Horry Scale: Taj Tops L.A.

VIDEO: Gibson’s Game Winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — After a flurry of Horry Scale entries around the winter holidays, we went into a long slumber, with no game-winning buzzer-beaters since January 3, when Andre Iguodala last made an entry. But now, after a long day of NBA action, thanks to Taj Gibson and the Chicago Bulls’ 102-100 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, we have yet another GWBB to break down.

Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain why we’re here: 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 groundwork laid, let’s do this, shall we?

With 0.9 left on the clock, the Bulls most likely had to run a play where the guy who caught the ball was heading toward the basket. If you watch closely, even before the ball is inbounded to Gibson, every Bulls player is streaking toward the rim, ready and able to get off a last-second shot. Jimmy Butler acts as sort of a bulldozer, moving Lakers guard Nick Young out of the lane. And as Gibson cuts to the basket, he manages to pin his defender, Lakers wing Manny Harris, behind him, basically creating a Taj-Gibson-sized target moving toward the rim. Yet with all seven-feet of Pau Gasol defending Mike Dunleavy, who was there to make the pass, Dunleavy had to resort to a bounce pass to get the ball to Gibson. Gasol spun around and ended up running at Gibson, nearly blocking the shot. But Gibson made a smooth catch and lefty layup (he shoots his jumpers righty), all in less than a second. If all that wasn’t enough, according to Bulls announcer Chuck Swirsky, Gibson said he’d never even made a game-winner before …

Nice way to start.

Since trading away Luol Deng and waiving Andrew Bynum, the immediate future of the Bulls — or at least their intentions — has been somewhat murky. Their roster may not be what we thought it would be at the start of the season, but Tom Thibodeau teams always play hard, and Monday night was no exception. Even after taking a three-point lead in overtime, which Nick Young erased via free throws with four seconds to go, these Bulls don’t know when to say when.

One of the problems endemic to GWBB’s is that often the players involved aren’t even sure whether or not the shot actually beat the buzzer, which can lead to some subdued celebrations. Still, the Bulls players were pretty excited, including a leaping chest/shoulder bump between Jo Noah and Gibson. But if there was an image that summed up how great the Bulls felt about the win, it was the shot of all-business Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau smiling and giving Gibson five as they left the court.

Lefty layup. Contested shot. Slick inbounds play. Overtime. Thibs smiling. Thibs smiling! I have been criticized in the past for being too tough on some shots, but the only thing I discount about this game/play is that it was a .500 team (Chicago) against a team 10 games under .500 (L.A.). If this was a playoff game I’d go five Horrys. But for now, I’m going four Horrys …

horry-star horry-star horry-star horry-star

What say you? How many Horrys does Taj Gibson’s shot deserve?


  1. Robert says:

    Layup, even left handed. 3 Horrys

  2. THREE says:

    THIS IS DEFINITELY 3 HORRY’S OR 3.5 MY MAN. Four is too much considering the difficulty. And if this was a playoff game id go 4 Horrys, it just a badly contested layup. that’s all there is Joe Jesus had more shots were better. And J Green had the best one in all the game winning shots here.

  3. Josh-O says:

    That game-winner wasn’t that amazing of a play to get 4 Horry’s. It was a layup in which Gibson benefited from a designed play at the rim.

  4. Who said wut says:

    4 horrys lol. When I saw the play, I thought that it was either a 2 or a 3…

  5. tahir says:

    So, this is better than Jeff Green’s buzzer beater against Miami HOW???

    • Baca says:

      I agree with you. I also think that Green’s buzzer was the best of the season. 0,6 to go, over Lebron and on the road. What else do you want. I think they only gave him three Horry’s? This one is 2 maximum.

  6. ragna says:

    what? 4 horrys? 3 at best. game was tie, if he missed it’s going overtime, not like it was a win or lose situation.

  7. dustydreamnz says:

    2 Horry’s for me.

  8. Definitely says:

    Considering the lay up was a surprise, and Laker’s defense was poor. It’s a 3 Horrys, anyone could make that lay up.

  9. wow says:

    1 horry at best, this guy needs to be fired, he doesn’t know how to rank things

  10. Ben says:

    5 would not have been a stretch. 4 is the minimum. I’ve never seen a designed play executed so perfectly for a buzzer beater in the paint. Thibs designed that play so well I had to watch it 4 or 5 times. It’s a different kind of shot to Green’s shot etc – so I can understand the people who are saying ‘why so high’ – but I think they really just don’t get how well designed and executed that was. The Horrys are not for Taj – they are for the team (and coach) as a whole.

    • Garen says:

      Such noob much troll. As if man.

