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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Even as All-Stars Chris Paul (thumb) and Devin Booker (safety protocols) languish on the sidelines, there’s no panic in Phoenix with a 7.5-game lead over Golden State for the league’s best record entering Friday’s home game against the Knicks. Rather than use those absences as an excuse to coast or roll over, the Suns battled back from a double-digit deficit to edge the Knicks 115-114 on Cam Johnson’s banked 3-pointer as the horn sounded. The 30-foot miracle capped a career night for Johnson, who scored 21 points in the fourth quarter and 38 overall — 14 more than his previous personal best.
DIFFICULTY: Johnson could have sealed more than a few games of HORSE with Friday’s winner, a leaning, pull-up 30-footer off glass to cap a mad scramble as time wound down.
GAME SITUATION: The Knicks had no shortage of opportunities to finish off the Suns. They squandered all of them, with the beginning of the end coming near the end of the third quarter. That’s when Julius Randle melted down, earning consecutive technical fouls and an ejection for his confrontation with Johnson. Randle had 25 points at that point as the Knicks led by 10. But the advantage gradually dwindled until Alec Burks’ missed free throw with 7.1 seconds remaining left the door cracked for Johnson’s winner.
Things got chippy between Julius Randle and Cam Johnson.
Double techs for both Randle and Johnson; Randle got a second tech and an ejection
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) March 5, 2022
CELEBRATION: Johnson was mobbed by delirious teammates, including a victory-lapping Chris Paul, and the home fans went nuts. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night for all parties involved.
GRADE: The Suns’ inexorable march to home-court advantage throughout the playoffs continues. And as they proved Friday, they’ve got far more going for them than just one of the NBA’s best backcourts, even when it’s not available. Three Horrys