Horry Scale: Harris Has It

VIDEO: Harris Has It

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And we’re back. Not even five weekdays since Randy Foye roused us on a quiet Monday evening, and the Horry Scale has been awakened by a rim-rattling dunk from Orlando’s Tobias Harris.

One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations…basically, everything surrounding and including the shot. So when I gave Randy Foye a 3 Horry rating, that wasn’t only a reflection of his shot, which was admittedly remarkable, as I wrote, but also the play, which was awful. Taj Gibson’s lefty layup wasn’t the toughest shot, but that inbounds play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.

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.

OK, so you understand? For our records, this is the fourteenth GWBB this season, so our record-setting pace continues unabated. for now, let’s break this shot down…


It was an undefended dunk, the kind of dunk Tobias Harris has probably converted hundreds or even thousands of times in his life. But I doubt he’s ever put one down with literally no time left on the clock. After Kevin Durant missed his jumper that would have put Oklahoma City up 3, Victor Oladipo out-fought Thabo Sefolosha and Reggie Jackson to corral the ball, and by the time Oladipo had it and was heading up court, there were just under 4 seconds remaining. Even though they had a timeout remaining, the Magic played on and took advantage of the numbers. In the next four seconds, Oladipo dribbled the length of the court and got into the paint, where Jeremy Lamb stepped up to cut off his drive. Lamb left Maurice Harkless alone on the baseline, and Oladipo hit him with a bounce pass. Harkless caught the ball with 1.5 seconds remaining, and immediately dished it back to a trailing Tobias Harris, who dunked it home with no time remaining. It was a terrific pass by Harkless, but it was as gutsy as it was fundamentally sound — with such a miniature amount of time left, this game was pretty close to ending with Harris a couple of inches away from a GWBB. But he made it, and the Magic won in thrilling come-from-behind fashion.


The Thunder had an 8-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Magic outscored them 23-14 in the fourth to get the W. There were two things about the situation around this particular play that stuck out to me: 1. Durant shot the ball with about 3 seconds left on the shot clock. I know he was able to get to one of his preferred spots on the court, at the free throw line extended, which is a shot he makes more often than not. But if he’d been able to wait just a second longer, the Magic wouldn’t have had the time to grab the board and do what they did. 2. The Thunder had a small lineup in at the time, and when Durant’s shot went up, Serge Ibaka was the only member of the Thunder anywhere near the rim in a rebounding position. And the long bounce from the miss then took him out of contention for the rebound.


Now that’s a celebration. With no time on the clock, the Magic players knew they could celebrate, so the bench guys rushed the court. The camera work became shaky, like something out of a movie. Harris received a trio of chest bumps, ending with a thunderous hug from Big Baby Davis. Also, you want to see what disbelief looks like? Check out the Thunder bench…

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 10.59.48 PM


As I wrote above, and I hope you remember this, IT ISN’T ONLY ABOUT THE SHOT. It’s about the entire play, and the accumulated circumstances surrounding the shot. As a dunk, in a vacuum, for an NBA player it wasn’t the most difficult shot. But put everything together, including a lottery team playing the best team in the West, and making a shot while down a point to win the game, and it was a pretty epic play for the Magic. I can’t give this 5 stars, only because this is a regular season game and I have to be able to still go up from here once we reach the playoffs. So instead, I’m giving this 4 Horrys, the same grade to which I retroactively rated Jeff Green’s season-opening shot.

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

What say you? How many Horrys would you give Tobias Harris’s GWBB?


  1. #30 says:

    KD should take the shot with 1 sec on their shotclock.

    • VenomousKD35 says:

      Well idiot you see the shotclock and the gameclock has 5secs difference. dummy

      • Kalbo!! says:

        Why are you so mean? In fact you are the more idiot one. He’s only point is for KD to have taken the shot with lesser time on the shot clock. He never mentioned anything about the game clock. In that way, Orlando more probably wouldn’t have enough time if something like that happens.

        For #30, it’s very risky to wait for the final second before taking the shot.. You gotta take the best open shot on the last couple of seconds or you might not have any in the last second. Besides, no body could have thought it would bounce off like that to the opponents favor.

        VenomousKD35 irrationally reacted based on pure emotions that he’s idol had been criticized. Be sure to be not an idiot first before calling others idiot. Dummy

    • Potato says:

      Or played any defense he just stood there after jacking the shot

    • james k says:

      Shot clock was expiring when KD took the shot, not that he decided to not run the clock.

    • dude says:

      Shoulda coulda woulda

  2. Thaddeus says:

    As a fan of the team that won I must say I am impressed with the poise our team took in the game situation. That said, I have noticed that the effort of star/superstar players show on last shots or no foul call shots is very lackluster with guys like Westbrook, George, Love, James etc waiting or arguing with an official after a play (not that KD does in this play). This time KD’s late game effort showed to me he is off the tear he was on(although he played great per usual).

