Horry Scale: Kemba Can

VIDEO: Walker’s Big Shot

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — These things happen in bunches, it would seem. Seriously, we go days, weeks even, without any movement on the Horry Scale, and then it all goes crazy. Now it’s as though we can’t go a day or two without a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater happening. And that’s not counting Damian Lillard twice flirting with entries on the Scale and missing by tenths of seconds.

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 look north of the border to lovely Toronto, Canada, where Charlotte’s Kemba Walker pulled off some last-second magic…

The Bobcats had the ball out of bounds with exactly one second remaining and the score tied at 102. The play the Bobcats drew up essentially had two players staggered a few feet away from each other, running a loop away from the ball. Al Jefferson then set a screen right around the free-throw line for Walker, who flashed across the lane and cleared space for himself by literally rubbing off Jefferson as he went past. As Walker cleared Jefferson and neared inbounds man Josh McRoberts, he drifted toward the baseline, further separating himself from defender Kyle Lowry. Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas, who switched on the play and left Jefferson for Walker, was able to get a hand up in Walker’s face, but it was too little, too late, and Walker was left with a catch-and-shoot jump shot from about 16 feet for the win. Nice shot considering the circumstances, but basically an open catch-and-shoot by NBA standards. (Also, shout-out to McRoberts for the nifty pump-fake on the inbound pass — he fakes right then passes left — which created the room to make the pass.)

Tie score, in overtime, one second left. It doesn’t get much more money than that. But it’s also worth noting that the Bobcats had been down 16 earlier in the night and managed to come back and make a game of it. Also, Bobcats coach Steve Clifford noted that Walker sinking a GWBB like that was “in his nature.” Nobody associated with the Bobcats has won much of anything in the NBA, at least since being associated with the Bobcats, but it’s worth remembering that while in college at Connecticut, Walker hit his share of big shots and was a first-team All-American as the Huskies won a national championship. So while Walker has worked to establish his place in the NBA, he has a background that would suggest that you want him taking this shot.

This is the part of these Horry Scale plays I’ve tried to focus on because there are so many varying reactions. In this case, for some reason, when Walker’s shot swishes through, all the members of the Bobcats on the court calmly turn and walk away. (McRoberts is purposefully walking in the other direction well before the shot drops, like he’s late for an appointment.) Walker does seem to get mobbed by teammates eventually,  but it’s only once he’s closer to his own bench. Also, if you crank up the audio on the clip above, someone begins laughing maniacally around the 11-second mark. Not sure what that’s about but it’s a fun wrinkle.

This probably isn’t a game with any immediate or long-term championship implications. If anything, perhaps a win like this — on the road, in overtime — will give the Bobcats a bit of a spark as they try to get to .500. Still, a defended catch-and-shoot, in overtime … when you factor it all together, I’m giving this shot three Horrys.

horry-star horry-star horry-star

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


  1. ai83 says:

    Kemba is one of my favourite players in the game, he´s is funny to watch and he´s playing at high level this year. Since he entered the nba I knew this guy was going to be a great talent.

  2. standard says:

    this crappy guy just gives 3 horrys top
    unless you are lebron even with a free throw it deserves 5 horrys

  3. JoeRocker says:

    Easy shot, tied score, no celebration, regular season game: it doesnt get any low than this. this is one or at best two horrys

  4. matt says:

    Thats crap! Lillard hits 2 game winners in a row and he never got a horry award from you!….typical…no matter how the blazers do they dont get the respect they deserve.

    • Read the rules says:

      Please, read the rules above. Neither of Lillards shots were buzzer beaters. Just game winners. Those were amazing shots but neither one was buzzers… And this info you can also find above.

  5. ponyta says:

    I dont understand this scale this gets 3 but it was a way easier shot than alot of buzzer beaters especially compared to the Jeff green one earlier this year.

  6. John says:

    Ya, this guy always gives 3! For example, he gave Jeff green a 3, but because of pressure from readers made it a four… Jeff’s should have been a 5!!!

  7. Ben says:

    Great shot obviously, but one Horry. Nothing on the line like a game 7, tied score, easy shot, pretty blah celebration. One. Which is always better than none.

  8. Totally says:

    I agree completely. Fine shot but really? This should have been a one and a half if he still did those. I while back he also said he couldn’t stand giving anything else other than a 3 or better