The Horry scale

Horry Scale: Waiters Serves

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


VIDEO: Waiters’ game-winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Things have been quiet of late around Horry Scale country. Too quiet, to be honest. In fact, things were quiet enough that I knew something had to be afoot. After a record-setting pace though the All-Star break, we hadn’t had a game winning buzzer beater since Dirk Nowitzki dispatched the Knicks back 31 days ago. And yet here are, back and at it once again, thanks to Dion Waiters and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who knocked off Detroit 97-96.

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.

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.

We all clear? OK, let’s break tonight’s shot down, our sixteenth Horry Scale entry of the season…

DIFFICULTY
I know someone will get into the comments section and argue that this wasn’t all that tough of a shot. But to me it was a pretty difficult shot on two different levels. First, it was essentially a tightly contested jumper, with Rodney Stuckey directly in Waiters’ face. That’s a tough shot no matter how good a shooter you might be. Second, Waiters didn’t drive, so to free up room he did the dribble left/shoot right move, which as anyone who has played basketball can tell you, is much tougher than it looks.

GAME SITUATION
This category is where this shot picks up steam. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Cavs were losing 82-66. They mounted a bit of a comeback but were still down 9 with 3:38 to play, when a Kyle Singler jumper gave Detroit a 96-87 lead. But Detroit would not score again. By the time Detroit got the ball with just under a minute to play, their lead was down to 1. They ran the clock down, missed a shot, got the ball back, and then missed another shot with 3.2 remaining. And that’s when we pick up action in the clip above. The play design wasn’t all that spectacular — Waiters pushed off a bit to get open and catch the pass, but he was able to make the play when it counted. Of course, Waiters knew it all along …

CELEBRATION
Considering this was a game between two teams with no chance of making the playoffs, you wouldn’t think there was much riding on it. But when you factor in the epic comeback by the Cavs, I guess you can understand the Cavs reacting like they just won a playoff game. To me the most telling reaction was the fan just behind the basket in the beige shirt, who has his arms raised to the heavens as the ball flies through the air, and then as it swishes through, puts his head into his hands and collapses into his seat.

GRADE
I know it wasn’t a game of any consequence, and that certainly works against the importance of the play. But the reaction is so intense and genuine that I think we have to consider this. So, all factored together, I’m playing this down the middle and giving this Three Horrys out of five …

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What say you? How many Horry’s would you give Dion Waiters’ GWBB?

Horry Scale: Dirk Does It


VIDEO: Dirk’s Game Winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Juuuust when you thought we were out, they go and pull us back in. The season may be just past the halfway mark, but our record-setting pace is continuing, as tonight Dirk Nowitzki did his dagger-shooting thing to beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

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.

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.

We all clear? OK, let’s break this shot down…

DIFFICULTY
I feel like this is the part of this play that will be most overlooked. Yes, it was just a jump shot, and as far as play designs go, it wasn’t exactly the most complex play Rick Carlisle has ever inked out. But man was that a hard shot. I mean, if Carmelo Anthony was any closer to Dirk he could have untied his shoes. Dallas got the ball in to Dirk at top of key with the score tied at 108 and just 7.3 seconds left to play. Dirk caught the ball with his back to the basket, singled up against ‘Melo. Using his left foot as a pivot, Dirk rotated a full 360 degrees while ‘Melo sniped at the ball. He finally dribbled one time with his left hand, and jabbed his right foot forward just a bit to create a few inches of space. And with Carmelo basically chest-to-chest, Dirk raised up and released that textbook jump shot over ‘Melo with just under 2 seconds remaining. The ball hit the glass, the front of the rim, popped up into the air, and then gently settled back into the bucket. Again, not the most aesthetically pleasing play, but good grief what a tough shot.

