Horry Scale

Horry Scale: Luka Doncic delivers Dallas a stumbling stunner

Luka Doncic does it again with a wild, leaning, game-winning 3-pointer. How does it rank on our scale?

Ben Couch, NBA.com

Catch every angle of Luka Doncic's stumbling soul-crusher, which sent the Grizzlies home stunned.

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.

Oh, the efforts we’ve all made to name this thing. This feeling that arises when this 22-year-old Slovenian sensation accomplishes another one we didn’t think was within the realm. Is it Halle-Luka? Luka Magic?

Whatever your preferred option, Luka Doncic done did it again.

With Lady Luck providing a few fortuitous free throw misses and one well-placed offensive rebound, Doncic flipped the Mavs on top at the final buzzer … 24 seconds after they trailed by 3. A crucial victory for playoff positioning, stolen away from Memphis in a flash.

GAME SITUATION: Kristaps Porzingis hit a floater (off Doncic’s 9th assist) to close the deficit to 3 points with 1:02 remaining. After a Grizzlies miss, Doncic hit a finger roll. One-point game, 25.7 seconds left. He fouled Ja Morant, who hit both. Three points, 24.7 on the clock. Luka gets fouled, hits one of two. Two-point margin, 3.2 ticks remaining. Grayson Allen fouled … MISSES BOTH. Mavs rebound, call time with 2.2 to go.

DIFFICULTY: Doncic flashed toward the inbound, caught it while shifting his momentum to the basket. Two defenders closing, he shot the gap, stumbled and tossed up the shot one-handed, foot juuuuuust behind the line. Swish. Mayhem. Review. Confirmation. Celebration.

CELEBRATION: The Mavs on court immediately exulted triumphant in place, while Doncic’s momentum carried him under the basket, smiling beatifically, arms raised. As the moment sank in, Mavericks players began racing toward Luka to mosh, with Tim Hardaway Jr. beating the pack for the first hug. A few trailers kept their eyes on the scoreboard to make sure it was indeed a W for Dallas. No bonus points for those agnostic to the amazement.

GRADE: Luka had already come through down the stretch, and the pressure to keep delivering gets tougher every time. But he’s shown us time and again that all he needs is a chance. This one put Dallas a game closer to 6th-place Portland (and a spot clear of the Play-In Tournament), while leaving Memphis one game further back of the Mavs. May the late-career moments remain this effervescent. 4 Horrys

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