Horry Scale: LeBron delivers in Chicago


VIDEO: LeBron nails Taco Bell Buzzer Beater

It was reminiscent of the finish to Game 2 of the 2009 conference finals. The Cavs were in a desperate situation, in danger of facing a two-game deficit.

That game was in Cleveland, the Cavs were down two points, and there was 1.0 seconds on the clock. But the results, the shots were very similar.

LeBron James hit his third game-winning buzzer beater in the playoffs on Sunday, lifting the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 86-84 victory over the Chicago Bulls in Game 4 of the conference semifinals.

The Cavs passed their first big test of the second LeBron era. They were down 2-1 in the series. They were down 11 points late in the third quarter. Kyrie Irving was dealing with a foot injury and James himself turned his ankle midway through the third.

But they came back with some big shots from J.R. Smith and strong defense in the final period. And James provided the finishing touches on Cleveland’s biggest win of the season.

DIFFICULTY

A little nudge from James knocked Jimmy Butler off-balance, and he wasn’t able to close fast enough. James’ momentum was taking him toward the Bulls’ bench, but the space Butler provided (and the lack of a second defender) allowed him to square his shoulders and keep his balance, with his toes on the 3-point line. Of the three buzzer beaters we’ve seen in the last three days, it was the easiest shot.

GAME SITUATION

After coming back from 11 down, the Cavs blew a five-point lead in less than 30 seconds, thanks in part to James’ eighth turnover of the afternoon, an offensive foul with 14.3 seconds left.

Still, if the shot misses, they have another chance to redeem themselves in overtime.

IMPORTANCE

The playoffs appear to be wide open, especially in the Eastern Conference. If the Cavs lose this game, they’re in a situation – down 3-1 – that few teams have come back from.

But the win gives them back home-court advantage. Since Jan. 19, they’re 23-2 in Cleveland, where they will play Game 5 and 7 (if necessary).

CELEBRATION

A clumsy mob that spilled onto the scorer’s table.

GRADE

It’s the playoffs. It’s two teams that have a good shot of reaching The Finals if they get through this series. It was a high-leverage game. Five Horrys.

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54 Comments

  1. Where Amazing Happens says:

    As a Bulls fan, this one definitely stung. I was unhappy with the foul late in the game that they didn’t call when Rose was driving to the basket, but I had to look at this objectively. I gave Rose 5 Horry’s for his buzzer beater 2 nights ago, and this was just as important so to be fair, I gave this 5 as well. I was yelling at the TV in disgust as a fan, but I have to take my hat off to LeBron. This is why he is the best in the league (in my opinion). When he went down in pain earlier in the game, I was sincerely hoping he wasn’t hurt. While I want my team to win, I would NEVER wish injury or pain on an opponent. I want my team to be able to win without something like that happening, and if they can’t, then the other team deserves the W. Congrats to LeBron from the Chi-City. I may not be happy with the outcome today, but I have nothing but respect for you and your game.

    • haywood jablome says:

      Look, Mom, someone’s talking sense on the Internet!

      😉

    • Ivan says:

      Your the type of fans we need more of

    • Roigon says:

      Hats off to you bro

    • Yeah I’m a Cavs fan and a big Lebron fan but I didn’t like that Gasol was out.

      Too many players are out right now. I mean the games are competitive but none of the Eastern teams are at their best.

      Chicago missing Pau. Cavs missing Love. Hawks missing Sefalosha. Wizards missing Wall.

      Irving’s banged up. Taj Gibson’s banged up. This is not what you want to see in the playoffs.

      Honestly, I feel like the Eastern Conference is competing for second place. At this point none of the teams look like they have a chance in the Finals.

  2. NBA Analyst says:

    This was clearly 4 horrys. If this was 5, then some of the buzzer beaters I have seen are well beyond 5.

  3. LeBronIsDaGOAT says:

    Great shot from the corner. Definitely a hard shot, and very clutch. Definitely one of the clutchest shots of James’ career, and an impressive feat in the same number of buzzer beaters as Jordan.

  4. manikreigun says:

    As per LeBron, he asked the coach to give him the ball instead of inbounding it.
    FINALLY owning up to the big moment.

  5. Hory Horry Horry Horry says:

    4 Horrys, only because if he misses they don’t lose, they go to overtime. Just a little less pressure than a real win or lose shot. Other than that, great shot. And a little push off on the defender, like Jordan.

  6. NBAARON says:

    4 because of the extra timeout they gave the Cavs when the review at the monitor was going on to write up a play.