GAME SITUATION
This was perhaps an even tougher pill for Knicks fans to swallow because of the game situation. After being a mostly back-and-forth affair all evening, the Mavs seized the lead down the stretch. But give the Knicks credit for clawing back, mostly behind 44 points from ‘Melo. Down 6 with 1:12 to play, the Knicks got a three-point play from Chandler, a steal, and a three from Melo to tie the game at 108. Dallas had won 9 of 12 coming in, including two straight on the road. With the Knicks still clinging to hopes of getting into the playoffs, tonight was the kind of game they really had to win. To lose on a shot that bounced all over the rim before dropping in must be tough. But then, the Knicks have been on the other side of a similar situation before, right Allan Houston?


VIDEO: Knicks beat Heat in 1999 playoffs

CELEBRATION
Dirk seemed to mostly keep his cool, because this ain’t Dirk’s first time at the big shot rodeo. I loved the way Jose Calderon took off on a sprint up the court as the shot went through, and he grabbed Dirk in a bear hug to celebrate. Also, of late I’ve tried to incorporate fan reaction into the ratings, and Knicks fans did not disappoint, as you can see several of them with their hands to their heads in the background as the shot drops through.

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And here’s a better look at some fan reactions to Dirk’s shot (h/t netw3rk & Kyle Weidie)

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GRADE
So it may not have been the best play design, but it was still a tough shot. It may not have been the most momentous game, or the most spirited reaction, but all together it was a pretty good play. So I’m going to go with three Horrys for this one…

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What say you? How many Horrys would you give Dirk Nowitzki’s GWBB?

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…

DIFFICULTY

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.

GAME SITUATION

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.

CELEBRATION

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…

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GRADE

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.

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

Horry Scale: Foye Makes it Fun


VIDEO: Foye Makes It Fun

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s late here on the East Coast, but I started watching the Nuggets/Clippers game in the second half and had this vague idea that maybe, just maybe, this thing could come down to a game-winning buzzer-beater. And that’s why we’re here, right? But no, that probably wasn’t going to happen. Still, I kept watching, and kept watching…and then Randy Foye happened.

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 your edification, this is the thirteenth GWBB this season, an incredible pace. Can we keep it up? We’re gonna try. In the meantime, let’s break this shot down…

DIFFICULTY
It was a difficult shot, but that was almost completely of the Nuggets’ making. Down 2 points, with just over six seconds to play, the Nuggets ran an inbounds play that didn’t really seem to put them in a situation to succeed. They threw the ball in to Kenneth Faried just inside the three point line. Faried then turned and tossed it to J.J. Hickson, who was even further away from the basket. What are they doing?! With just over 2 seconds left, Hickson found Foye, cutting toward the top of the key on the right side of the court. Foye caught it, well covered by Jamal Crawford. Foye used Hickson as a quasi-pick, and Blake Griffin switched onto Foye. With the clock ticking down, Foye forced up a long, contested three, from four or five feet behind the line, and he drained the shot. It wasn’t much of a play — the shot was born out of necessity more than anything. But Foye drilled it, which is why we’re here.

GAME SITUATION
It had been a back-and-forth game down the stretch, with both teams fighting to grab the lead. Just moments earlier, the Nuggets were sitting on a two point lead, when the Clips got the ball to J.J. Redick. When the defense ran out on Redick, he half-heartedly drove the lane and eventually kicked it out to an open Matt Barnes on the wing, who drained the three to give the Clips a (temporary) 115-113 lead. Denver got the ball back with 6 seconds to play, with a chance to go for two to tie or three to win. They went for three, although again it seemed to be almost an accidental play. Whenever your play-by-play announcer has time to nervously say “Too much time!” twice, that probably wasn’t the play you were going for. But then, it worked, didn’t it?

CELEBRATION
It’s tough to see well in the clip above, but Foye hit the deck when the shot went in, and moments later, several other Nuggets (Hickson and Faried) hit the court and slid into Foye as if he were a base on a baseball diamond. Then the Nuggets performed several group hugs as they all left the floor. Overall, it was a fairly excited celebration, which was fun to see.

