Horry Scale

Horry Scale: Trae Young dances to buzzer-beating win over Nets

Trae Young puts the moves on Nets defenders before sinking a crafty buzzer-beating jumper that lifts the Hawks above .500.

Trae Young hits the game-winner to defeat the Brooklyn Nets 129-127.

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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The Atlanta Hawks have been in recent NBA headlines for many reasons. It would be easy to crumble after such a drastic coaching change, but time is of the essence for this win-now franchise. Former Jazz head coach Quin Snyder will be the new Hawks head coach, which should bring a sense of stability to the organization moving forward.

Trae Young has been a force in his two games since the All-Star break, averaging 34 points. With the emergence of AJ Griffin and the addition of Saddiq Bey, the Hawks’ supporting cast could be the X-factor in a playoff run. The tandem of Young and Dejounte Murray has never been a question, but a new coach brings variables to how leadership could be distributed. Atlanta is currently the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference, making this last stretch of the NBA season make-or-break for the Hawks.

GAME SITUATION: After a clutch 3-point basket from Cam Johnson to tie the game at 127-127 with 5.5 seconds left, the Hawks knew exactly what to do.

Atlanta scrambled for a timeout to draw up a play, and State Farm Arena already knew who the ball was going to. As soon as Murray inbounded the ball to Young, the ice in the latter’s veins was activated. Young orchestrated a five-out offense as he dribbled the ball past half-court with Mikal Bridges defending him. Before Bridges could make defensive contact, Young was already on the move to the bucket. After Bridges recovered, Young countered with a pump fake into a shot to ice the game 129-127.

DIFFICULTY: Mikal Bridges is one of the league’s premier on-ball defenders, holding a 7-foot-2 wingspan with a 6-foot-6 frame. The array of difficulty for any shot over Bridges is high, especially if you’re a 6-foot-1 guard such as Young. Luckily for Bridges, he had help defense from Spencer Dinwiddie to help hinder Young’s shot, but that wasn’t enough. Young’ was crafty enough get the shot over the defenders.

CELEBRATION: Atlanta is a city of fun, so the party began once the shot went through the cylinder. The immense energy from Young’s dad sitting courtside after the game-winner was definitely a highlight. Before his postgame interview, Young embraced his Hawks’ teammates and even showcased a new handshake with Hawks forward John Collins.

GRADE: The season is on the line for Atlanta as we enter the playoff push, and clutch baskets like Young’s are what separates contenders. Despite Brooklyn being a shell of what they were before the trade deadline, this win is still a huge stepping stone for a team needing a spark in their season. 4 Horrys