Horry Scale: Vince’s victory

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week we looked at the regular-season Horry Scale in full. Now, with the playoffs in full swing, it took just at a week to have our first postseason Horry Scale entry.

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.

One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure only 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.

Counting the regular season, this gives us a record-setting 18 Horry Scale entries this season. Let’s take a closer look at Vince Carter‘s game-winning three in Game 3 against San Antonio from earlier today…

The corner three-pointer is supposedly the “easiest” three-pointer. Which doesn’t mean it’s easy, obviously. But it is a shorter shot than a straight-away or wing three. But what if you’re shooting from the corner and you’re fading away? And what if you’re covered as tightly as a smedium shirt by Manu Ginobili, with inches to get the shot off?

And what if you have less than 2 seconds left to release the shot? Well, add all those factors together and you’ve got a nearly impossible shot. Thing is, nobody told Vince Carter.

PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS! The pressure doesn’t get any higher than in the postseason. As for the play itself, Dallas had the ball down two, after Ginobili scored on the other end to give San Antonio the lead. You’d think Dallas might go either Dirk or Monta, both of whom have made visits to the Horry Scale this season. You would, however, be wrong. Because, of course, the Mavs went to Vince Carter instead…

To get Vince open on the inbound play, the Mavs stacked up Vince, Dirk and Brandan Wright, then ran Monta Ellis off the triple screen. As Ellis popped free at the top, Vince ducked to the corner, caught, spun and drained the shot. Good defense from Manu, better shot by Vince. Catch, spin, shot, bottom. Win.

Probably the best all-around celebration of the season. This is partially a function of it happening in the playoffs, when the intensity is already ratcheted up high. When the shot went through, the American Airlines Center went crazy. The Mavs all surrounded Vince and celebrated with him. Two other things that we should note? Right in the center of the Mavs celebration was owner Mark Cuban

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 7.51.09 PM

Hey, if I owned an NBA team and we won a playoff game on a last-second shot, I’d be up in that celebration, too.

Also, as the Mavs celebrated, we got a quick glimpse at stoic Popovich

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 7.51.32 PM


This is when it all counts. Heckuva situation, heckuva shot. As far as a grade, this one really had it all. I was thinking somewhere between 4 and 5 Horrys. And you know what? We’re going with 5 Horrys for this one, our first five Horry shot of the season…


Now it’s your turn! How many Horrys would you give Vince Carter’s shot?


  1. LBJ says:


  2. david says:

    5 Horry’s for sure…not to mention that it put his #8 seeded team up a game against the #1 seeded team….Wow! Just Wow! Actually, I’m giving it a 6 Horry ranking. It was off the chart! Whoo freankin’ HOO!

  3. CT14 says:

    Lang, respectfully speaking, you’ve missed that lightning quick pumpfake and the hesitation before the shot. Vince knew that Manu would immediately contest a shot attempt, I mean, anyone would. But that fake and the decision to take the shot when Manu just landed made the shot more makeable. Put that in the frame of less than two seconds and that is one ice-cold play to pull off. Five Horrys indeed.

    • Rav says:

      Definitely agree – need some real presence of mind (and cojones, really) in order to pump-fake when you have mere seconds left.

  4. zhiggi says:

    Vince-sanity still lives!!!….great shot…….wish dallas good luck…..coming from Toronto

    • ?????? says:

      i, too, am from Toronto, and this left a bad taste in my mouth. A memory of game 7 of the eastern conference semi-finals against the 76ers where we needed a three to win. If my memory serves me correctly, it was the same side of the court, the same corner, and the same amount of time on the clock. Only in TO, carter missed. Now to see him make it when I’m rooting for the spurs (my favorite team since I started following bball) was just depressing. It was an amazing shot, though. I’ll concede to that.

    • Sheed says:

      🙂 great comment! Good luck for toronto!!

  5. Red says:

    Sorry but “he TRAVELLED”! So no horry scale.

