Posts Tagged ‘Luol Deng’

Horry Scale: Waiters Serves

By Lang Whitaker,

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…

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.

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 …

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.

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 …


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

Luol Deng Tweets Support From Hospital Bed

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We knew Luol Deng, like pretty much everyone else on the Chicago Bulls, was injured/sick and unable to play Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals last night. He’d also missed the tail end of the first round, after falling ill and being sick enough that he was given a spinal tap to make sure he did not have spinal meningitis. He was give the all-clear on meningitis, but he was still so sick that he ended up in the hospital. Deng took to social media to make sure everyone knew exactly how sick he was…

That all happened three days ago. Since then, Deng has remained out, battling this illness but rooting for the Bulls. And though he still couldn’t get out of bed yesterday, after last night’s huge Bulls win over the Heat in Miami, Luol took to Twitter to show where he was forced to watch Game One…

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 3.37.22 PM

Get well, soon, Luol!

(h/t Yardbarker)

A Look Back: Best Horry Scale Moments From 2011-12

by Micah Hart

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?

6. Derrick Rose beats Milwaukee — This low because I hate seeing a PG of his caliber settle for a long jumper.
5. Luke Ridnour beats Utah — Difficult floater, but no resistance from the Jazz defense.
4. LaMarcus Aldridge beats Dallas — Aldridge sure does make this look easy.
3. Luol Deng beats Toronto — Only tip-in of the season, Bulls trailed by 1.
2. Kevin Love beats L.A. Clippers — Perhaps in hindsight should have graded higher, especially coming in in the city where he played his college ball.
1. Kevin Durant beats Dallas — Set the bar high the first week of the season and was never topped. The ball barely touches the net from almost 30 feet!

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.

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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Luol Deng, How Do You Rate On The Horry Scale?

by Micah Hart

When last we spoke around these parts, we were singing the praises of the Bulls’ Derrick Rose, one of the game’s great closers and someone we expect to see many Horry Scale entries from as the years go by.

Unfortunately Mr. Rose is currently out of the lineup for Chicago, having missed the past six games with a hamstring strain. So when the game came down to the final possession against the Raptors tonight, it brought up a quasi-philosophical question: if the Bulls need a game-winner and Rose isn’t around to take the shot, does it make a sound? (Or something like that).

Looks like we have our answer.

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 Bulls may not have Rose, but they still have one more All-Star, and that is Luol Deng. Let’s see how his understudy did:


The time element was the only thing difficult about this shot. Deng set a pick for C.J. Watson at the top of the key, then immediately dove to the basket to put himself in position for exactly what was to come — a potential tip-in situation. I would give Deng credit for a nice box-out to get his hold in the lane, but the Raptors really made it easy on him. To be fair, there is always a lot of chaos in a final-shot scenario like this, it’s easy to lose your man. But Deng faces no opposition at the basket once he gets in the air, and the ensuing tip-in after Watson’s shot comes up short is a piece of cake.

Game Situation

The Raptors led 101-100 after James Johnson hit 1-2 free throws with 15.2 seconds left in overtime, then failed to extend that lead when Gary Forbes missed a pair with 6.4 on the clock. The Bulls then inbounded the ball at midcourt with 6.0 seconds left — plenty of time to get a shot off, but with no room for error since they were trailing.


Here is what I wrote after Rose’s GWBB back on March 7:

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.

Since that win over the Bucks, the Bulls have gone 6-2, but have gained only one game on the Heat in the standings. The sentiment still stands.


If I had to make a list of every player in the NBA, then rank them most to least expressive, I’d probably put Deng somewhere next to Tim Duncan down near the very bottom*. So you know Deng has to be pumped to react the way he does after the ball drops — immediately pointing to the stands to celebrate with the fans. Of course by the time the camera pans in on his face the emotion is gone, but we’ll take what we can get from Lu. Bonus points for John Lucas nearly spinning like a top on Deng’s head, plus the shot of Rose watching it all unfold from the bench. By the way, someone tweeted after the game that in the Bulls’ last 82 games covering this season and last, their record is 68-14. Going to be an interesting postseason in the East, no doubt about it.

* Who would be at the top, you ask? That’s easy — Ronny Turiaf.


3 Horrys. Last-second tip-ins are always a fun sub-genre of the Horry Scale. I’m tempted to debit a half-Horry for the way the Raptors gave this one away, but I won’t. The stakes are always a little higher when you trail at the end, and Deng deserves a lot of credit for making a very difficult situation look relatively easy. Good on the Bulls for doing it all without Rose as well. And the cherry on top? The win made the Bulls the first team in the NBA to clinch a playoff berth this season.

What do you think?

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Best of All-Star Inside Trax

by Micah Hart

There is a lot of content to sift through from All-Star Weekend, but one video you definitely don’t want to miss is the Inside Trax segment from Sunday’s All-Star Game. There is some amazing stuff in here, from Andre Iguodala picking Luol Deng‘s brain about shooting to Dwight Howard straight up daring Kobe to try to take him offensively:

Is Carmelo Anthony funnier than I am aware of? I loved his Tom Thibodeau impression, and him good-naturedly ripping on Dwight for getting in his way in the paint.

