VIDEO: Gordon Hayward hits the fadeaway to cap off thrilling win
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Gordon Hayward delivered a reminder of the old philosophy that it doesn’t matter what you do early in a game as long as you deliver late.
The Jazz forward struggled to find a rhythm and the range on his shots all night long Tuesday at American Airlines Center in Dallas. They came up long and short, bounced off the rim and clanked off the backboard.
Then teammate Rodney Hood dropped in the clutch 3-pointer at the end of regulation and Hayward had a fresh chance to start all over again in overtime.
And he jumped on it.
After shooting just 5-for-17 from the field in the first four quarters, Hayward couldn’t miss in OT. He took three jumpers and made them all, including the pretty step-back, 20-footer from the baseline that beat the horn to give the Jazz their 121-119 win in overtime.
The shot gave the Jazz their seventh consecutive win and eighth in the last nine games, enabling Utah to jump ahead of Houston into the No. 7 slot in the Western Conference playoff race.
With big men Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors healthy and back in the lineup, it’s looking like the Jazz are ready to end their four-year playoff drought.
Remember, 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 night in November?) and celebration. Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, named for the patron saint of last-second answered prayers.
One thing to get straight: 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. In short, it’s about the total package.
DIFFICULTY — Once Hayward rubbed off would-be defender Raymond Felton by coming through the lane to take Joe Ingles’ inbounds pass, he kept on circling to the left baseline, then rose up to get off a gorgeous step-back jumper over the outstretched arm of too-late 6-11 Zaza Pachulia that buried into the bottom of the net as the horn sounded.
GAME SITUATION —There’s always less pressure when the score is tied. But considering how much difficulty Hayward had finding the basket for most of the night, it was impressive the way he took over in overtime and stroked the game-winning shot with such confidence right in from of his teammates on the visitors’ bench.
CELEBRATION — Hayward didn’t have far to go to get his pats on the back since his fallaway motion practically took him into the arms of his happy teammates. First a hug from Trey Lyles, then Chris Johnson and Hood and as the Jazz made their way toward the locker room.
GRADE — Pachulia definitely gave Hayward just enough of an opening to get the shot off, but it wasn’t a wide open, size-it-up. For a guy who struggled all night with his shot, it was a redemptive thing of beauty. We’ve giving it two Horrys.