Horry Scale

Horry Scale: Andrew Nembhard beats buzzer, Lakers from deep

Rookie Andrew Nembhard drills a 3-pointer over LeBron James as time expires to cap Indiana's 17-point comeback.

Andrew Nembhard's 3-pointer at the buzzer caps the Pacers' comeback victory over the Lakers.

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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Looking to build off back-to-back wins, the Los Angeles Lakers returned home Monday night to face the Indiana Pacers. With a 17-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the game appeared in hand for the Purple and Gold.

Then the Pacers went on a 10-0 run to pull within 101-94 with 7:38 remaining and later went on a 13-3 run to pull within 110-109 with 2:11 remaining. The comeback wasn’t complete until rookie Andrew Nembhard drilled a 25-footer over LeBron James’ outstretched hand as time expired. Pacers 116, Lakers 115.

“It felt good coming off my fingers, that’s for sure,” the rookie told Bally Sports Indiana courtside after the game as his teammates showered him with water.

GAME SITUATION: Tyrese Haliburton hit a tying layup with 39 seconds left. LeBron James countered with a one-handed floater with 20.9 seconds left. Myles Turner missed an ensuing 3-point attempt for Indiana — but Haliburton got the rebound and found Nembhard alone on the perimeter, where the second-round pick from Gonzaga drilled his fourth 3-pointer of the night.

DIFFICULTY: It was a frantic finish as Haliburton corralled the rebound at the top of the arc with five seconds left. The Pacers’ floor general took three dribbles before whipping a perfect pass to Nembhard, who wasted no time getting off his catch-and-shoot dagger. Fun fact (per ESPN): LeBron’s teams were 403-1 when leading by 17 or more points in the fourth quarter. Now, they are 403-2.

CELEBRATION: Absolute chaos. The bucket crushed the LA crowd and set off a wild on-court group celebration that included Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard. The hugs and high fives continued into the tunnel as Indiana relished another feel-good moment in their surprising season.

GRADE: Nembhard missed a week with a left knee bruise and was listed as questionable when the night began. He was the hero at night’s end.

“To be able to hang in, keep your sights on the rim and let it go over a 6-9, 6-10 player is special,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “When you have success like tonight, when you overcome some odds to find a way, it’s just a joyous moment for everybody to appreciate.”

Tough loss for the Lakers. Tremendous win for the Pacers. 3.5 Horrys.