Horry Scale: Nemanja Bjelica hits game-winning 3 from 33 feet
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.
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Down 11 to the Houston Rockets in the first half, the Sacramento Kings fought back to set up a wild fourth quarter featuring nine ties or lead changes. It was especially tight down the stretch, with both teams trading huge buckets late before Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica had the final word with a 33-foot 3-pointer from well beyond the arc as time expired.
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GAME SITUATION: Kings guard Buddy Hield hit an off-balance 3 to tie the game at 116 with 8.4 seconds left before Russell Westbrook restored Houston’s lead on a driving finger roll. That left the Kings to inbound the ball at midcourt with just one second remaining.
DIFFICULTY: With the exception of the distance, which was ridiculous, Bjelica couldn’t have been more wide open for the game-winner thanks to a defensive breakdown that left Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni befuddled. “We just left a guy wide open for no reason whatsoever,” he groused.
CELEBRATION: As you’d expect, Bjelica’s teammates mobbed him after the winner. The real fun came afterward, when the Serbian sharpshooter got exuberantly NSFW during his postgame interview. (We won’t post that here as this is a family web site, but enterprising web surfers should have no problem digging it up.)
GRADE: Bjelica’s winner capped an impressive back-to-back for the Kings, in which they vanquished two of the Western Conference’s best teams in Dallas and Houston — on the road, no less. 4 Horrys.