Horry Scale

Horry Scale: Damian Lillard sets up Josh Hart for game-winning corner 3

Damian Lillard breaks down full-court defense in less than 7 seconds, and Josh Hart finishes the job.

Josh Hart shoots the game-winner against the Miami Heat on Nov. 7, 2022.

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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GAME SITUATION: Miami had just tied up the game with a Max Strus 3-pointer, potentially extending affairs into overtime and taking the air out of Portland’s furious rally from 15 down. With just 6.2 seconds remaining, the Blazers opted against taking a timeout and let franchise icon Damian Lillard improvise straight from the inbounds.

DIFFICULTY: Lillard did the heavy lifting on this one, pushing past Jimmy Butler first, then Duncan Robinson before drawing Kyle Lowry’s attention. That last rotation opened up Josh Hart in the corner, to the point that the pass would have been almost routine save for the tied score and the time remaining. For Hart, who shot a sizzling 21-for-37 (56.8%) from the corners last season, it was far too good a look.

CELEBRATION: The Blazers were just three days removed from celebrating Jerami Grant’s own incredible game-winner at Phoenix. It turns out enjoying them isn’t something that gets tiresome. Hart’s teammates absolutely engulfed him, creating a swirling, celebratory eye amid the silent storm of stunned Heat fans.

GRADE: Portland is one of the best stories of the season’s opening weeks. Their first season of missing the playoffs since 2012-13 had many down on the Blazers’ future. Instead of accepting a potential rebuild, Portland retooled around Lillard with veterans who can help him win now. Grant on Friday, and now Hart on Monday, have created a four-game swing to keep the surging Blazers near the top of the Western Conference. The shot itself wasn’t mind-breaking, but its value to Portland is immeasurable. 3.5 Horrys.