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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Luka Doncic broke a tie at the last possible moment on Saturday, sending the Celtics home 107-104 losers after a buzzer-beating 3 from the left corner, reminiscent of a Feb. 21 soul crusher earlier this calendar year. Boston had taken its first — and only — lead mere minutes prior, and Doncic wasn’t discouraged, soon delivering the Mavericks their third win in four games.
Bringing the ball up against Josh Richardson, Doncic was measured, methodically dribbling as he staked forward progress toward his final move left. Once he committed to the drive, he took a hard step in before side-stepping behind the line and snapping his wrist in front of three closing Mavericks defenders. Richardson is no slouch, staying with the play until the end, and Luka managed to find the most crowded spot on the floor. But from the moment the ball left his hands, this one felt inevitable. HalleLuka, indeed.
Dallas allowed Boston to take the lead in this game but once, exactly 2:12 from the finish. They tied it 33 seconds later, converting a tip dunk after a pair of missed 3s. From there, a blocked shot, a turnover exchange, a trade of misses and Dallas calling time with 16.6 seconds to play. In a blunder coach Ime Udoka took responsibility for after the game, guard Marcus Smart took a foul with six seconds remaining on the shot clock, allowing the Mavericks the full 11.4 to set up a final attempt. The whole league knows better than to give Luka more chances to do these things. Because he does these things.
Doncic knew. He watched it, waiting for this one to drop. Once it did, he mean mugged the home crowd, then took off running, arms spread wide as the smile on his face, arriving into a crowd by the Mavericks’ bench. Tim Hardaway Jr. nearly put him in a chokehold of exuberance, rubbing Doncic’s head like a proud older brother as other teammates pinged off as they came in for dap and hugs.
Luka gets to his spot.
Luka steps back.
Luka over 3 defenders.
Luka with the #TissotBuzzerBeater.#ThisIsYourTime, Luka Doncic❗️ pic.twitter.com/5oByDpVNuH
— NBA (@NBA) November 7, 2021
Boston had been ascendant after a players-only meeting earlier in the week, and dug down to even this one up late. Smart’s errant foul gave Dallas a chance to close it out cleanly, and Luka took that challenge head-on. Richardson played him to the sideline, and the help coverage .. and none of that mattered. Luka Magic, conjuring NBA victories since 2018. 4 Horrys.