  3. lbj says:

    he should join me in Miami Heat to enjoy the winning ways. GO heat!!!

  4. one thing says:

    And he may be afraid of shot clock violation lol.

  5. kb24 says:

    durant choked. he didn’t even get back to defend. kobe would have rushed back to try to block it even if he has achilles injury.

    • Sharpie says:

      Where is Kobe now? Poor fool doesn’t even realize Kobe’s career is over. Hopefully you enjoyed the last few years because the Lakers are going to be in the bottom 2-3 of the West for a very, very long time.

  6. nunpoom says:

    KD should’ve run back to defend the basket. Everytime he misses the shot, he always standing around like an idiot.

  7. Brad says:

    5 Horrys for style.

  8. Tom says:

    4 for a dunk but 3 for Foye’s…. I’m convinced you’re just trolling for attention at this point

  9. Shawn Kemp no. 1 says:


  10. spectator says:

    I’m sorry if I’m downselling it, but a dunk is a dunk.

    True, it was a defense-to-offense fastbreak play to win, and there was a scramble for it, and there was celebration and disbelief, still, as far as criteria go, I can’t really say that this deserves any more “Horry”s than, say, a three point dagger. Pressure was high, but it /was/ a fastbreak dunk. Apart from the team’s very commendable effort on D (which is the sole reason I feel it deserves “Horry”s), there’s not much else to rationally give it that many stars.

    Anything more than three “Horry”s, I feel, would be unreasonable. (Given that a 0.6s off-balance 3 point shot deserves only 4)

    • erik says:

      How many times is a dunk a game winning shot? Way less than it is a three. That’s why you give it 4 stars.

    • Sharpie says:

      Making a 3 at the buzzer isn’t very hard. This is a lot better than some crappy fade away 3 with .6 seconds left. The fact that he didn’t panic and try to throw up a lay up, with time running down, makes it even better. I see fade away 3’s at the buzzer all the time. How can something that happens all the time be better than something that rarely happens? In fact when’s the last time you’ve seen a buzzer beating dunk to win a game?

  11. aaa says:

    Didn’t he do that? I mean, wasn’t 24-seconds shot clock runing out?

  12. Respect GWBB says:

    Ok Lang. I understand how you rate these now. I thought it was only the shot.

  13. brthfn says:

    It’s a dunk. It is not a shot 🙂

  14. Wtf? says:

    Has there even been a play rated below 3 stars for you? Let just remove stars 1 and 2 because I rarely even see you give someone as low as a 3. Honestly a regular season transition dunk gets a 4? Isn’t that what you gave fall away game winning 3s also? It was a great play, but if you wanted to have an actually scale for some reference in reality then this should have been a 2.

  15. Marac says:

    Why should the play that creates the shot, the situation…matters?
    More desperate shot it is, higher score it should get!

  16. dustydreamnz says:

    2 Horry’s for me. Like someone said a dunk is a dunk.

  17. kevin says:

    SO FUNNY how things turn now..durant isnt on his 30 pt streak now and there winning streak is gone so now everyone is out for durant…haha wasnt more than 4-5 days ago ppl were saying trade westbrook durant is all okc needs

  18. Jason larsen says:

    The horry scale? U mean the stand on the three point line and not contribute to the play at all and hope the ball gets swatted out to you so you can shoot a wide open and uncontested three? The horry scale….hahahahaha

  19. Charlie says:

    I always get annoyed when I see these Horry scales. The beauty that made Horry’s game winning shots so fantastic were…well…the shots. They were shots taken (usually 3 pointers) that if made created an upset win and the games in which Horry took these shots were BIG games.

    I loved this last minute dunk by Harris. Any basketball fan should appreciate this play, but to compare a dunk to Horry is inappropriate and ridiculous.

  20. ??? says:

    How can you buzzer beater dunk? Doesnt game clock stop when ball goes through the basket? So shouldnt there be at least 1 10th of a second left

  21. holothuria says:

    I’ll never understand how a dunk can beat the buzzer, but still, nice one.

  22. over hyped says:

    Yes Orlando beating OKC is a big deal

    but it was not that great of a finish.. 2 Horrys if you compare to jeff green’s 3 pointer to beat miami earlier in the season. that had much more of the horry effect and if i remember correctly he only got 3…

    Horrible inconsistent grading… I’m always amazed anew with how bad you people grade these Horrys…

    This is just Horry-ble

  23. langerhans says:

    Finally you get one right!

  24. bullsfan121 says:

    U stilk havnt done taj gibsons game winning buzzer beater

  25. horry says:

    who is voting for 4 and 5? are you kidding me? if you think this uncontested dunk to win a meaningless game for a non playoff team is worth 5 then what would hitting a 3 when you’re down by 2 in game 7 of the finals be? 8? 9? what a joke