    • Monk says:

      Tell me what angle you had when you could see the steps that say travel… I thought I saw him land split footed then hop land both feet (euro step) and shoot. That is not a travel, and if it was by a tiny margin then you dont know where they can review time and foot on line both good game in the books so HORRY scale complete

      • Red says:

        The last highlight angle shows the best angle for it being travel. Even the first angle with camera behind their back I can tell already it’s a travel and the last highlight just confirmed it. I know you’ll keep saying it isn’t because maybe you’re a vince fan or dallas fan and you’re blinded by it. I’m not a fan of both Dallas or San Antonio just stating my observation. I’m also not saying it should not count or be revoked. Just saying he clearly traveled.

      • We all know that it was a legit travel. Mavs need a win,

  6. Thorbjörn says:

    What a game and what a shot! Gonna remember this one for the ages!

    Yet I think ist is a close one, but still a 4, because this was neither an elimination game nor a game in the finals. Allen’s three last year, that is a true 5 for me

  7. Tine says:

    Nice shot, no doubt, but it looks like trevel to me as well. At first I thought he may be out of bounds but then I realized he makes a little jump while faking Ginobili.

  8. Milan says:


  9. Jose says:

    I have to agree with CT14, the pump-fake Carter gives Manu is amazing, that is what really gave him the minimum space that he needed to be able to get the ball off his hands without being blocked, because Manus D was amazing right before that pump… and the celebration, super loud with the boss right in the middle of the court with the player and fans celebrating… i like this about Mark Cuban, and actually it is what you would expect from him in a buzzer beater like this one…Impressive, for sure a 5 in the Horry Scale

  10. the boring one says:

    It was vinsane! We need 6 Horrys for that.

  11. Jojo says:

    SIMPLY WOW!!!!…even Mark Cuban was saying in the video clip!…The pump fake, fading away shot at 22 to 23 ft in less than 2 seconds for the win- AMAZING…it’s for the BOOKS! …No doubt about it to get 5 HORRY’s…Simply bringing back the old Toronto Raptors prime!

  12. Jack Cortez says:

    He traveled slightly… But still u can’t deny that that was an amazing shot.

    • dk says:

      I watched it over and over. He shuffled his right foot after fake. Traveling is correct. There’s not such thing as slight travel. Why don’t ref’s call traveling in the NBA.

  13. ism says:

    5 horrys (or horries?) no doubt!

    and, by the way: no travel at all!

    look at it from the right angle: catch in the air, just a quick spin on the pivot foot, jump shot. i don’t think that’s a travel in any league in the world.

  14. LOL? says:

    Travel? wtf are you smoking

  15. Jaide says:

    Whoever said that this is a travel might be right, but is a nutbag. You guys should have known better, that the NBA will never call those lame violations on a tight situation.
    Better get your views right, I doubt you will say the same if its your team who made that shot.

    • Monk says:

      Amen to that Manu would have been allowed a steel chair and hit him wrestlemania style. I still call it the euro step Manu brought to the limelight, and Harden now uses. Vince just did his layup from the 3 point line

  16. Mark Dave Dizon says:

    its a (slightly) travel..

    but great shot..

  17. Lor20 says:

    If you call a travel here you got to call 20 a game.
    Great shot. Was a fun game in the 4th.

  18. Godwin Nnali says:

    um Yeah that was not travel lol.

  19. Kal says:

    Attaboy VC. Half retired, half amazing… still.

    Maybe the haters can finally rest.

    Some shots go in… Some don’t… Tough shots are tough shots…

    VC & his cousin T-Mac should be in the hall of fame someday despite the lack of playoff success. amazing players all and all.

  20. Tom says:

    Travel -.-

    • Anthony says:

      That wasnt a travel he was in motion when he pump faked and was still on his toes then shot. his feet didnt plant technically until he took the shot.

  21. Clooch says:

    can’t get any more horry-ish than that, unless they won the series from that

  22. Gerardo says:

    Not a travel, when he had FULL possession of the ball he was already on both feet; when he shuffled his right foot on the pump fake, his left foot became his pivot since he can lift up whichever foot he likes.

  23. #30 says:

    Travel in your face! Hahaha

    He is now more a 3pt shooter added in his repertoire.

  24. Mavs1 says:

    I guess “He traveled” is just shorthand for “I’m a Spurs fan.”
    Mavs win, and are damn close to being up 3-0. We are in the Spurs kitchen, … and making a ham sammich.
    GO MAVS!!

