ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Los Angeles Clippers center Spencer Hawes did not play in last night’s win over the Golden State Warriors as he recovered from injury, but that didn’t stop him from having a big impact on the game. It was Christmas Day, you see, and while that normally means ugly sweaters, Hawes instead showed up with what appeared to be a custom suit perhaps made out of wrapping paper. As Charles Barkley said on “Inside the NBA,” “I’d hate to see the suit he didn’t buy.”
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The numbers NBA players wear can be just as important as their shoes or their haircuts. Some players have worn the same number since childhood, or they have some deep attachment to the number. I know one former NBA player who’s phone number ends with his uniform number repeated over and over — and yes, he said he requested it that way. But when a player changes teams, sometimes his former number is suddenly in use by a different player or, worse, retired and totally unavailable. At least when a different player is wearing your number, you may be able to convince him to give up that number, whether through monetary recompense or, as newly acquired Clippers center Spencer Hawes suggested to Blake Griffin on Twitter, even a feat of strength…
Hey @blakegriffin32 you know 32 is my number you wanna arm wrestle for it or something?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And the hits just keep on coming. It feels like it was just yesterday that I wrote about this flurry of game-winning buzzer-beaters (GWBBs) that we’ve seen of late. (That’s because it was just yesterday that I wrote about this flurry of game-winning buzzer-beaters (GWBBs) that we’ve seen of late.) The news never stops, you guys.
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, tonight we look to the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, where Evan Turner doesn’t care how many Horry Scale entries it takes to get a win for the Sixers…
In terms of the shot itself, it goes down in the game log as “Turner Driving Layup Shot.” But in actuality it was so much more. Evan Turner is actually the player who inbounded the ball on this play. Sixers C Spencer Hawes released away from the basket and caught the lob pass, at which point Turner took off on a sprint. He ran to Hawes for a dribble hand-off and basically used Hawes as a pivot point, U-turning back in toward the rim. At this point the Nets had two guys on Turner — Brook Lopez and Shaun Livingston. Turner adroitly gives a little hesitation and then fires down to the left block for a layup. Just as Turner leaves his feet, Paul Pierce slides in and takes the contact from Turner. Is this a charge? Is it a block? We’ll leave that for Joe Borgia, because in this case it’s officially neither: No call is made. Turner releases the ball with about 1.4 seconds remaining. The ball then bounces around the rim, kissing the iron three different times as the clock expires, before finally dropping through for the 121-120 Sixers win. It wasn’t a long shot, but there were many things that broke Philly’s way on the play.
Not only was the game in overtime, but Pierce had hit a three-pointer a few seconds earlier to put Brooklyn ahead 120-119. With six seconds left to play in overtime, the Sixers had to inbound the ball under their own basket. Inbounding the ball under the basket is always tough — the backboard itself limits several passing angles that would be available from any other spot on the court. The play the Sixers came up with, which we broke down above, was pretty great — the Nets obviously didn’t expect Hawes to be the target on the play, and once Hawes had the ball, the Sixers used a sneaky backscreen to free Turner. Also worth noting is that the Sixers had lost seven straight games coming into this one and are about to leave on a six-game road trip to the West Coast. So not only did they need the win, but losing their eighth straight in an overtime game would have made things even more difficult to stomach.
I counted nine members of the Sixers who get involved in the initial celebration, mobbing Turner. That’s seventy-five percent of the night’s active roster, an important threshold to hit for our grading purposes. I feel like the celebration was also a bit subdued because whenever there’s a GWBB where the shot is released so close to the buzzer, there’s always that moment of indecision where you’re not sure whether or not the shot will actually count until the referees review the replay. In this case it was rather obvious, but it’s not official until it’s official.
I’m trying to go more with my gut on these, after I had to admit I underscored Jeff Green‘s season-opening shot. So for this shot, with the creative inbounds play, the contact on the shot, the dramatic bounces on the rim, the game being in overtime and the Sixers ending the seven-game L streak, I’m going with Four Horrys.
What say you? How many Horrys would you give Evan Turner’s game-winning buzzer-beater?
For the complete Bragging Rights rules and to vote for other matchups, click here. With 70% of the vote, the Washington Huskies defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 5-4 play-in game, and for their trouble they get the Kevin Durant-led Texas Longhorns. Let’s take a look:
Missed the cut: Damion James, Nets; Daniel Gibson, Cavaliers; Royal Ivey, Thunder; Dexter Pittman, Heat; Avery Bradley, Celtics
Team synopsis: A real title contender, with both Durant and Aldridge providing matchup problems for just about any potential opponent. Augustin is also having a breakout season in Charlotte. Ford is somewhat redundant with Augustin on the floor, but his track record is a little better than rookie Damion James. I could see an argument for James over Ford, but he hasn’t really played enough yet to cement a place over Ford or even Daniel Gibson. (more…)
Missed the cut: Greg Oden, Trail Blazers (injured); Michael Redd, Bucks (injured)
Team synopsis: A very young Ohio State team is proof of the work coach Thad Matta has done in Columbus. This team would certainly be better if Oden or Redd were available, but neither has appeared in a game this season so they remain ineligible (though Redd says he’ll return soon). Conley is blossoming into a competent starting point guard, but Turner, a rookie, is still raw. Neither Koufos nor Mullens has made an impact on the league yet, although both have nice statistical rates for the limited minutes they have played.(more…)