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 January?) 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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One night after after a slugfest in Boston, the Raptors gave Kawhi Leonard the night off with the Suns in town. Pascal Siakam was happy to pick up the slack, contributing 10 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and the Raptors’ first game-winning buzzer beater since 2015.
DIFFICULTY: With Leonard unavailable, Raptors coach Nick Nurse put the ball in Siakam’s hands on the final possession. Siakam was checked by Suns rookie Mikal Bridges, who forced Siakam to use his left hand. Still, Siakam bulldozed his way to the rim with the clock winding down, and despite a challenge by Deandre Ayton was able to bank in the game-winning layup as time expired. The basket was confirmed following a video review.
GAME SITUATION: After a Devin Booker 3-pointer gave the Suns a 107-105 lead, Siakam sank two free throws to tie the game with 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining. After a defensive stop by the Raptors, Serge Ibaka’s hook shot put Toronto up 109-107. Ibaka then fouled Bridges, who made both free throws with 13 seconds left.
CELEBRATION: Siakam’s teammates mobbed him after the shot and the high fives continued down the bench and into the locker room. Siakam said he appreciated the fact that his team entrusted him with the ball with the game on the line. “To be honest, I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he said. I just had to make sure that I took the last shot.
GRADE: Siakam has been a revelation for the Raptors this season, and he rose to the occasion Thursday night. But with or without Leonard, Toronto shouldn’t need a buzzer beater to beat Phoenix. Two Horrys.
Zubac’s career night sparks Lakers
The Lakers pulled off an impressive road victory, defeating the Thunder 138-128 in overtime.
Kyle Kuzma led the way with 32 points and Lonzo Ball added 18 points and 10 assists, but the X-factor was Ivica Zubac. The third-year player from Bosnia finished with a career-high 26 points and 12 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench.
LeBron James, who missed his 12th straight game with a left groin strain, could not contain his excitement over Zubac’s performance.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 18, 2019
Boylen shows defensive prowess
Chicago’s Jim Boylen has a reputation for being a hard-nosed coach. He proved he can take a charge in the first quarter of the Bulls’ 135-105 loss in Denver.
Torrey Craig was trying to save an errant pass from Nikola Jokic from going out of bounds when he fell on top of Boylen after tumbling out of bounds. Boylen, 53, was not injured on the play.
Honeymooners From Japan
Married the week after the 2018-19 NBA schedule was released in August, Yumea and Yuki Nakagawa planned the perfect honeymoon: 13 NBA games in 13 nights.
On the sixth night of their whirlwind tour, the newlyweds found themselves in Charlotte and shared a moment with Kemba Walker.
When you meet Kemba Walker for the first time 😁 pic.twitter.com/2nPz5cgbJk
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) January 18, 2019
Bizarre finish in London
Fans in London witnessed one of the weirdest endings to an NBA game in recent memory.
Trailing 100-99 with 3.3 seconds remaining, the Wizards set up a pick-and-roll with Thomas Bryant and Bradley Beal. Allonzo Trier was called for goaltending on a Bryant’s layup attempt with 0.4 seconds remaining, giving the Wizards a 101-100 victory over the Knicks.
— NBA (@NBA) January 17, 2019
Boban vs. Wick
Clippers center Boban Marjanovic appeared in the trailer for John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, where he is seen exchanging blows with Keanu Reeves in a library. Marjanovic floors Wick with kick to the chest before Wick jams a giant book into Boban’s jaw. In theaters May 17.