Horry Scale: The whole ‘Truth’

VIDEO: Paul Pierce gives the whole “Truth” with game-winning basket.

Did you call bank? Paul Pierce was asked after putting the dagger in the Hawks.

“I called game,” he responded.

Perfect. And clutch. And another part of his Hall of Fame legacy. And a funny summation.

Pierce hitting the 21 footer — off glass — to give the Wizards a 103-101 win Saturday in Washington and a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals was everything, delivering in the moment and also the emotional boost of a close victory, or any victory, with All-Star John Wall sidelined by a broken left hand.

Pierce supplying a much-needed veteran presence in the wake of the emotional hit of losing Wall would have been plenty. It really would have been a big contribution as the Hawks charged back from a 21-point deficit with about 10 minutes to play. The shot, though, was a highlight moment even for a player who has had so many through the years.


It wasn’t just a clutch shot. It was a tough shot, slightly fading away and under defensive pressure from Dennis Schroder. Pierce was near the top of the free-throw circle, took a one-bounce dribble to his left and elevated with the additional clearance at 6 foot 7 over the 6-1 Schroder. Kent Bazemore came over for the double team, but it was too late. The ball was away.


Pierce shouldn’t have been needed to play the hero. The Wizards were up 21 early in the fourth quarter, until the Hawks went on a 17-0 run to close within three points with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining. When Mike Muscala connected from behind the arc with 14.1 seconds left, Atlanta had erased the entire deficit. It was 101-101, setting the stage for Pierce.


Rhetorical question, right?


Pierce’s momentum took him backward and to the court, where he stayed, on his back with his arms up and outstretched. Bradley Beal, the first teammate to get there, stood over Pierce and delivered a series of soft punches to the gut and chest — right, left, right, left, right. The other Wizards charged over to mob him, including Wall in suit and tie, as the crowd exploded in delight. The shot was the thing, but high marks for the reaction as well.


Five Horrys, because five is the limit. This should break the scale, though. Five isn’t enough. Ten wouldn’t be enough. Maybe 34 would be.



  1. chohbot says:

    Should start calling it the Truth Scale

  2. If D-Rose's was 5/5 Horry's says:

    than Pierce’s bank-shot deserves 6, but we all know the scale stops at five. A lesson to Atlanta Hawks (especially your coaching staff).. don’t ever underestimate the heart of a veteran champ. Pierce needed to be guarded by at least a 3, instead they marked him with the smallest Hawk out there? No question this is 5/5 Horry’s.

    • alexgrossman says:

      At the beginning of the play Pierce was actually being guarded by Kyle Korver who was defending as a 3 (since Schroeder and Bazemore were the 1-2). However, Korver got lost on the down screen and Schroeder picked up Pierce creating the mismatch. I can’t imagine Budenholzer was very pleased with the defensive switch but despite the size difference, the defense was quite good – Schroeder stayed tight and contested well, and Bazemore (although late) still got a decent second contest in as well. Regardless, never count a clutch shotmaker like Pierce out or you’ll pay the price.

      I think this deserves 5 Horry’s but the Rose shot deserved 4. If the Bulls had been down it would have been a different story but they were still headed for OT regardless.

      • Switch or no switch says:

        The error was fatal for them. Now you can argue the semantics how it was in the heat of the moment error, but c’mon… they know Pierce is a playoff caliber, NBA Finals MVP type player. You don’t automatically lose all that just because you’re over 35 :/ Say what you like, it was a stupid mismatch error, that Atlanta’s coaching staff should have considered before the play went up. Either way, it’s in the history books now, sunshine.

  3. Truth says:

    This had 2 problems that you normally care about, but now you don’t?
    — it went bank, when he didn’t call it. So kt was lucky
    — the scores were tied. If he misses, OT. You always favored buzzer beaters that not only win, but avoid defeat.

    • spurs says:

      agreed with “truth”. should be 4 horrys

    • Gecko1220 says:

      Lucky bank shots aren’t a thing in the pros other then for the miracle heaves. Great shooters are able to readjust at last moment to get the shot off right. Sure he didn’t yell out bank as he was going up like he was on a playground, but instead saw Bazemore and Korver closing out and decided to release it slightly higher for the extra security against a possible block. It wasn’t luck that it banked, it was a last minute instinctual shot alteration by one of the greatest shooters of all time.

    • Shane says:

      Totally agree with Truth, 3 for me – 1 point deducted for each of the items listed
      This is getting silly – you score every buzzer beater a 5 and it’s taking away from this scale. Maybe you should make it out of 10 to give more room for fairer scoring

  4. dikelmm1 says:

    All who rank less than 5 – how many games have you won at the last minute in the NBA playoffs after your team almost gave away the game?

  5. dae says:

    Great shot paul Pierce

  6. Ryan says:

    i give it a 4.. it was a perfect shot, also a very crucial playoff game. whi i didnt give it a 5? because the score was ties, it was a win or OT shot. if they were down, id probably give it a 5…

  7. Korben says:

    Not 5 Horrys, 4 at most. They blew a 21 point lead to Atlanta bench players? and they are celebrating? Are you kidding?

    DRose buzzer beater was worth more Horrys than this one for sure.

