A reminder on The Horry Scale: It breaks down a winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) into the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or late at the time?), Importance (playoff game or garden-variety evening in November?) and party. Then we give it an overall rating on a scale of 1 to 5 Robert Horrys, named after the patron saint of prayers answered at the last second.
It doesn’t take long for NBA spectators to turn the page on the next big event. Miami is the defending Eastern Conference champion, an achievement that already seems a long way off.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, is the fashionable choice of many to succeed the Heat as this conference’s representative to capture the crown. The respective records of the two teams confirm the seismic change in the East, where the Nets entered Sunday afternoon just one game behind first place Philadelphia.
The Heat limped onto the national TV show with a disappointing .500 record, lost in a scrum that could see seeds four-to-nine go either side before the season is over.
With a 13-foot jump shot, Bam Adebayo reminded everyone that the NBA Road east of Memphis still runs through South Beach.
GAME STATUS: Neither team was led by more than seven in a contest that featured 19 header changes and 10 draws. Brooklyn looked set to take the game for good after Kyrie Irving’s free throws gave the Nets a 107-101 lead with 3:31 remaining. They never scored again.
Miami’s defense allowed the Heat to level the game, producing an Irving check with 24.3 seconds left and a final shot attempt in settlement. Coach Erik Spoelstra opted not to use a time-out, allowing his veteran squad to play in the flow of the match.
Damn I go to sleep once and I miss the one time you pull a sweater smh😂😂😂 you in cold blood Bro🥶🥶 @ Bam1of1 https://t.co/096cHRtkiB
– Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) April 18, 2021
DIFFICULTY: With Jimmy Butler off duty due to a sprained ankle, Miami gave Adebayo the lead. Unlike more perimeter-focused players, who often resort to back shots on single defenders, Adebayo has headed for a closer comfort zone – the big fourth-year man shoots 58.3% on 10- 14 feet left of the key this season.
Brooklyn tried to counter those odds. Two more Nets defensemen quickly moved closer to Adebayo, but neither they nor Jeff Green were big enough to really challenge Adebayo’s pull-up. It’s a shot that looks easy, but the former All-Star is one of the few great men in the league who can pull it off.
PARTY: Duncan Robinson wins the award for the most enthusiastic, half-hugging, half-hugging teammate on Adebayo from behind. The Miami bench runs to the other side to hug and push their hero. But the best part could have been the fans, who have slowly regained a presence after a calendar year plagued by a pandemic. That they can witness and react to times like this again in greater numbers is to impart an energy that simply does not exist without them.
TO NOTE: Miami needed a win overall, but especially after a disheartening loss to the Timberwolves on Friday. They had lost previous litmus tests to the Suns, Clippers, Jazz, Nets, 76ers and Nuggets. The shot itself wasn’t the most iconic or the toughest, but the meaning of winning and a legitimate home crowd pushes it to 3.5 Horrys.