break it out two weekends in a row. Tonight, Al Horford answered his former Hawks teammate Joe Johnson’s overtime game-winner from a few weeks back with an overtime GWBB of his own.

Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain: What is the Horry Scale? For those who 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 (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.

With the rules in place, Today we turn our tired eyes to my dear departed hometown, the ATL shawty, and let’s check out tonight’s game-winner from Al Horford…

I think this was supposed to be a play for Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who ran off three screens on the wing but couldn’t find room to get the ball. (A Hawks source told me they hadn’t seen the Hawks use that set all season.) With Korver covered, Horford cut toward the basket, and Hawks big man Pero Antic lobbed it high and far. Horford made a terrific play creating space by keeping Washington’s Trevor Booker an arm’s length away as he drifted back, like a wide receiver making space to catch a pass. Once he made the catch, the shot itself wasn’t all that difficult — the kind of jumper Horford hits with regularity. As a rookie, Horford was consistently left open for shots like this because he wasn’t nearly as good a shooter as he’s developed into. These days Horford is essentially money out to 17 feet — as long as he has room to get the shot off — banging in those flat-footed jumpers.

The Hawks led throughout the second half and were up by 15 in the fourth before finding themselves down two with seconds to play in regulation. Horford made two free throws with 5.5. seconds remaining in order to tie the game and prep it for overtime. When Horford hit the game-winner, the score was tied at 99 and the clock racing to zero. But the 1.8 second left when Horford made the catch gave him plenty of time to get the shot off, and just a short enough time frame to not allow the Wizards a touch once the ball went through the net. (Which also required me to write this post at 1:13 AM. Thanks Al!)

The more Horry Scale posts I’ve penned, the more GWBB I’ve examined, the more I’ve realized that when it comes to celebration, it’s not always only about the players celebrating. Yes, the Hawks players are pumped up and they respond to Horford’s shot with the requisite jumping around, but what elevates the celebration — any celebration, really — is the participation of those uninvolved with the actual game. In this case, I loved seeing Harry the Hawk sprinting down the court to get involved, and in a few camera angles you see several fans along the sideline leaping up and down.

The more I think about these GWBB, I’m not sure how I would ever give a game-winning shot a one or two rating. These are big moments, big shots, and I don’t feel like we can rate anyone’s big shot as less than average. That said, I’m going with three on this shot. It wasn’t much of a shot from a technical standpoint, but the celebration helps, as does the game being in overtime. So I say three.


What say you? How many Horrys would you give Al Horford’s game-winning buzzer beater?


  1. Milos says:

    Ok, so now you compare Jeff Green’s GWBB against Miami with this one? According to 3 stars you gave, it’s obviously you’re doing that. I don’t want to tell you why are you wrong with this, just look at those two GWBB’s and you will realise that you made mistake.
    And you say that you can’t give to GWBB one or two Horry’s? So what’s the point with them, why do they even exist’s?

    In my opinion, as a fan of basketball, this deserves One Horry’s, because it was tied, easy jumper, nothing spectacular.

  2. Vid says:

    I think Green’s shot should be reevaluated hands down!

  3. Game Time says:

    Horrible grading. Adding celebration to the score is pointless as it had nothing to do with the shot, and game situation is basically part of difficulty. The only 3 factors you should be grading on are difficulty, distance and time.

  4. Sanity says:

    I agree with the other comments here… The Jeff Green play was one of, perhaps THE, play of the season so far. This was NOT… nowhere close. But they are given the same rating????

    1) Green’s shot was MUCH more difficult, Horford’s was pretty simple.
    2) Green was jumping over LEBRON, Horford had NO DEFENSE in front of him
    3) Celtics beat the defending champs…Hawks beat nobodies.
    4) Celtics were trailing by 2 and would had lost if it missed. Hawks were tied, so even a miss wouldn’t have mattered that much.
    5) Green did it in the face of the road crowd… Horford did it at home in front of a typical half-packed Atlanta
    6) Any NBA highlights package has Jeff Green’s play in its top 10…. this play is just boring and won’t be remembered much at all.

  5. Yiogi says:

    I thought the whole purpose of the Horry scale was game winning 3 pointers. Why do you even bother including regular 2pt field goals? Is it really that hard to find a game winning 3 in today’s NBA that we need to start elevating other plays in order to find something to write about? Honestly I’ve lost all respect I had for this Horry scale this year.

    And to all people writing about Green’s play, the columnist already admitted his mistake publicly on the very next Horry scale article. I do agree 100% that Green deserved a minimum of 4 stars, personally I’d give it 5 even if it wasn’t a playoff match.

    • asdf says:

      Horry Scale is about Game-winning Buzzer Beaters, not game-winning 3-pointers. There have been many game-winning shots but few of them beat the buzzer, with most there’s still less than 1 second left on the clock, so it’s not a buzzer-beater.

  6. Dguy2hawks says:

    As a Hawks fan, this wasn’t that good of game winner. But we won doe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. John says:

    couldn’t have said it better myself, Sanity!

  8. soch says:

    yeah 3 horry’s is right for this. game tied up + regular season = 3 stars max unless shooting from full court while getting quintuple teamed with .4 seconds left

  9. SG fan says:

    Jeff Green’s amazing baseline buzzer beater trey on 0.6 sec against the Heat should be number 1 clutch so far this season, Westbrook turnaround trey against GSW will be number 2. we have to take into account that both teams were facing defeat (not a tied game).. that’s the huge stake to be considered in measuring by Horry Scale.

  10. 謝孟媛 says:

    NBA highlights package of any of the top 10 Jeff – Green played …. This play is just boring, it does not remember much