  7. TST says:

    if they were down and he hit the winner I would give 5 horrys, but since they were tied I give it 4. best clutch shot in LeBron’s carrier by far….

    • KorverMania says:

      thats what i thought too.. maybe 3 and a half? if cavs we facing elimination and down by a point… that would be a 5 horry.

  8. Mr B says:

    This can not be a 5 star! This wasn’t a game winning shot where a team was down, this was just to win. If he missed only thing would have happen is the game would have went overtime. The Cavs would not have lost and went down 3 – 1. This is an example of Lebron getting a little bit extra from the judges!!

  9. jbizz88 says:

    It was def a good shot but it was soo dumb that they were able to get a free timeout at such a critical moment in the game. Even jeff van gundy was saying how unfair that is but we he made the shot. next time

    • omyblaze57 says:

      Every team in the NBA seize those replay opportunities to do the same thing…

    • wes says:

      Lebron was also fouled by Noah on the play they reviewed so people shouldn’t be complaining about the “free time out”

    • kestas says:

      Those are the rules and they are the same for everyone. Besides, bulls players and coach were screaming for review.

  10. jbizz88 says:

    good shot but its dumb cleveland got the free timeout at the end in such a critical moment even jeff van gundy was talking about it. w/e next time i guess

  11. BernardV005 says:

    this is what you called REVENGE!!

  12. michael says:

    lebron’s buzzer is definitely a 5. With only 1 second and a two-point deficit, and the future of the playoffs for the Cavs on his shoulders, this is a true “clutch shot”, one with more pressure and more weight to carry than paul pierce’s shot.

    • omyblaze57 says:

      The game was tied @ 84 michael. Difficult shot though, going away from the basket into the corner

  13. jeff says:

    said the same thing about the Rose shot as well. only way its 5 horrys is if the cavs were down and it was a game winning or tying basket in that situation. Even if Lebron misses here they still likely would have won it OT.

  14. King of the all the you’re the best in the wold mvp all the time

  15. omyblaze57 says:

    I hope those saying that you don’t give 5 Horrys to LeBron because they weren’t down on the scoreboard, didn’t give Rose 5 Horrys either, since Rose’s shot was in the same situation with the game tied. I say the game situation was a difficult one for Cleveland, since I wouldn’t like to play an overtime game away from home, in danger of going down 3-1 on a playoff series. Fans give you that extra motivation to play additional time when you play at home, late in the season. But now, they got the momentum shift going back home with a better chance of getting the lead in the series, instead of facing elimination. My humble opinion. Btw, Go Celtics! lol

  16. I CALLED GAME!!!!!! says:

    I CALLED GAME!!!!!
    GAME!!!!!!!!!!

  17. dreadyjun says:

    Pleae oe made shot in the finals versus hundreds of pevious chokes. Rubbish!!!!!

  18. Ugh again it’s not 5 Horrys.

    All of these buzzer beaters were cool but none of them were 5 Horrys.

    None of them were Do or Die. They were all Do or Tie.

  19. Alex says:

    You contradict yourself a lot.
    How can it be 5 Horrys if the shot it’s not difficult, if he misses they don’t lose but they go to OT and the celebration it’s not great ?

  20. haywood jablome says:

    HORRY SCALE needs 10 Stars instead of 5. It has been said ad nauseam in the comments. Do it, already!
    🙂

  21. MadScience says:

    Lebron’s was the easiest shot of the 3 buzzer beaters, but also with the best execution. Pierce and Rose got lucky – they accidentally hit shots off the backboard. By the way, LeBron had to make up for losing a 6pt advantage with a minute left, mainly due to his stupid plays!

  22. kubuskubus says:

    While I think the shot was amazing and scratched all his wrongdoings in this game (the overall mediocre play, that offensive foul), I’d not exaggerate and give him 5 Horrys. None of the three buzzer-beaters – Rose’s, Pierce’s, James’s – deserves it (though LeBron came as close as it gets) as all of them were shot while the games were tied. All three still had that safety net as missing would result in an overtime.

  23. Kal says:

    2009 shot vs. Magic was 5 Horrys and one of the greatest NBA buzzer beaters. This one was more like a 4. (So was Rose’s. Compare it to Reggie Miller’s similar 2002 winner vs. New Jersey to see what a 5 looks like.)