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Bragging Rights Championship: Texas vs. Duke

by Micah Hart

In the final of All Ball’s inaugural Bragging Rights challenge, it’s no surprise to see the dominant college basketball program over the last two decades make it thus far. It is a little surprising to see their competition, traditionally known as a football school — but one that has churned out a sizable number of NBA players over the last decade. Who will win? That’s for you to decide. And if you need a refresher on the Bragging Rights rules, read up on them here. For a view of the entire bracket and how both teams got to the finals, check here. Onto the finale: 


Texas Longhorns

Starters (all stats per 48 minutes, through 4/3):

LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers: 26.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.2 steals
D.J. Augustin, Bobcats: 20.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.8 steals
Kevin Durant, Thunder: 33.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.4 steals
T.J. Ford, Pacers: 14.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 0.5 blocks, 2.0 steals
Maurice Evans, Wizards: 14.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.0 steals

Missed the cut: Damion James, Nets; Daniel Gibson, Cavaliers; Royal Ivey, Thunder; Dexter Pittman, Heat; Avery Bradley, Celtics

How they got here: Talk about March Madness. After easily dispatching Washington, the Horns beat UCLA literally at the buzzer, winning their matchup against the Bruins by a single vote in the Elite Eight. In the Final Four, the Horns edged out UConn in their closest match of the tournament, winning by a 52%-48% margin.

Team synopsis: As expected, the Durant-Aldridge combo has proven too much for any opponent thus far. Augustin is having a breakout season in Charlotte, and makes for a solid third option. Ford is somewhat redundant with Augustin on the floor, but his track record is a little better than rookie Damion James. Mo Evans is no star, but he is a capable defender and rebounder who can hit the corner three when needed.


Bragging Rights Bracket: No. 1 Duke vs. No. 4 LSU

by Micah Hart

For the complete Bragging Rights rules and to vote for other matchups, click here. We now move to the fourth and final region, the South, with No. 1 seed Duke taking on play-in winner and 4-seed LSU, which won the battle of the bigs against Stanford to reach the Sweet 16.


Duke Blue Devils

Starters (all stats per 48 minutes):

Carlos Boozer, Bulls: 27.1 points, 14.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.5 blocks, 1.0 steals
Corey Maggette, Bucks: 27.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.7 steals
Elton Brand, Sixers: 20.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.6 blocks, 1.6 steals
Grant Hill, Suns: 20.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.3 steals
Luol Deng, Bulls: 21.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.2 steals

Missed the cut: Shane Battier, Grizzlies; Chris Duhon, Magic; Mike Dunleavy, Pacers; Gerald Henderson, Bobcats; Dahntay Jones, Pacers; Josh McRoberts, Pacers; JJ Redick, Magic; Shelden Williams, Knicks

Team synopsis: People have a tendency to think that Duke players don’t do so well in the pros, but man, look at this lineup. Big and burly, and good luck keeping Brand, Boozer, and Maggette off the offensive glass. The only thing that could pose a problem for the Dookies is a lack of a top-notch outside shooter or true distributor, but Hill and Deng are good enough. Each guy on this team can put the ball in the basket.


Carmelo Anthony, how do you rate on the Horry scale?

by Micah Hart

Wow. Four weeks of the season go by with nary a single GWBB, and now we’ve had three in a week. Someone is digging the Horry scale!

Last night we had our first come-from-behind GWBB, courtesy of Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets, who used ‘Melo’s heroics to beat the Bulls 98-97 in Denver. Let’s take a look at the action, and then we’ll see what Big Shot Bob has to say about it. Roll 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.

Let’s see how this one rates:

Difficulty: At first glance, this jumper looks pretty routine, much like Mo Williams‘ GWBB from Wednesday. ‘Melo’s shot is a fairly standard one from the elbow that most NBA players should be able to make. But upon closer inspection, I think we have to say that part of the reason it looks so easy is due to Carmelo’s outstanding offensive capabilities. Maybe a lot of players can make that shot, but not a lot of players can create that much space for themselves in that kind of situation. You can blame Luol Deng if you want, but he has to be prepared for so many different things that Carmelo can do, it’s not a surprise to me that he falls for the jab-step so easily. This isn’t an easy shot, yet because the ball is in Carmelo’s hands, it certainly looks that way.

Game Situation: The Nuggets trailed by one, so if Melo misses, the ballgame is over. It’s our first do-or-die of the season. However, I’m inclined to detract a few style points here due to the fact that Denver blew a 19-point lead in the second half to a Derrick Rose-less Chicago team. Yes the Nuggets trailed by a point, but they shouldn’t have ever put themselves in that situation to begin with.

Importance: It’s early still, but both the Nuggets and Bulls have championship aspirations. Couple that with all of the rumors of Chicago as a potential destination for Anthony, and this one felt like the stakes were a little higher. Wouldn’t it be interesting if seeing this kind of clutch performance (the shot was Anthony’s 14th career game-winner) up close and personal ended up being the final piece of evidence that convinced the Bulls to pull the trigger on a deal?

Celebration: Muted, but for a reason. ‘Melo battled flu-like symptoms the entire night, symptoms that him feeling, as he put it, “terrible”, all night.


3.5 Horrys. ‘Melo does indeed make it look easy to his credit, but the shot itself is nothing special, and I have to take off a half-star for the fact that Denver never should have needed heroics in the first place.

What do you think?

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