  25. mike says:

    travel ……and look his feet on the line no ref “s review bowl >>>>>>>> 2014 but dallas going no where any way!!!!!!!!!!!!! lot the old man vc feel good 4 aday

  26. flip says:

    didn’t look like a travel to me.

  27. foucault says:

    those saying its a travel are probably a spurs fans or mavs haters.. 🙂

  28. Melvin says:

    Are you people high? That was not a travel. He sets his feet, catches the ball, shuffles the right foot, making his left foot, which never moves, his pivot foot and doesn’t leave the ground until he shoots. Gosh…people always call travel on shots like this but it isn’t always. You gotta use your head.

  29. RG3 says:

    He did not travel. He did shuffle his right foot only, however his left foot was locked.

  30. r says:

    5 horrys but if it was another player besides vince then it would get 4.5, he gets the extra bonus 0.5 because it’s like old times revisited

    i mean it’s first round 8 seed vs 1 seed so really it doesn’t matter except for mavs get one last feel good on the season cause nobody expects them to win a title

    how do you rank this exact same shot but in the situation of finals 3-3 if 1st round 2-1 is 5 star????? is there a hidden horry that we don’t know about

  31. Kaneman says:

    5 Horry shot, for sure!
    VC the man!

  32. A says:

    Let the players win the games as the say. But was there a traveling violation that should have been called? It’s up for debate i guess. Congratulation Mavericks on winning Game 3.

  33. Cris says:

    I’d also say it’s a travel because he shuffles his feet. But honestly, I had to watch the play multiple times to see that. How is a ref supposed to see that without replay… VC for the win, literally

  34. supercool says:

    How about a travel scale in the NBA , to be named after someone , i dont know

  35. ogloc says:

    VC!!! The legend lives on. What a way to redempt the game 7 back in 2001…. and sorry you ignorant haters, that aint travel.

  36. NC 15 says:

    I totally agree that if it was your team you say NBA fan-tas-tic, unfortunately, it was V.C15, his usual forte buzzer-beating skills. I hope VC would get the chance to read this – it is about time to show every basketball fan that you’re not done yet. I know for fact that some fans, media and even fellow nba players have tried to rip you apart, yet, at 37 you can still deliver – show the world that you still have those lifting ability. kudos VC!

  37. Russell Eastbrook says:

    As someone wrote here before, this is not an NBA travel. we can’t have double and triple standards, and a call here would imply ref interference for the Spurs to go through. pretty much every guard in the game carries the ball 15-20 times a game, none of this is called. Sometimes they’ll call a carry in the 1st or 2nd quarter of a game just so the casual fan can tell his friend ” i told you, this should have been called all day”. Michael Jordan made one of the most famous shots of all time doing it, we can’t go around penalizing Carter for seemingly barely leaving the ground on the fake. This is the NBA, if you don’t like it feel free to abstain from watching.

  38. Rafael says:

    He traveled… Sorry.

  39. GoMavs says:

    I have to say that I don’t think that one person in the world thought that that shot was going in.

  40. Dinesh says:

    you guys really think they’re going to call that tiny travel in the last seconds of a game winning shot? give my boy vince his creds

  41. OKC says:

    Amazing shot. Yeah I hope VC does make it to the Hall of Fame.

  42. sonny says:

    I’d give it a 5 nice redemtion shot, Happy for Vince.

  43. Captain says:

    Not only travel, he has no time. It’s impossible you take the ball, run, stop do a double pump, elevates a throw the ball in 1.7 seconds. But problem with NBA is they don’t check when the clock begins to run. They only check if the ball is on the air before tine expires.

  44. Bruno says:

    I see people here calling travel on the play, but the same people aparently dont see that almost every fade away in the nba is travelling by the players, and 50-60% of the layups done by big stars are travels, 3 steps (just watch Lbj, D-rose, Kobe and many more). So when the rule only is respected in grotesques cases, it just can’t be argued here.

  45. JACK says:

    I’m sorry but these Horry scale posts are getting dumber and dumber.