    But… Cavs needed that shot painfully. So a huge play. They wouldn’t have survived OT and barely survived this game. They have 2 games in Cleveland, possibly, but game 5 is crucial and they’re looking so limping and exhausted… I have no idea how Cleveland can will themselves through this, seems like it’ll take something superhuman from all of them… They’ve played very strong the last three games, LeBron has done just about everything… How much more do they have left? Bulls could still win in game 6 or 7… But the Cavs have shown a little more fight in this series, so far, so it’s gonna hurt to see them fall…

    ps. Pierce’s shot is worth 5 Horry’s tho. And the way it went down, it seemed like he waited for more defenders just for dramatic effect.

  24. sally says:

    Why did they only count the shot as 2 he was clearly behind the line for it to be 3 ???? Lebron is King !!! I knew he would pull it out. Going back to Cleveland that one they will take as well. GO CAVS !!!

  25. JLew says:

    4! Only because the game was tied and it’s not a win or lose situation, a little less pressure. That being said, it was an incredible shot. For Rose… 3! The shot went in, but he didn’t make it. I think in Lebron’s post game interview he should have said, “I didn’t even need the backboard”
    I see the Lebron/Cleveland haters have voted with the 1’s and 2’s. Your out of your mind giving this anything less than a 4, and completely insane to say Rose’s was better.
    No Backboard Needed!!!!!

  26. engr_bol says:

    while the impact of the shot was huge, the pressure on Lebron to make it was less. It will be a very different situation if the Bulls were ahead in the dying seconds.

  27. OldCelt says:

    Tied game. 4.

  28. ACE says:

    IF THIS SHOT IS A 5/5 THEN WHAT DO YOU CALL A GAME WINNING 3 DOWN 2PTS IN GAME 7 OF THE FINALS????

    JUST ASKING….

    • KJones says:

      Bump Horry! Put that player as the face of the clutch scale! lol Let’s say Johnny Bravo hit that shot, it would be called the Bravo scale from now on. lmao

  29. Roigon says:

    5! No bank needed

  30. jack says:

    This is why so called king james. No matter how many times u fail but never give up. Thats the difference. Bulls had lot of chances to put nail in but Its either ovoverconfidence or poor judgment they lost it. Good series. Both team are equal fighter but at end experience counts on big plays.

  31. Britney Batsi says:

    Lebron’s shot was the easiest of the three?! The person who wrote this article clearly doesn’t play basketball. Try redoing those three shots and you’ll find out. Goodluck hitting the ring on Lebrons shot. 5 stars for me!

  32. Lee yam says:

    That’s the shot to carry Cleveland to the Final vs Clippers!

  33. Lee yam says:

    That’s the shot carry Cleveland to the Final vs Clippers!

  34. jty7271 says:

    3 Stars. If he missed they go to overtime which negates a lot of the pressure, plus with only 1.5 seconds he didn’t have much time to think about it. However it was a difficult fade away long 2 from the corner over an excellent 6’7 defender in Jimmy Butler, and he nailed it perfectly, unlike the 6’7 Pierce the other night who hit a lucky bank over a 6’1 guard. LeBron’s ability to create space from the defender is part of the skill, intelligence and timing of that shot. A very good game winner and it would deserve a higher score if the game were on the line, instead of just overtime. So, 3 stars!

  35. JustMy2Cents says:

    I do understand the opinion of those saying that this should only be 4h’s, given that the situation that it was either go to overtime or win the game. But for me, it is worthy of 5h’s. If we look at the bigger picture, missing that shot only increases the chance of them losing the game in overtime. Why? 1. LBJ, technically he’s injured. Even if he chose to play with the injured ankle ’til the end of the game, it may have an effect on game 5 which could cost them the series. 2. Kyrie, banged up. 3. Chi-Town home court advantage.

  36. willie says:

    this is one of the best series I’ve ever watched. Two teams, different but equal. This series should be for the Eastern Conference Championship. Both teams deserve to be called champions.

  37. Sean says:

    Tell that dumb lady to shut up I’m tryin to watch the game and she is all I hear pleaeeeeeeeeessssssssseeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

  38. Why Dallas Why? says:

    This CANT be a 5 HOrry play.

    its a 5 in Point of Imprtance, no Question. But in Point of Difficulty its a 3 – so we mix it up and we have a 4 Horry Play.

    As Difficulty has to have also a big influence on a rating. If we only count importance then a undefended Fast Break Playoff Game Winner Layup will be 5 Horrys always too.

  39. Mud says:

    Cool shot and and all but WTF with the post-celebration choke-hold?

  40. colby says:

    I put five because it is really hard to do a fade away side three with Jimmy Butlers hand in your face.