ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just because NBA players may become friendly with one another, that doesn’t mean they can’t find the motivation necessary to get fired up when taking on an opponent…particularly if it’s an old friend. When the Jazz took on the Bobcats over the weekend, it meant a return match-up for former Jazz big Al Jefferson, who signed as a free agent with the Bobcats this summer.
To make sure everyone was in the proper frame of mind, Jazz center Enes Kanter left a trash-talking note in Jefferson’s locker (complete with a reference to Jefferson’s super-sized bed) to ensure he was properly motivated.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — These things happen in bunches, it would seem. Seriously, we go days, weeks even, without any movement on the Horry Scale, and then it all goes crazy. Now it’s as though we can’t go a day or two without a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater happening. And that’s not counting Damian Lillard twice flirting with entries on the Scale and missing by tenths of seconds.
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, today we look north of the border to lovely Toronto, Canada, where Charlotte’s Kemba Walker pulled off some last-second magic…
The Bobcats had the ball out of bounds with exactly one second remaining and the score tied at 102. The play the Bobcats drew up essentially had two players staggered a few feet away from each other, running a loop away from the ball. Al Jefferson then set a screen right around the free-throw line for Walker, who flashed across the lane and cleared space for himself by literally rubbing off Jefferson as he went past. As Walker cleared Jefferson and neared inbounds man Josh McRoberts, he drifted toward the baseline, further separating himself from defender Kyle Lowry. Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas, who switched on the play and left Jefferson for Walker, was able to get a hand up in Walker’s face, but it was too little, too late, and Walker was left with a catch-and-shoot jump shot from about 16 feet for the win. Nice shot considering the circumstances, but basically an open catch-and-shoot by NBA standards. (Also, shout-out to McRoberts for the nifty pump-fake on the inbound pass — he fakes right then passes left — which created the room to make the pass.)
Tie score, in overtime, one second left. It doesn’t get much more money than that. But it’s also worth noting that the Bobcats had been down 16 earlier in the night and managed to come back and make a game of it. Also, Bobcats coach Steve Clifford noted that Walker sinking a GWBB like that was “in his nature.” Nobody associated with the Bobcats has won much of anything in the NBA, at least since being associated with the Bobcats, but it’s worth remembering that while in college at Connecticut, Walker hit his share of big shots and was a first-team All-American as the Huskies won a national championship. So while Walker has worked to establish his place in the NBA, he has a background that would suggest that you want him taking this shot.
This is the part of these Horry Scale plays I’ve tried to focus on because there are so many varying reactions. In this case, for some reason, when Walker’s shot swishes through, all the members of the Bobcats on the court calmly turn and walk away. (McRoberts is purposefully walking in the other direction well before the shot drops, like he’s late for an appointment.) Walker does seem to get mobbed by teammates eventually, but it’s only once he’s closer to his own bench. Also, if you crank up the audio on the clip above, someone begins laughing maniacally around the 11-second mark. Not sure what that’s about but it’s a fun wrinkle.
This probably isn’t a game with any immediate or long-term championship implications. If anything, perhaps a win like this — on the road, in overtime — will give the Bobcats a bit of a spark as they try to get to .500. Still, a defended catch-and-shoot, in overtime … when you factor it all together, I’m giving this shot three Horrys.
What say you? How many Horrys would you give Kemba Walker’s game-winning buzzer-beater?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the NBA season literally hours away, teams around the League are out and about in their local communities doing things to connect with fans, like the video we saw last week where the Utah Jazz hit up an area mall. In the videos below we see several members of the Charlotte Bobcats out in their community meeting fans, making them sandwiches and carrying their drugstore purchases to their car.
I like that Kemba Walker admits he has always wanted to make a sandwich at Subway, because honestly, who hasn’t looked behind the counter and, even just once, wanted to go all in on a sandwich? Also, the quick Al Jefferson chest-pound after hanging up the phone is a fantastic moment.
Only three game-winning buzzer beaters so far this season. A product of the condensed schedule? Complete coincidence? Whatever it is, here’s hoping the second half of the season brings a few more of them.
For those that 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 Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.
The Timberwolves, like any young team with talent but lacking in crunch-time experience, seem to find themselves in a lot of games that come down to the wire. They are getting that experience quickly — the last Horry Scale entry also featured a Timberwolf. Tonight’s heroics were provided by Hang Time Blog favorite Luke Ridnour. Let’s see how he stacks up to his teammate:
This shot was pretty easy, thanks in large part by the Jazz deciding that defense wasn’t really necessary on their part. After making quick work of Gordon Hayward, Ridnour gets into the paint where Al Jefferson lurks. Jefferson stays at home though, and Luke gets a pretty uncontested look at a floater for the win. To be fair, that shot is pretty delicate regardless of whether it’s contested or not, but any point guard worth his salt should have that in their arsenal.
