Horry Scale: LeBron James caps overtime thriller with fadeaway buzzer-beater to sink Wolves
Lonny Krasnow, NBA.com
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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Just when the Cleveland Cavaliers needed him most, LeBron James delivered. One second left in overtime. Incredible pass by Jeff Green. Turnaround fadeaway jumper by James. Ballgame!
It was an amazing game for James, who outdueled Jimmy Butler and finished with 37 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds in 48 minutes in a 140-138 overtime thriller.
DIFFICULTY: With one second left on the clock, the odds were certainly stacked against the Cavs. A perfect pass and quick shot was required, and that’s exactly what happened. “Coach Lue called up a great play,” James said. “Jeff Green gave me a heck of a pass and I just trusted my instincts and let it go.”
GAME SITUATION: The Timberwolves had the ball with the game tied and 24 seconds remaining as Jimmy Butler attacked the rim looking to take the lead, but James came and blocked his driving floater, keeping the game tied at 138-138. J.R. Smith collected the loose ball, but started to dribble before calling a timeout, so Cleveland could not advance the ball to the front court. Jeff Green inbounded the ball with one second left, and threw it to James at the free throw line. James spun away from Butler’s outstretched arms and hit the game-winner.
CELEBRATION: The crowd at Quicken Loans Arena erupted as James stood with his arms raised toward the rafters after his game-winning shot over Butler. He was quickly mobbed by his teammates, exchanging multiple chest bumps as the Cavs ended their eight-game losing streak on national television.
GRADE: If ever a team needed an uplifting win, it’s the Cavs, who recently lost Kevin Love for an extended period and had won just six of 19 games since Christmas. Factor in overtime, the triple-double and the NBA-record 40 3-pointers and it was an instant classic — arguably the game of the year. Four Horrys.