  46. Daniel says:

    There was no travel, look again. He caught the ball took 1 step, set his feet, pump fake, and shot the ball. Look at the point at which he caught the ball, (mid-stride) he immediately turns etc etc…

  47. Mike says:

    Not a travel. Left foot never leaves the ground. Great shot!

  48. Truth says:


  49. G3 says:

    When you catch the ball, you’re allowed one step as a gather step, then the other two steps. It was not a travel.

  50. Sam says:

    He didn’t leave his feet, and even then he was in the process of catching the ball and pump faking. Spurs fans can suck it and Vince Carter haters can suck it too.

  51. KR says:

    Only ones saying he traveled are Spurs fans or people that didn’t want Dallas to win… otherwise no one cares… 😉

  52. Champion says:

    If he was wearing Shox shoes he would have missed the shot. Years of wearing those shoes screwed his knees.

  53. nbafanatic says:

    i respect VC but its a travel

  54. Adrian Meli says:

    What a game. Carter’s shot was ridiculous. Almost as good as when he hurdle dunked the guy in the olympics 🙂

  55. Alvin says:

    lmao @ people thinking he travelled.

  56. LAAC says:

    Left foot stayed in place. No travel.

  57. bill says:

    Great Shot!!!! Although he did travel, but now a days everyone travels and the refs dont call it. most of the time anyone receives the ball after a made basket they walk with the ball before they even put it o the floor.Lebron Durant and George are good for that. good NO CALL if you not gonna call it all the time

  58. James says:

    What video are you watching that shows this as a travel? I have looked for them, and I can not find one that has a good view his feet?

  59. Agudo says:

    Its up there, i’m gonna say 4 only because you have to leave room for a game winner in a final series. Clutch shot though from Vinsanity!

  60. alex says:

    I love Vince, since Toronto, i really like the mavs (although i am a lakers fan) and i really dislike (but respect) the spurs. All that being said: TRAVEL.

  61. Max Lacorte says:

    Hats off to Mark Cuban, with owners being a hot topic in NBA right now this is great to see. Players love seeing an owner that’s into a game and that clearly cares and loves his players. Part of the reason I love the Mavs is because they do indeed have a great owner in Mark. Great shot Vince, trying to get a ring before retirement. Absolutely five stars, and haters its not a travel even if it is “close” to a travel, which again it was not, there is no way it is getting called there in that moment.

  62. RonniE says:

    Good not great… best so far.. but far from over… Horry Scale? Really? noone really remembers Robert Horry. Overrated Good Luck at at best…. Love Vince though… Too bad the Raptors n TmAc n Vinsanity never could figure it out…. However Vince Carter in the Dunk Contest when it was still a dunk a contest was the only last dunker that was relivant and thats what hell be remembered for. No Hate Just overRated

  63. Bob says:

    Guys…if the NBA refs started calling travels, 90% of you would start complaining that the NBA was ruining the flow of the game. Sometimes guys like Blake Griffin seem to be carrying the ball from halfcourt to the hoop. No matter if there are 2 or 5 steps. There will be no call as most of the players simply are not able to get there feet straight. NBA is all about entertainment and earning big time money. You don’t earn money when every second highlight dunk is being ruled a travel.

  64. Rick says:

    Def shuffled those feet. Travel, can’t miss that…

  65. Vince Carter T R A V E L L E D from Dallas to San Antonio. How can refs do this, to cause a team to lose? Same issues with other teams, Clippers/GSW, OKC/Memphis, especially the Rockets/Blazers game. Most refs are playing favorites. Lucky if your team is one of them.

  66. Nathan Young says:

    Lol all of you people just wish vince traveled.
    Give the guy some dang credit, because i guarantee you none of you could hit a shot like that.

  67. Erik says:

    Left foot.. His uses his RIGHT foot as pivet foot, so he does travel slightly. But as someone previously stated, it’s a great shot and no referee would call that travel ever. It’s going to be very interesting to see if the Mavs can keep this up.

  68. Javier says:

    Very difficult shot by Carter, was amazing. 5 horrys

  69. bjl says:

    wasted …… would have been a great shot if he wasn’t caught on tape that he travelled

  70. dave says:

    5 stars. Travel? C’mon, even if he did travel it wasn’t called. Maybe he did it on purpose hoping it wouldn’t get called. He tried to win it and did it.

