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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It’s been a rough season for Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving.
But things are rapidly turning around for both him and the Nets, who had won 10 of 13 games since his return from suspension entering Friday’s game at Toronto.
GAME SITUATION: Tie game, 3.7 seconds remaining. Nets coach Jacque Vaughn could have gone in any number of directions. More specifically, he could have gone to the NBA’s fifth-leading scorer, Kevin Durant, who would have been the easy choice on about 25 other teams.
But most other teams don’t have another supreme 1-on-1 scorer on their team, which is how Irving ended up with the ball in isolation against Raptors guard Fred VanVleet and the game hanging in the balance. VanVleet led all scorers with 39 points, but Irving had the final word as he rocked Toronto’s point guard on his heels with a crossover and swiftly stepped back into a clean look from 3. Nets 119, Raptors 116.
— NBA (@NBA) December 17, 2022
DIFFICULTY: As far as game-winners go, a relatively wide-open look with so little time left is about all you can ask for. Sometimes that results from great execution on a designed play. Sometimes you just put the ball in the hands of a master playmaker and let him go to work. It almost certainly wasn’t, but Irving made it look pretty damn easy.
CELEBRATION: It wasn’t the celebration that stood out as much as the one that didn’t happen. It takes a LOT to silence Toronto’s rabid fans, but a buzzer-beating game-winner is an extremely effective way to do it.
Took the air out of the building. pic.twitter.com/WJ4ebHToDa
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 17, 2022
GRADE: A good, solid, meat-and-potatoes winner, with an added bump as Kyrie’s first career buzzer-beating game-winner. 4 Horrys.