      • Ben says:

        As if yourself. I’m not saying it is better than Green’s (which deserved, like, a 6 out of 5, best buzzer beater I’ve ever seen). But here is the thing. It wasn’t ‘poorly defended’. The play was written up and executed brilliantly to take all the defenders out of the picture. This is as close as I’ve ever seen to a play that would have won the game 99 times out of 100. The Lakers didn’t see it coming. Taj’s shot itself was not even worth a 2, but the play was as well designed as the Broncos designing a super bowl winning touchdown for Peyton Manning. Literally the best ever play I have seen a coach write up for a game winning shot.

        And yeah, I think that is just as important in grading the Horry as the execution of the player himself.

  11. Scisca says:

    2 Horrys, maaaaybe 3, but really don’t think so. 2 seems about right. No risk of losing the game, just a short layup, against one of the worst teams in the league – really, nothing all that awesome. Good job, well executed, but there is nothing worth remembering about this play. It’s not gonna be a hot replay like Green’s, Joe Johnson’s, Iguadala’s or Westbrook’s shots.

  12. 4 Horry's says:

    It was a nice game clincher considering it was the first one for Taj ever.

    VERDICT: ★★★★

  13. John says:

    Cmon, 4 Horrys?? This deserves 3 Horrys at best. We talking about a layup against the Lakers…Just look at Green’s game-winner in comparison, something is serisously wrong with this ranking.

  14. Garen says:

    Lang…Why you always such a noob at rating these shots.

  15. Say what?! says:

    Seriously? 4 Horrys?
    Let’s get the facts straight:

    Game tied, less pressure on the shooter
    Layup in traffic but nobody in front of Taj
    Two, at that time losing teams, going at each other in the regular season
    I mean, nice play and well executed, but not a clutch shot at all…

    I don’t know why 1 Horry would exist if it never given

    • AJ Mills says:

      Good point. If the game is tied, 3 Horrys, tops. Given the lack of importance of the game, this one is probably 2 Horrys.

  16. sacrebleu says:

    the clock started late. 0 horry’s

  17. rikooouu says:

    The clock started late! Are you all blind, horry???

  18. GRRR says:

    you mean, this lay-up got 4 stars and JEFF GREEN’S WITH LESS THAN 1 SECOND FACING LEBRON JAMES got 3?
    no no, it’s all good man..i trust you.sure..

  19. r says:

    -1 for not being win or lose (it was win or OT) and -1 for the win not meaning very much in the grand scheme of things.

    5 stars if the game was 99-100 in the playoffs.

  20. Alex says:

    0 Horry. Clock started late. This game should have gone to overtime.

    • Thomas says:

      Half the time in these situations the clock starts a little late. 3 horry cause it was his first ever:)

  21. drose1 says:

    Considering how well it was designed…
    Considering no real playmaker on Bulls since Rose injury and Deng trade…
    Considering they trusted a guy who had never made a gwbb…
    Considering shot was made over behemoth Gasol…
    Considering shot was made with non shooting hand…
    Considering it was shot that made us a .500 team and keeps us only one full game from 3 seed…
    I’d say 4 stars!!! If it was on the road and or playoffs then 5.

  22. not 4 says:

    2.5 since it was a layup…the guy is 6″10

  23. rich says:

    And here we go with the absurdly reference to Horry (scale) again… but anyway you are yet successful again in soliciting responses (me being one of them) by giving a ridiculoos grade. This is NO way better than Jeff Green’s, any other of the commentators here can do a way better job than you rating the buzzer beaters ! Sorry, no offense meant.
    I’ll take it as ‘offense taken’ if you don’t post my comment and by if doing so you just got threathened on losing your job…

  24. beny says:

    drose1+. This was a really well designed play and that’s why it looked so easy. Coming up with a well designed play takes a lot of talent which makes the rest look easy like Ray Allen shooting a corner buzzer three. I can go with 4

  25. Not 4 But 2 says:

    I give it 2 horry’s, simply because it was a tied situation, and even though it was a lefty, that shot wasn’t really that difficult for a pro.

  26. Kevin says:

    Why you guys being so tough on his rating of four. Yeah, I thought three but you have to look at how well that play was designed not to mention one of the best 7 footers in the league right there too…four is justified.

  27. Adare says:

    Layups in crunch time are a lot harder than most think – just ask Patrick Ewing (BAZINGA!). They just aren’t spectacular – 3.5 to 4, round up to 4. Oh, and good point on player celebrations being delayed, but what about crowd celebrations as part of it? Yeah… 4!

  28. vinsanefan says:

    He made a layup! It was a tied, regular season game between two thoroughly disappointing teams. What would it take to get a 1 on the Horry scale?

  29. Aquino says:

    How about the execution?? it was great , right?