  71. spurs # 5 says:

    Better enjoy it Carter because the Spurs are coming back tonight to take what belongs to them.

  72. nino says:

    what’s more amazing: it’s the same shot he missed against the 76ers in 2001. i wonder how he’s going to write history this time 🙂

  73. Evan says:

    I give it a 4 only because you need to leave room for improvement.

    What if this shot was in the Finals? What if he also got fouled?

    In other words, it’s an amazing shot, but it could possibly be better so I think you have to give it a 4.

  74. Pears009 says:

    If you/people are going to call that little, “stutter-step” a “TRAVEL”, then why don’t we just completely sllloooowwww-down the game, and call “carry” on almost EVERY NBA player that dribbles and drives with the basketball… (Basketball rules state, that the ball is supposed to be dribbled, pretty much STRAIGHT up and down, up and down…) NONE of this “palming” that is SOOOO prevalent with almost if NOT all players… He, BARLEY shuffled his feet on that pump-fake… I can not believe the amount of people calling “foul” on that play…

  75. Donkalonk says:

    Shuffled his feet after taking his plant. Great shot still.

  76. WOW says:


  77. GoMavs says:

    @saspurstars254 You are allowed one step as a gather step when you catch the ball and then you have two steps after that. Learn more about the NBA.

  78. kieran says:

    Regardless of if he travelled he barely did. Watch the Miami Heat games Lebron takes 6 steps…? Yeah so stop hating

  79. jeremy says:

    5, it dont get better than that. plus its vince. theres nothing to hate

  80. kg says:

    Dallas is my favorite team, I lived there years. So it pains me to say he clearly didn’t plant. it was a travel. But heeeeeey whos complainin?? :p

  81. MackDaddy says:

    That’s not a travel… his right leg drags, but his left foot lands first and is planted. Doesnt matter what the right leg does, as its like a pivot. No travel. FIVE HORRYS for sure!

  82. harris says:

    It was so much better in person, and so much better than game 4..

  83. Hanif says:

    What an amazing shot. As a Toronto fan who saw hundreds of games during Vince Carter’s Half-Man Half-Amazing days, Its nice to see him still playing at such a high caliber. Good luck Mavericks, hope to see you meet Toronto in the finals. 🙂

  84. Rick says:

    Go Vince. You put us on the map. All is forgiven. Go get a ring.

    Rick A Toronto Fan. Go Raps

  85. Torstein says:

    Im a Spurs fan – just to make that clear – and I am quite accustomed to heartbreakers like this one. I have given props (and 5 Horrys) to Vince for this shot, but after review, it is clearly a travel. If you dont think it is a travel, you dont know the rules IMO. Sure, its a small step for Vince, but its a huge step for Manu. The shuffle(it does not matter if his feet stays in contact with the floor) enables him to gather thrust and balance to fire the shot after the pump(that he makes seeing Manu coming flying with perfect timing) – and get the shot of. I dare say, no shuffle – no basket. And you cant compare it to the lay-ups, which is a rythm-thing and a completely different matter. And not to the stand-still shuffeling all guards do on the perimeter, which I think refs ignore because it does not impact the play. Now, there is a lot of walking not called. Still – this is walking, and it wins them a game, and I personally think they should call walking with more consistency. If its a rule that we are supposed to play by, it must count on all players, on all plays, no matter how clutch. And it should be reviewable.

  86. MFFL says:

    not a travel. u think his right foot is his pivot. but look carefully when he catch the ball, his left foot is pivot NOT HIS RIGHT, so he can drag his right as much as he wants.

    the step starts to count as when he catches the ball not when he spin!

  87. ptarick says:

    travel imo

  88. Atlantic Champs says:

    Obvious TRAVEL!!!.. Caught the ball then gathered, pump faked, then you can see him on the dead last replay that both feet moved.. If he only moved 1 feet then would not be a travel but because both feet moved its a travel.. Not hating on VC, one of my all-time fav players, Sux for Spurs tho.


  89. Polak from Poland says:

    Half Man half Amazin’