About Last Night

About Last Night: Nance Jr. beats buzzer, ends Pacers' streak

LeBron James deals with rejection at the rim; NBA pays tribute to superfan Penny Marshall

A reminder on The Horry Scale: It breaks down 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.

* * *

Riding a seven-game winning streak, the Indiana Pacers were looking to continue their climb in the Eastern Conference standings. A home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers seemed like a favorable spot.

And then Larry Nance Jr. happened.

Nance stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, a career-high 16 rebounds, six assists and the first game-winning shot of his pro career to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a rare 92-91 road victory.

DIFFICULTY: After outwrestling Victor Oladipo in front of the basket, Nance waited patiently as he anticipated Rodney Hood’s errant jumper then threw up his right hand and beat the buzzer.

“I told Hood to put the ball up on the rim with a couple seconds left so I can see if I could do something with it,” Nance said. “He made a good move and did exactly that. I was lucky enough to get a hand on it and then direct it in.”

GAME SITUATION: Victor Oladipo missed two free throws with 9.5 seconds left, opening the door for Cleveland. On the game’s final possession, the play was drawn up for Hood, who went one on one with his defender. His jumper in the lane missed, but Nance was there to clean it up and give his team the dramatic victory.

CELEBRATION: The buzzer-beater set off a wild scene in which Cavs players began mobbing Nance before the replay review confirmed the call. Even some of Cleveland’s injured players joined the party as the stunned crowd at Bankers Life Fieldhouse looked on. Moment laters, Nance got doused by teammates during the postgame interview.

GRADE: Playing without three of their top five leading scorers (Kevin Love, Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson), this was an improbable win for the Cavs, who haven’t had much to celebrate this season. And considering how hot the Pacers had been, this was one of the bigger upsets of the season. Three Horrys.

LeBron deals with rejection

Instead of being turned into a poster, Nets center Jarrett Allen did something only a handful of players have ever done: reject a dunk attempt from LeBron James.

The Nets went on to beat the Lakers 115-100, extending their longest winning streak in nearly four years to six games. James finished with 36 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and put his spin on the stunning rejection.

“He’s in his twenties, I’m in my thirties. It takes me a little longer to get warmed up, but that’s fine,” James said, per Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily. “When you’re a shot blocker, I’m sure you can get a block. It happens. It’s probably all over social media, so that’s cool.”

NBA loses celebrity superfan

Actress. Director. Producer. Clippers and Lakers season-ticker holder. Penny Marshall died Tuesday at the age of 75, and her impact was felt across Hollywood, as well as the NBA.

Other NBA figures paying tribute to Marshall on Twitter include Magic Johnson, Vlade Divac and Chris Paul.

Back in 2008, The New York Times caught up with Marshall at a Lakers game and asked her about her favorite visiting team, which at the time was the Utah Jazz.

“There’s Andrei Kirilenko. And Deron Williams is terrific. He’s adorable,” Marshall said. “Any more tattoos and he’s going to get traded to the Nuggets.”

Boban The GOAT

Apparently, Boban Marjanovic has discovered advanced statistics …

FYI, the Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is a per-minute rating developed by John Hollinger, a former ESPN writer who is now Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Memphis Grizzlies. PER is pace-adjusted and summarizes a player’s statistical accomplishments in a single number.

Howard sighting

With the Wizards in Atlanta to face the Hawks, Dwight Howard joined his team and spoke to reporters before the game for the first time since having back surgery Nov. 30.


Singing struggles

Before the Lakers-Nets game, British singer and actress Cynthia Erivo forgot the words to the national anthem. After pausing to refocus, she began again from the start of the song, got a word wrong and then skipped a couple of lines. But the crowd was supportive of her strong finish and gave her a nice ovation afterward.


And for some reason Luka Doncic is learning to sing John Denver songs …

Worth noting

At 21-9, the Nuggets matched the 1976-77 squad for the best start in franchise history through 30 games

Vince Carter knocked down a 3-pointer to move past Paul Pierce for seventh place on the all-time list

Jarrett Allen’s rejection of LeBron’s James dunk attempt marked just the ninth time in 1,850 career attempts someone was able to stop LeBron from slamming it home, according to ESPN Stats & Info