Horry Scale

Horry Scale: Wendell Carter Jr. sneaks in, tips in win for rising Orlando Magic

Orlando punctuates its promising future with a buzzer-beating win over Detroit.

Wendell Carter Jr. beats the buzzer, Pistons with tip-in.

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.

Since Dec. 6, the Orlando Magic hold the 10th-best record in the league.

That is not a typo nor an accident. Neither was Orlando’s dramatic 108-106 victory over Detroit on Thursday, the result of a last-possession drive by the franchise’s new go-to player (Paolo Banchero) and a putback by steady young big man Wendell Carter Jr.

Carter Jr., acquired in a potentially franchise-altering trade with Chicago, used his gap-filling board work to convert Banchero’s miss as time expired. Here’s a look at how his heads-up play ranks on the Horry Scale.

GAME SITUATION: Throwing the ball in from the sideline near the 3-point arc, Orlando was amply placed to make the most of the remaining 4.5 seconds on the clock. No. 1 overall pick and Kia Rookie of the Year candidate Paolo Banchero caught the ball and drove left, away from the first threatening double team.

Another help defender converged, but Banchero committed without rushing. His left-handed attempt caught the wrong angle on the backboard, but left the ball falling off the front of the rim — easy prey for anyone working the glass.

DIFFICULTY: The biggest obstacle to Carter Jr.’s game-winner might have been his own teammate. Markelle Fultz swooped in from the weak side, likewise aiming to win the game on the offensive glass. Already in mid-air, Fultz pulled back just in time to avoid touching the ball, but not Carter Jr.’s left arm.

Luckily for Carter Jr., he was far enough above the rim — and completely uncontested by any Pistons — to flick the ball down through the cylinder. All of that is a credit to Carter Jr.’s initiative in sneaking around his own defender and establish inside position.

CELEBRATION: Hugs, shoves and tough love swarmed Carter Jr. once everyone realized what had happened. Orlando’s top six players in minutes played are all under 25 years old. Between their collective youth and midseason surge, the Magic are an open bottle of unbridled enthusiasm.

GRADE: Regular-season, uncontested game-winners over the worst team in your conference don’t typically score well. The stakes, in a vacuum, are not enormous. But we also can’t ignore this as another important stepping stone in the Magic’s very real road back to better days. 2.0 Horrys.