  8. steagl3 says:

    I’ve been watching Pierce since 1999 in Boston, and this was one of – if not THE best game winners I’ve seen him hit. Although not a D.C. fan, I was incredibly happy for that city and that team for experiencing what it’s like to have The Truth carry you through the rollercoaster ride of the playoffs. Hopefully D.C. can get the job done and progress to the ECF where Pierce’s wisdom will be even more needed. As for the Horry Scale… and easy 6 out of 5!

  9. Celticgreen BRD says:

    Love the Truth too much to give less than 5 Horries. That one was sick.

  10. lol

    what is it with these 5 horrys im shakin my head over here.

    again it was a difficult shot and important yes but it was going to be overtime at the worst.

    It wasn’t do or die. It was do or tie.

    4 Horrys.

  11. OldCelt says:

    Absolute stunner Paul. You know I love you man, but its only four. Tied game. Otherwise, its as good as it gets.

  12. Rej says:

    I rank it just a 4 and so is with D Rose’s shot earlier. You can only rank a 5 if you are down 2 and you hit a miraculous 3.

  13. Noitidart says:

    This shot didn’t carry as much as Rose’s with LBJ knocking them out so many times return from injury, referees totally going against Rose and his team at the end of the game specifically., and Rose fought all that off. Thats the only reason why I gave Rose 5 Horry’s even though it was a tie game and would have gone to over time if he missed.

    So to Pierce I’m giving him 3.5 (avg of 3-4) not a 4 as these guys had a 21 point lead.

  14. Joe says:

    All who rank 5–he got lucky with a bank shot…. Don’t need to win a last minute playoff game to see lots of players who don’t get lucky and hit the backboard win games. That should be the standard for 5 stars…. Not luck!

  15. haywood jablome says:

    Clearly this was a great shot. but i keep repeating: this scale desperately needs 10 stars instead of 5.
    It’s really hard to rank anything with only 3 different marks (because, understandably, a GWBB will almost always get at least 3 stars).

    The lack of increments makes this good idea kind of boring in the outcome, because there’s no real way to differentiatte between early-season heroics, playoff GWBBs like Vince Carter’s, or this one here Game 7 GWBB like Damian Lillard’s. They all just get 5 stars and that’s it.

    Time to retool!


  16. nothing but the truth says:

    Great shot by the Beantown God, still has some game in the tank… Hawks in 6 still, Wiz are very bad in crunch time without Wall, also ATL starters won’t have another night as bad as last one… disclaimer: I am not an ATL fan (Celts for life) but I like the way they play

  17. michael says:

    it was a pretty good buzzer beater, but if you compare it other buzzer beaters by people like michael jordan, lebron, kobe, etc. that buzzer isn’t as nice. I would rate it a three star because it is a monumental moment in paul pierce’s legacy and potentially the wizards organization but it won’t stand out in basketball history.

  18. alofthemgood says:

    i ranked D Ro’se 4 but I gave The truth a 5! the celebration and the reply to the reporter earned him the additional star!

    I called game!!

  19. Ken says:

    The Horry Scale needs to be out of 10. Here’s why: if you use the current scale, a GWBB should score a minimum of 3/5. A score of 1 or 2, although theoretically possible, is practically impossible, especially in the playoffs. Thus, the current scale of 1-5 for GWBB’s is really a scale of 3-5; not much room for differentiation.

    This was a 4/5, because if he misses, the game goes to overtime. Still, awesome shot.

  20. NBAARON says:

    I wish I could give it more.

  21. c. says:

    Great shot. You can say it was win or OT but this was win or lose. The Wizards had already given up 21 points if a few minutes. They’d lost the momentum and would have lost the game in OT. Pierce knew it.

  22. mrafyj says:

    Loved the shot. Definitely clutch BUT… Game was tied and it was game 3. A “5” should be for a buzzer-beater, 3-pointer, down by 2, to clinch something. This was a four at best.

  23. VR says:

    Not 5 Horrys because:

    1. Tied game
    2. Schroder don’t have a lenght to guard Truth on that play.. He had a nice look,and double came too late to have any impact on difficult of the shot.

    D-Rose made more difficult shot day before,and they have same grade.

    Criteria for Horry scale should be more strictly,I think..
    Great shot tho..

  24. Paul says:

    Does he practice banking shots from that spot? I bet NO, and that makes it luck. It doesn’t matter if he is so deluded that he thinks it was his “inner strength” or some cosmic force that caused it to bang in after being shot 2 feet long. The amazing part is that so many fans and even the analysts who should know better attribute it to “will to win”, “leadership”, etc.

  25. Zocom7 says:

    There goes The Truth, but his shot is definitely worth four Horry stars despite being defended by 3 opposing players. Derrick Rose’s shot was far better.

  26. LeBron says:


  27. LeBron says:

    Atl pack is back

  28. Kal says:

    i guess it’s all relative… which of the three people like best. LeBron’s was one of those cliffhanger type shots, where you just barely escape. Rose’s was a hail mary that went in because of good karma. but The Truth was just plain legit.

    the way he delayed so the other defenders could rush over, but it was already over… gets knocked back, the outstretched arms and smile because he knows this is magical and the Wiz aren’t supposed to be doing this to the #1 seed… tough shot at the buzzer and after blowing a big lead they probably would have lost in OT, so they needed this to go in…

    the other 5 star Pierce shots were the one in Miami in 2012 to go up 3-2 and the Brooklyn turnaround in Toronto last year… but this Washington show was the grand finale.