Horry Scale: John Henson's game-winning bucket gets job done for Bucks
Robert Horry’s claim to NBA fame, in addition to being at the right place at the right time both in a macro- and micro-sense throughout his NBA career (seven championship rings, three different teams), is scoreboard.
Scoreboard as in, doesn’t matter how he, his team or the opponent got there, but the basketball wound up in his hands in a clutch situation and more often than many, he seemed to deliver.
There’s an inherent thrill to buzzer beaters. It just so happened that Horry made his name by hitting so many when the stakes were highest. In the postseason, in the Finals, when games and series swinging in the balance.
John Henson’s work at the end of the Milwaukee Bucks’ 110-108 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at the BMO Harris Bradley Center Saturday night doesn’t live up to much of what Horry accomplished. But then again, Henson beat the buzzer, his team won and the home crowd was delighted, so it qualifies on the broad strokes.
A reminder on the first Horry Scale play of 2016-17: 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.
DIFFICULTY — If anything, Jabari Parker – the guy who put up and missed the first attempt at heroics for Milwaukee on the game’s final play – had the tougher time. After dribbling on the left wing for what, at 108-108, clearly would be a winner-or-overtime shot, Parker split defenders Trevor Booker and Jeremy Lin. Then he outquicked Nets center Justin Hamilton, getting his layup off behind Hamilton outstretched right arm. When it bounced off the rim, Brooklyn’s defense already was sufficiently broken down, allowing Henson to get inside position. He controlled the rebound with his left hand, put it up with his right and, after a couple of tiny bounces on the rim, it dropped as final fractions of a second ticked off.
GAME SITUATION — The Bucks sputtered down the stretch and probably were fortunate to avoid overtime. They began the fourth quarter with a seven-point lead and got that up to nine before melting down in the stretch. Early fouls sent the Nets to the line for 11-of-14 free throw shooting in the period, and Brooklyn shot 55.6 percent in the quarter. Bojan Bogdanovic led the push back with 12 points, including the 3-pointer that tied it at 108.
CELEBRATION — The Bucks did a sufficiently impressive dog pile on Henson. But it was driven as much by relief as it was the elation of the moment. They knew how close they’d come to falling to 0-2 in the early season.
GRADE — Horry is about 3-pointers and pressure-packed contests in May and June. This was a put-back at the rim at the end of a shaky performance in October. Had it missed, Milwaukee was looking at no worse than five extra minutes, though if those were anything like the final 12, the night might have ended much more sadly. And oh, did we mention that Brooklyn was on the road, playing the tail end of a back-to-back?
We’ve giving it one Horry.