Horry Scale: LeBron James floats in Game 3 winner at buzzer
LeBron James did it yet again, and it never gets old.
Matt Petersen, 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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Wait… weren’t we just doing this a few days ago? Playoff game? LeBron at the buzzer? Cavs win?
It’s not replay. It’s just a revision of the greatness LeBron James continues to display on the NBA’s biggest stage. The three-time champion once again lifted Cleveland to victory as the horn sounded, banking in a floater from the left side of the court to give the Cavaliers a 105-103 victory in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
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DIFFICULTY: James had exactly eight seconds to traverse the length of the court for the optimal shot. Of course, how many people would deem a left-driving floater off the wrong foot — and going glass — the optimal shot? James did what he’s always done: he made it look easy, something impossible for 99.9 percent of the rest of humanity.
GAME SITUATION: Unlike the pressure-packed situation of Game 5 against Indiana in the previous round, the Cavs had a little breathing room and a lot more confidence with a 2-0 series lead and the Raptors already reeling from James’ ridiculous 43-point performance on Thursday. Zoom in a little closer, and you’ll see the score was tied, which meant the game would merely have gone into overtime had James missed. He didn’t, and the Cavs now enjoy a stranglehold of a 3-0 series lead as a result.
CELEBRATION: James appreciates those who have gone to battle with him before, and it showed in the immediate aftermath of his game-winner. First, Kevin Love reenacted Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals by being the first to rush to James and give him a fierce bear hug. The rest of his teammates joined in to mob their superstar teammate.
Several teammates got individual notice after that, including longtime teammate JR Smith. The duo exchanged one of the best post-game-winner high-five and finger-pointing sequences you will ever see.
Best of all, James did enormous justice to his delirious fans by hopping onto the scorer’s table and urging them to bask in the utter glory of the moment. The common thread through all these moments? James’ unrestrained and clearly visible happiness over once again coming through for Cleveland.
GRADE: The slightest of deductions is in order given the decrease of pressure compared to his season-saver against the Pacers. That should not, however, disallow you from enjoying yet another chapter of LeBron’s game-winning awesomeness. Four-and-a-half Horrys.