Almost had two Horry Scale entries tonight, but sadly Jordan Farmar‘s game-winner for the Nets left a measly 0.4 seconds left on the clock for the Clippers to salvage a win. A great shot no doubt (though where was the Clippers’ D on that play?), but twasn’t a buzzer-beater, so it fails to qualify. Fortunately, we still have Derrick Rose to take care of us.
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.
Rose is one of the ultimate closers in the NBA, so it’s a bit of a surprise to me this is his first appearance on the Horry Scale. How did the league’s reigning MVP stack up? Let’s find out:
Not terribly difficult for Rose, who created some space for himself against Brandon Jennings before knocking down the step-back jumper from the top of the key to win the game. However, I am going to complain just a little here. I won’t argue with the outcome, but with as much time as Rose had to work with in a tie game, I want him to get to the basket there. I’ll give him a pass, though, because that’s typically what he does in game-winning situations. But a lesson to the kids — never settle for the J.
Potential trade bait Ersan Ilyasova scored on an offensive rebound to tie the game at 104-104 with 24 seconds left to play, which gave the Bulls all the time in the world to set up a play for the win. Chicago cleared it out for Rose, who went mano-a-mano with Jennings for the final shot.
The Bulls fell to the Heat in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, and the two teams appear on a crash course to go at it again this May. With the way Miami has improved, home-court advantage could certainly play a big role in that series, and as such, every win for Chicago will matter from here until the end of the regular season. The Bulls remain two games ahead of the Heat with this win.
Watch the clip again, and listen for the crowd’s reaction (go ahead, I’ll wait). What city was this game played in again? I had to look a few times to remind myself it was played in Milwaukee because judging by the crowd’s reaction, you might have thought it was the Windy City. Look how much red is in that crowd! I realize Chicago is a short distance from Milwaukee, but that’s embarrassing. Bonus points for the skyward finger-point celebration from Brian Scalabrine.
1.5 Horrys. A tie game, plenty of time to work with, and a more-difficult-shot-than-necessary from Rose makes this one fairly standard. But I’m giving an extra half-Horry in honor of the Bulls fans for turning the place into United Center North.
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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 New Jersey Nets, who played three straight from Feb. 18-20.
This hasn’t been the best season for the Nets. In a season full of injuries, they’ve been perhaps the most afflicted, suiting up the minimum eight healthy bodies for several games. They put up only 2 points in their first three for all challenge, and that is mainly because they got to play one of the only teams worse than they are. Playing this threeplay would be just leading lambs to the slaughter, right?
Game 1: Nets 97, Bulls 85 - Say what? Yeah that’s right. The Nets, behind 29 points from Deron Williams and a huge 24 and 18 rebounds from the guy you love to hate, Kris Humphries, came into the United Center and put it on the Bulls, jumping out to a 34-19 lead after one and never looking back. The Bulls were without Derrick Rose, but still — they’d only lost one home game all season before this spanking. Didn’t see this one coming. 3 points (1 for win, 1 for road, 1 for +10 margin)
Game 2: Bucks 92, Nets 85 - Naturally, after the road win in Chicago, the Nets returned to New Jersey and promptly lost to the Bucks, despite the season debut for center Brook Lopez (nine points and two rebounds in 12 minutes) Game ball goes to Bucks F Ersan Ilyasova, who had perhaps the most surprising stat line of the season with 29 points and 25 rebounds — and fouled out as well! -1 point
Game 3: Nets 100, Knicks 92 - Oh sure, the Nets go right into Madison Square Garden, overcome Linsanity and the return of Carmelo Anthony to drop the Knicks, who had only won eight of their last nine coming in. Makes perfect sense. I gotta say, people were dogging on D-Will for getting an All-Star nod, but let’s not forget how freakin’ talented this dude is. A career-high eight 3-pointers and a season-best 38 points stole the show in this one. 6 points (5 for win, 1 for road)
No question about it, this is the surprise result of the season in the three for all. 8 points for the Nets, impressive regardless but especially so considering who they beat. Tip o’ the cap.
Up next: The New Orleans Hornets play three straight Feb. 20-22.