The Timberwolves trailed by 16 with 9:36 left to play, but went on a tear to take a two-point lead with 22.3 seconds left to play. Jefferson then tied the game against his former team on a jumper with 7.0 seconds left to play, and the Timberwolves called timeout and took the ball out at half court. A pretty decent set up for Minnesota, with plenty of time to get a shot off and no penalty for a miss.
Utah and Minnesota are both on the fringe of the playoff chase, and in the loaded West every win counts. This is particularly nice for the Timberwolves, especially given how they lost the other night.
Ridnour gives the traditional two fingers pointed skyward, and the team rallies around to congratulate him by the bench. It’s always great when a shorter player does something — always more exciting when one of his teammates picks him up to celebrate.
2 Horrys. All in all a fairly pedestrian buzzer-beater, largely due to the Jazz’ defensive indifference, but I’ll give it an extra Horry due to both teams’ proximity to each other in the race for the 8 spot in the West, plus the terrific fourth-quarter comeback to get them in position to win in the first place.
What do you think?
Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know viaemail or Twitter.
As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.
With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Utah Jazz, who played three straight from Feb. 12-14.
Game 1: Jazz 98, Grizzlies 88 - Pretty nice way to start things off — a win over the Grizzlies on the road, with Al Jefferson leading the way with 21 points and a season-high 15 rebounds. Gordon Hayward had 23 points and one rebound, and I can’t decide if I think the coaches congratulated him for that effort or made him stay after practice. 3 points (1 for the win, 1 for +10 margin, 1 for road)
Game 2: Hornets 86, Jazz 80 - They should get extra negative points for this loss, as the Hornets had only four wins on the season coming in and were losers of eight straight beforehand. Chris Kaman boosted his potential trade value for New Orleans, dropping 27 and 13 on the Jazz. -1 point
Game 3: Thunder 111, Jazz 85 - Third games in three nights will produce results like this from time to time, as the Jazz got behind early and often, shot 35 percent from the field, and got blasted on the Western Conference-leading Thunder’s home court. 0 points
If you told me before the start of their trip the Jazz would lose two of three, I’d have probably agreed. I wouldn’t have presumed that one of those losses would have come at New Orleans though, that’s for sure.2 total points for Utah.
Up next: The Phoenix Suns play three straight Feb. 13-15.
With the regular season behind us and the playoffs set to tip off this weekend, it’s the perfect time to do a little looking back at some of the fun we had during the past six months.
One of our favorite things to write about on All Ball has been the Horry Scale breakdowns of every GWBB (game-winning buzzer-beater) from the season, of which, in the end, there were 16 during 2010-11. Let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable:
Best Executed Horry
One of the most unlikely endings to a game all season, as Nic Batum scores four points in the last 0.9 seconds to beat the Spurs, the last two of which came on this picture-perfect lob off the inbounds pass from Andre Miller to ring up the Horry Scale breakdown. Portland’s Rose Garden would be my choice for where all GWBBs would take place, if I had my druthers. Where does one get druthers, I wonder? Runner-up: Andrew Bogut – really this should be a tie, I just love Portland celebrations.
Fortunately, Al Jefferson‘s tip-in at the buzzer against the Raptors last night fits snugly without our criteria for Horry inclusion, so let’s dispense with the intro and get to it.
Once again, the Horry scale examines a shot in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.
How did Big Al do? Let’s investigate:
Tough to rate. After all, a tip-in like this is pretty much all luck. Unlike, say, Mike Dunleavy‘s GWBB from earlier this season against the Hornets, where he was clearly in position to try to tip the ball directly into the basket, Jefferson’s touch on the ball is almost like a volleyball set that just happens to take the right trajectory into the hoop. He’s obviously trying to tip in the game-winner, but you rarely see a shot go four feet in the air from 10 inches in front of the basket.
Tie ballgame, but it almost doesn’t matter with a tip because there is no time to consider alternatives.
Ever since the Jazz traded Deron Williams to New Jersey, most people have written off Utah in the Western conference playoff race. It’s not an entirely unfair assertion considering they were 2-5 without him before last night’s win. However, there is still talent in Utah, and though it is still struggling, the Jazz are just 1 1/2 games behind Memphis for the No. 8 spot. The playoffs are still a possibility, which makes wins like this one immensely important.
Too muted. Am I right? I suppose Jefferson could feel a little sheepish for getting the winning points on a shot that wasn’t 100 percent intentional, but a game-winner is a game-winner. I’m not demanding the Jazz players pile on top of him, but would a nice group hug be too much to ask?
2 Horrys. It certainly was an unusual buzzer-beater, and a much-needed win for Utah, but between it being a tie game and a somewhat listless celebration, I just don’t think I can go any higher than two.
What do you think?
Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know viaemail or Twitter.