Horry Scale

Horry Scale: Harrison Barnes beats buzzer, Suns from deep

Harrison Barnes drains his 3rd career game-winning 3-pointer as the Kings escape Phoenix with a dramatic victory.

Harrison Barnes sinks a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer as time expires to give Sacramento a win in Phoenix.

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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Harrison Barnes buried a tiebreaking 3-pointer as time expired in regulation Wednesday night, allowing the Sacramento Kings — who nearly blew a late 13-point lead — to escape Phoenix with a dramatic 110-107 victory over the Suns.

Buddy Hield came off the bench with a team-high 26 points, Barnes finished with 22 and De’Aaron Fox chipped in with 18 for the Kings, who opened a four-game trip by snapping a two-game losing streak.

Barnes’ fluidity makes everything look easy. This was not. With 4.1 seconds left, Barnes slipped past Cameron Johnson and received a short inbounds pass from De’Aaron Fox. In one motion, Barnes turned toward the basket and calmly rose up over Devin Booker’s outstretched arm for the game-winning shot, shouting as it went through the hoop. Barnes said there were no nerves in the final moments: “Honestly, we’re just trying to get a good look. We know worst-case scenario, we go to overtime.”

The Kings led by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter, but the Suns rallied late. Booker found Mikal Bridges for an alley-oop dunk with 34 seconds remaining to tie the game at 107. Phoenix got a defensive stop on the next possession, but Booker’s difficult 18-foot jumper was off the mark. Sacramento grabbed the rebound and called a timeout to set up a final possession.

Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell were the first to congratulate Barnes before the entire team mobbed him at midcourt; Suns fans quietly headed for the exits. At one point, Barnes had a look on his face as if to say, “This is what I do!” Which is true — it was Barnes’ third career game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.

This is exactly the kind of game the Kings would have lost in recent seasons. Sacramento actually led by 10 points with under three minutes remaining, so Barnes saved the Kings from what would have been a pretty frustrating loss. “We’re a different group,” Kings coach Luke Walton said after the game. “I know we’ve got a long way to go still, but we’ve put in the time, put in the work and it’s a group that believes in each other.”
3 Horrys.