ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When I was a kid, I decided to try and collect autographs from many of my favorite NBA players and coaches. So I wrote letters to a bunch of NBA players and coaches, asking them to send me their signatures. Very few of them did, most of them did not. But one person went above and beyond: Then-Spurs coach Larry Brown not only sent me an autograph, he enclosed a Spurs t-shirt, shorts and a media guide. It was much more than I had asked for, and it was enough (for the time being) to make me root for the Spurs.
Reddit user Sibewolf also put pen to paper, sending hand-written letters to every NBA team. “I sent a letter to all 30 NBA teams asking why I should be their fan since my team, the Seattle SuperSonics, left in 2008,” he wrote in a post. “Only the Minnesota Timberwolves responded.”
And not only did the T-Wolves respond, they did so in an interesting way. According to the photo posted by Sibewolf, the Wolves not only responded with a letter listing the top ten reasons to become a Wolves fan, but they also sent along an autographed basketball…
via redditor Sibewolf
Sure, the ball may be a little old — Luke Ridnour, who signed the ball, hasn’t been on the Wolves since 2013 — but it’s above and beyond what any other team did. And it’s a nice way to make a fan for life.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s been three weeks since we last fired up the Horry Scale, and in the time since, we’ve been mostly focused on the playoff race. As teams fought for position, somehow we had no game-winning buzzer-beaters that would require the Horry Scale to be utilized. Tonight that all ended, in the inked-out arms of Charlotte’s Chris Douglas-Roberts, as the Bobcats knocked off the Atlanta Hawks, 95-93.
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 17th Horry Scale entry of the season…
A runner over two defenders? Tougher than it sounds. We should say here that the Hawks weren’t playing with a full deck, as they gave rotation members DeMarre Carroll, Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap the night off. (The Bobcats also limited the minutes of their key players.) With playoff berths secure for both teams, they seemed content to let some of their bench players battle this one out. That said, CDR was well defended, and his shot flew high into the air before splashing through the net.
GAME SITUATION Gary Neal and Sekou Smith’s favorite player, Luke Ridnour, carried the Bobcats throughout the fourth quarter. But the Hawks rallied late after a 5-0 run from Shelvin Mack brought them within two, and then a jumper from Lou Williams with 2.6 to play knotted the game at 93. With the game tied, the Bobcats inbounded the ball on the side in front of their basket. With Martin Sargent-lookalike Josh McRoberts inbounding, the Bobcats sent Ridnour and Chris Douglas-Roberts running in a wide arc, as Al Jefferson set a pick and Gary Neal flashed to the corner. The Hawks covered all of this very well, and none of the initial options were open. With maybe a second left to inbound the ball, Douglas-Roberts flashed from the basline to the top of the key, and momentarily lost defender Lou Williams on a brush screen from Jefferson. CDR drove left, pulled up from just inside the free-throw line, and knocked down the game-winner over a recovering Williams and help defender Mike Muscala, with no time to play.
The celebration was mostly subdued. Gary Neal wrapped Douglas-Roberts in a bear hug in front of the Hawks bench, and even Bobcats sideline reporter Stephanie Ready got in a high five. it felt like both teams were more concerned with the playoffs starting later this week.
I’m going to give this one two Horrys. It was a nice shot, sure, but when one team doesn’t care enough to have their best players in the game, it detracts from the fun a bit. Not that this should matter to Charlotte — they wanted to win and ran the best play possible for them to win it. Heckuva shot from CDR, no doubt. But all in all, I’m going two stars …
What say you? How many Horry’s would you give Chris Douglas-Roberts’ GWBB?
This was pretty fun — joined the GameTime pregame show before Wednesday night’s games to break down the season’s best Horry Scale moments, with the scale’s patron saint himself there to critique my grades:
The prevailing thought amongst Robert Horry, Kevin Martin, and Dennis Scott was that I judged too harshly this season, which is amusing because most emails I received from the fans seemed to suggest I was too lenient. Guess you can’t please everyone!
Here is my final ranking of this year’s six Horry Scale recipients – how would you rank them?
UPDATE: A reminder folks, the shot has to beat the buzzer to be considered. As great as Jeremy Lin’s shot to beat the Raptors was, there were still tenths of a second left on the clock. Doesn’t qualify. A man’s gotta have a code…
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Even though his team was thoroughly dominated by the Hawks from start to finish Friday night, Jameer Nelson restored some value for the Amway Center patrons. Jannero Pargo came through with a game-high 17 points off the bench, but I imagine he needed some duct tape for his *talocrural joints after the game:
This hearkens memories of Russell Westbrook leaving Luke Ridnour in the dust earlier this season:
I’m gonna give Jameer the edge. He made Pargo cover more ground, plus got an extra point for his troubles. What sayeth you?
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?
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