GRADE
It was a tough shot — fading left and shooting right. Although, again, this was mostly Denver’s own doing. It wasn’t much of a play, wasn’t much strategy involved. I’d give this two Horrys, except that it was a really, really long three, and I enjoyed the celebration. So I’m giving this three Horrys….

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What say you? How many Horrys would you give Randy Foye’s GWBB?

Horry Scale: Turner Turns Up


VIDEO: Turner Turns Up

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And we’re back again. While large swaths of the country still trying to thaw out from this bitter winter, Evan Turner turned up for his second GWBB this season — here’s the first — and cajoled us into firing up the Horry Scale tonight.

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.

Got it? By the way, this is the twelfth GWBB this season, so we’re on a record pace. OK, let’s do this…

DIFFICULTY
Strictly speaking, this was not the most complex of plays. With Jerryd Bayless guarding him one-on-one, Turner went to his right with three dribbles, before crossing over to his left hand with one dribble, and then taking one more dribble with his left hand and taking the shot with his right. With those five dribbles, Turner was able to penetrate from the perimeter into the lane. Jared Sullinger (Turner’s college teammate at fellow former Ohio State Buckeye, by the way) stepped up for the Celts to play some help defense on the shot, and his minor collision with ET managed to make Turner’s release more awkward than it would have been otherwise. Still, Turner essentially had a 7-footer for the win.

GAME SITUATION
Coming into this game, both teams were riding three-game losing streaks, so you can argue that while the game may not have been a must-win for either team, both teams could have used the W. As for this particular play, the Celtics were sitting on a one-point lead with the game and shot clocks both running down. Kris Humphries missed a 15-footer from the wing, and Michael Carter-Williams grabbed the board with about 11 seconds remaining. After dribbling up court (and perhaps committing a palming violation, as you can might hear Tommy Heinsohn argue in the clip above), with about 6 seconds left, Carter-Williams handed off to Turner at half court, and everyone cleared out to let him work against Bayless. The story here, to me, is that even though the Sixers had two timeouts remaining, they elected not to use them, which gave them the chance to attack a Boston defense that hadn’t had a chance to set up.

CELEBRATION
In the clip above you see the Sixers involved all sprint to the their bench on the other end of the court, a perfectly acceptable reaction and celebration to a GWBB on the road. What you don’t see in that clip is an extended celebration at half court before they headed to the locker room. I also enjoyed the reaction of the folks sitting courtside next to the Sixers bench. It doesn’t get much more anguished than this, as you can hopefully see in my this screenshot below…

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GRADE
It wasn’t a wide open shot — Turner had to create that for himself and make something happen. And Turner did get bumped on the release, making him twist to get the shot off. I also did have to consider the reactions, from both the players and the fans. All told, I’m giving this a solid three Horrys…

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What say you? How many Horrys would you give Evan Turner’s GWBB?

The Best Game Winning Buzzer Beater So Far This Season?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Here at the All Ball Blog, we like to recognize whenever someone makes a game-winning buzzer beater (GWBB) by breaking out something we call the Horry Scale to try and give each shot some perspective. I’ve taken my lumps from you guys this season, as I’ve tried to figure out just how many Horrys to dole out for each shot, but that’s fine: What I love about the Horry Scale is that you, our readers, love these shots as much or more as we do. You understand how improbable and how exciting they are, and you like celebrating them along with us.

That said, Horry Scale shots have to be game winners with 0.0 remaining on the clock. Which is why some last-second shots this season have not qualified — I think Russell Westbrook has made two shots to win games, but both times there were fractions of a second remaining.

The other rule that is not explicitly stated but clearly implied, is that Horry Scale entries have to be NBA game winners. Otherwise I’d be over here writing about high school and college games all day and night.

