Horry Scale: Smart lifts Celtics


VIDEO:  Smart grabs a falling Thomas pass to score game-winning basket in critical victory.

On the road? Against a good team? On a basket by Marcus Smart? All on the second night of a back-to-back?

Of all the heroes in all the situations in all the places, it would have taken a lot of searching to find a more improbable outcome than Celtics 117, Raptors 116 in overtime Saturday night in Toronto, a huge development in Boston’s attempt to keep its grip on the final playoff spot as the least bad team among the Eastern Conference hopefuls for No. 8.

Smart made six of nine attempts on the night, including the buzzer-beating layup, but after shooting 35.4 percent in February and 32.9 percent in March. His rookie season was ending badly, even as Boston continued to give him big minutes. And then this.

DIFFICULTY

It was harder than it should have been. Smart was open under the basket, on the right side of the lane, thanks to Isaiah Thomas drawing the defense as he blew down the left side, but the dish-off was a little high. Smart grabbed it with his right hand, with no Raptor closer than a couple steps. Then he made an awkward plant to go up. At least the release was clean.

GAME SITUATION

The Raptors led 116-115 on a Lou Williams three-pointer with four seconds left. The Celtics called timeout and advanced the ball to halfcourt. Thomas was near the free throw line at the other end when the referee gave the ball to Evan Turner on the sideline. Advantage: Celtics.

Thomas, fast enough without a head start, had built to lift-off speed by the time he took the pass from Turner about 40 feet from the basket, then went through the Toronto defense. He created the opportunity that Smart finished.

IMPORTANCE

Large. Everything was a challenge except for the distance of the winning shot – the schedule, the location, the opponent. There has to be a special level of gratification. The importance in the standings is obvious. If the Celtics make the playoffs, this will be one of the nights that made it happen.

CELEBRATION

Eh. Several Celtics charged off the bench to embrace Smart. He got some hugs and smacks on top of his head, but there was no wild party.

GRADE

The Celtics get marked down only because the win came on a wide-open layup, without a higher degree of difficulty beyond catching the ball. Everything else was big, though, from the situation and the importance to Thomas’ work. Three Horrys.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Karl says:

    Yea, it wasn’t a long distance shot or anything but with all the external variables at play, and the amount of drama between the playoff race and being it OT, I had to give it a 5. Just a filthy play. Hand-eye coordination, everything. Definitely memorable.

    • francool says:

      So you didn’t know who Horry was…

      • van Swaffelen says:

        if this is 5 Horrys, how many Horrys does MJ’ shot in the finals deserve? 20??
        It wasn’t the finals. It was not closing a series. It wasn’t even the playoffs.
        It was against one of the worst teams in the NBA, where just beeing in this situation should be voted minus 3 Horrys.
        But it was not easy.
        So 1,5 Horrys. Let’s make it 2. MAX

      • FutureCeltic says:

        Obviously, Mr. Swaffelen, you don’t know how the Horrys work. You are grading the Celtics, so the fact that the Celtics made the shot against a Number 2 in the league is a great thing on its own. The fact that the Celtics are 8th seed should, if anything, add Horrys. That, and Marcus Smart, is the reason for the three stars.

  2. NBAARON says:

    I gave it four, this was an overtime play, and It put the game away. The determination by Smart to just stay with it and put it back up was amazing. I listened to the game on audio, and It seemed like an important game. It was. This put the Celtics in the 8th seed in the east.

  3. Robert Horry III says:

    Maybe YOU don’t know who Horry was, francool. I give it 4 Horrys.

  4. OldCelt says:

    1 Horry. That coming from a Celtics fan. His 3-pointer just before was far more difficult and valuable. And Isiah Tomas should be fired from taking shots during end-game situations.

  5. Soer Boerebroek says:

    4

  6. should have been 4 atleast, i mean he had to hustle his way through to get the ball and the right time, in the right place.