Horry Scale

Horry Scale: Marcus Morris tips in game-winning buzzer-beater

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 because an NBA game has a buzzer-beating finish doesn’t necessarily mean the entire finish was a work of art.

Take tonight in Detroit, for instance. The Detroit Pistons won the game, 113-112, courtesy of last-second, buzzer-beating bucket from Marcus Morris. But the last few moments of the game weren’t exactly filled with high-scoring action. In fact, Morris’s game-winning bucket was the only points for the Pistons over the last 1:57 of the game.

But we are here to focus on the final, final moment, so let’s zoom in on the last play of the game and see Marcus Morris’s entry on the Horry Scale…

DIFFICULTY: It wasn’t really a shot that won the game, but a tip-in. (Always crash the glass, kids!) What may have been most surprising about the shot from Marcus Morris was that he got it off over his twin brother, Washington’s Markieff Morris. As our crack stat expert John Schuhmann noted…

GAME SITUATION: As we said earlier, Pistons were struggling to score, and they tried to get a shot for Tobias Harris with just under 5 seconds to play. That shot was deflected by Bradley Beal, but Harris got it back and shot it again. That shot hit front rim and then back and rim and caromed long, and Marcus was right there waiting.

CELEBRATION: I felt like this was the most underrated part of the play. Morris initially sprints toward halfcourt, stops to share a chest bump with guard Reggie Jackson, at which point the entire Pistons team envelops Morris at halfcourt and begins rhythmically jumping in unison.

GRADE: A tip-in isn’t necessarily an “easy” shot, as it requires corralling the ball and redirecting it with just moments remaining. That said, the Wizards didn’t box out Morris on the weakside, and he had a clear path to the rim and the ball, which bounced right to him. Great shot, and a nice win for the Pistons. GRADE: FOUR HORRYS

Lang Whitaker has covered the NBA since 1998. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here or follow him on Twitter.

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