With that stated, the following shot does not qualify for the Horry Scale, since it took place in a Euroleague game between Anadolou Efes Istanbul and EA7 Emporio Armani Milan. But it was a former NBA player, ex-Nets point guard Zoran Planinic, who took the incredible shot. Anadoulou Efes Istanbul was down 2, with about 2 seconds left when Planinic launched from three-quarter court. And, well, check it out…
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VIDEO: Planinic Euroleague Game Winner

I know some of you have disagreed with my ratings this season, but to me this is obviously 5 out of 5. Heck, I might give this one 6 out of 5. Incredible shot.

Oh, and as pointed out on Daily Picks and Flicks, Planinic ain’t new to this. Check out this shot from his days in the Swamp in Jersey…
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VIDEO: Planinic In Jersey

Horry Scale: Taj Tops L.A.


VIDEO: Gibson’s Game Winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — After a flurry of Horry Scale entries around the winter holidays, we went into a long slumber, with no game-winning buzzer-beaters since January 3, when Andre Iguodala last made an entry. But now, after a long day of NBA action, thanks to Taj Gibson and the Chicago Bulls’ 102-100 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, we have yet another GWBB to break down.

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.

With the groundwork laid, let’s do this, shall we?

DIFFICULTY
With 0.9 left on the clock, the Bulls most likely had to run a play where the guy who caught the ball was heading toward the basket. If you watch closely, even before the ball is inbounded to Gibson, every Bulls player is streaking toward the rim, ready and able to get off a last-second shot. Jimmy Butler acts as sort of a bulldozer, moving Lakers guard Nick Young out of the lane. And as Gibson cuts to the basket, he manages to pin his defender, Lakers wing Manny Harris, behind him, basically creating a Taj-Gibson-sized target moving toward the rim. Yet with all seven-feet of Pau Gasol defending Mike Dunleavy, who was there to make the pass, Dunleavy had to resort to a bounce pass to get the ball to Gibson. Gasol spun around and ended up running at Gibson, nearly blocking the shot. But Gibson made a smooth catch and lefty layup (he shoots his jumpers righty), all in less than a second. If all that wasn’t enough, according to Bulls announcer Chuck Swirsky, Gibson said he’d never even made a game-winner before …

Nice way to start.

GAME SITUATION
Since trading away Luol Deng and waiving Andrew Bynum, the immediate future of the Bulls — or at least their intentions — has been somewhat murky. Their roster may not be what we thought it would be at the start of the season, but Tom Thibodeau teams always play hard, and Monday night was no exception. Even after taking a three-point lead in overtime, which Nick Young erased via free throws with four seconds to go, these Bulls don’t know when to say when.

CELEBRATION
One of the problems endemic to GWBB’s is that often the players involved aren’t even sure whether or not the shot actually beat the buzzer, which can lead to some subdued celebrations. Still, the Bulls players were pretty excited, including a leaping chest/shoulder bump between Jo Noah and Gibson. But if there was an image that summed up how great the Bulls felt about the win, it was the shot of all-business Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau smiling and giving Gibson five as they left the court.

GRADE
Lefty layup. Contested shot. Slick inbounds play. Overtime. Thibs smiling. Thibs smiling! I have been criticized in the past for being too tough on some shots, but the only thing I discount about this game/play is that it was a .500 team (Chicago) against a team 10 games under .500 (L.A.). If this was a playoff game I’d go five Horrys. But for now, I’m going four Horrys …

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What say you? How many Horrys does Taj Gibson’s shot deserve?

Horry Scale: Dre Delivers


VIDEO: Andre Iguodala’s Game Winner In Atlanta

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — AHHH. Of course, it happened again. After I lamented Joe Johnson rudely intruding on my vacation with his Game Winning Buzzer Beater last night, of course Andre Iguodala had to get in on this as well. You want a vacation? Suck it up, buddy! Sorry Mom and Dad!

Like I said last night, I know we usually air these posts out a bit, but this one is going to be a bit more to the point, because, you know, vacation. But 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.

And so here we are, with Andre Iguodala tearing me away from movie night with the family to write another Horry Scale post. (BTW, thanks Dre!) Let’s do this…

DIFFICULTY
It was just six weeks ago that Andre Iguodala hit a GWBB to beat the Thunder. This time Andre was the inbounds man instead of setting the pick. He got the ball in to Stephen Curry, and the Hawks immediately doubled Curry. In the circumstance, this seemed like the right thing to do, because, you know, it’s Steph Curry and draining crazy threes is the kind of thing Curry does. Curry made the smart play and hit the open Iguodala, and Dre spun around and, completely unguarded, drained the long three for the win. Jeff Teague made a late charge at him, but it was too little (literally), too late. Simple, smart basketball by the Warriors. And if the Hawks were going to double someone, they should probably have had someone ready to rotate to the shooter quicker than they did.

GAME SITUATION
I grew up a Hawks fan, so I’m used to seeing the Hawks blow close games at the buzzer. That said, with Al Horford injured and out for the season, this is the type of game the Hawks probably aren’t supposed to even be close in, much less have a chance at winning. The Warriors were down 8 heading into the fourth, but they mounted an epic comeback to not only get into the game but to win it with that long last second three. Nice road win for Golden State, tough home loss for the ATLiens.

CELEBRATION
The Warriors managed to piece together my favorite type of celebration, where they exit the floor as they’re cheering on the shot. Also, Dre appeared to shout out someone in the crowd as he sprinted to the opposite end of the court. (Maybe Harry the Hawk? Spirit the Hawk?) Klay Thompson was gesturing for everyone to get on their feet, even as all the Warriors cleared the floor. Also worth noting, someone in an orange shirt sprinted off the Warriors bench and narrowly missed delivering a shivering chest bump to Iguodala. I’m guessing that was Kent Bazemore, because that seems like a really Kent Bazemore thing to do.

GRADE
Clutch shot. Not an easy shot, because a three-pointer with the clock ticking down isn’t easy. But then, it was an open shot, and it was the kind of shot Andre Iguodala loves to take, even with the pressure on him. So for those reasons and more, I’m giving this shot Three Horrys…

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What say you? How many Horrys does Andre Iguodala’s shot deserve?

Horry Scale: Joe Knows


VIDEO: Joe Johnson Does It Again

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s late at night, I’ve got one full day of vacation staring me in the face, and before I drift off to bed, I’m thinking about the last few things I’d like to accomplish (a long nap tomorrow, not doing chores, etc.) before heading back to the blizzard in NYC. And then Joe Johnson does it again. The Brooklyn Nets needed a win in the worst way, and who better to turn to than Joe Cool?

I know we usually air these posts out a bit, but this one is going to be a bit more to the point, because, you know, vacation. But 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.

One other thing before we move on: I’ve received a few emails from Blazers fans and Thunder fans wondering why I had not done Horry Scale posts for their teams when Lillard and Westbrook have hit game-winners. My reasoning is sound: Those guys have hit game-winners, yes, but they both left tenths of a second on the clock. And as we all know from reading the rules above, we are looking for shots with 0.0 remaining on the clock.

Which leads us to Joe Johnson…

DIFFICULTY
The toughest part of Joe’s game winner was having the 6-10ish Serge Ibaka guarding him. But the rest of the shot was the same kind of shot Joe’s been knocking down his entire pro career. He inbounded the ball to Kevin Garnett, who handed it back to Joe, and then you can see all the other Nets clear out of the way and just let Joe do his thing. I’ve often said that if Joe Johnson were in a one-on-one contest against any other NBA player, I think he’d fare pretty well, because he’s terrific at using his dribble and his size to nearly always get his shot off. And this instance was no exception.

GAME SITUATION
More like season situation. The Nets have famously been something of a mess this season, and the recent season-ending injury to Brook Lopez led to many thinking it was time to put the final fork in the Nets (if we hadn’t already). So to say they needed a win not just on this night but to give life to their season is no understatement. And I’m pretty sure nobody thought that win would come on the road, against the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder.

CELEBRATION
Rowdy. Even moreso than on Johnson’s previous game-winner this season. Of course, even though this isn’t an overtime finish, the Nets probably have more at stake now than they did a few weeks back. They’ve been knocked down, but they got up again.

GRADE
We’ve had a run of 4 Horry scores of late, and I think it’s time to break that streak. While the shot over the bigger defender was impressive, it was a basic jumper in a one-on-one setting. So I’m giving this three Horrys

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What say you? How many Horrys does Joe Johnson’s GWBB deserve?

Horry Scale: Teague Time


VIDEO: Teague’s Winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Perhaps you thought you were done unwrapping presents, but tonight in Cleveland, the Hawks and Cavs had one last gift for you. It was one of the most entertaining games of the season, so of course it had to end (not in regulation, not in overtime, but in double overtime) with a game-winning buzzer-beater from Hawks guard Jeff Teague.

Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain: 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.

With the rules in place, tonight we look to the shores of Lake Erie, to Cleveland, where Jeff Teague could not be stopped…not even by Uncle Drew.

DIFFICULTY
To be fair, it wasn’t the toughest shot in the world — Teague drove left and pulled up for the right-handed jumper, kind of like Hawks guard Mike Bibby used to do. The simple genius in this play was the Hawks running Paul Millsap at Teague with about 6 seconds left to ostensibly set a screen. Millsap got to Teague and set what was basically a token screen, and the Cavs switched the pick. Now, we’ve talked about switching picks here previously — pretty much every NBA team switches picks in the final seconds because the last thing you want is someone who is totally unguarded. You might end up with a mismatch, but at least you’ve got someone defending everyone. On this play, that meant the Cavs went from having Kyrie Irving on Teague to having the 6-foot-9 Tristan Thompson guarding Teague. (Kyrie, by the way, was equally huge tonight, finishing with 40 points and 9 assists). This is what is known as a mismatch, and it only took Teague a few dribbles to shake Thompson and clear room for the last-second shot.

GAME SITUATION
It is in this category that this shot really soars. To begin with, Teague missed a floater with seconds left in regulation that would have broken the tie at 95. Not long into the first overtime, Hawks All-Star center Al Horford had an injury to what appeared to be his right shoulder/chest that took him out of the game, and forced the Hawks to use a variety of makeshift lineups down the stretch. With about 7 seconds left in OT and the Hawks down three, Teague drained a long three-pointer to tie the game at 108. Then with 2.4 seconds left in overtime, the Hawks had a shot at a GWBB from the baseline that Teague couldn’t connect on, sending the game into double OT. In the second OT, Teague had a huge drive-and-one to give the Hawks a 125-123 lead, and then with the game level at 125, Teague ended it. Basically, the situation couldn’t have been much more dramatic. And Teague put the bow on top.

CELEBRATION
I’m going to lump the ball going through the rim as part of the celebration, because it doesn’t really fit anywhere else (it’s not “difficulty,” it’s just lucky) and that was a huge part of what made this such a great shot. The ball hit the rim five times, I believe, and it may have even kissed the glass somwhere in there, all while the buzzer was sounding in the background and you wondered, “It’s not going to…no way…that can’t…ohmygoshhemadeit!” And then after the ball drops, you see Teague laying flat on the ground celebrating — not only the GWBB but also a career-high 34 points — with Kyle Korver pounding on his chest. This was the first prone Horry Scale celebration of the season, I believe.

GRADE
For reasons that will become evident in the next week or so, I watched this game intently from the Turner Studios in Atlanta, and the deeper the game went, the more sure I was that we’d have a GWBB. It was an exciting, close game, and it had an equally exciting finish. So for all the reasons detailed above, I’m giving this Four Horrys. I thought seriously about giving this a Five just because it was such a great game, but I felt the actual shot could have had a bit of a higher degree of difficulty.

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What say you? How many Horrys would you give Jeff Teague’s GWBB?