A reminder of The Horry Scale: It breaks down the game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) into categories of difficulty, game position (was the team tied or down at the time?), importance (playoff or Gardening Night in November?), and holiday. Then we give it an overall score on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, named after the patron saint of last-second answered prayers.
The Lakers have been looking for real for real since the trade that changed their roster at the deadline, even with LeBron James on an extended injury layoff. And after catching the Mavericks early Friday, they put Dallas down to claim the lead — and start stretching it — midway through the 4th.
The stage was set for them to claim an important game, not only on the faceoff, but also for the potential ramifications of tying the season against an opponent they’re trying to catch (and possibly surpass) in the West standings. And then, in less than a second, everything changed. The Lakers sat back and looked up. The climb continues.
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) March 18, 2023
GAME SCENE: With the Lakers ahead of the Mavericks midway through the fourth, Anthony Davis made two free throws with 6.7 seconds left to give Dallas one final chance. They brought the ball to the court, all aware that Kyrie Irving was hot: 38 points on 14-for-23 shooting with five 3-pointers. The feed connected and Irving was trapped by Kenyan Gabriel and Dennis Schroder … only to find the opening for a two-handed pass to an open Kleber.
Difficulty: When the pass landed in his mitts with less than a second to go from the final buzzer, Kleber essentially one-timed it to the basket and dropped it with 0.2 on the clock. Anthony Davis, who had leaned toward the loose safety position near the snap, desperately tried to recover. Davis reached close, but not close enough, with his full 7-foot-6 wingspan.
THE MAXI KLEBER GAME!!!!!!!!!!! image.twitter.com/xEigm97YQl
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 18, 2023
CELEBRATION: Kleber watched it fall, then turned and raised his fist after watching it fall through as he made his way toward the struggling bench crowd, who enveloped him in a sea of blue heat. The rebound took many players to the ground, but the devastated Lakers looked on in shocked disbelief, missing what could prove to be an important game.
THE SCORE: With the Mavs’ once-solid lead evaporating and the specter of another Kyrie-led loss looming, Kleber’s spurt turned a two-point deficit into a one-point win. Dropped out of the guaranteed play-off field in 6th place. And turned a series tie into a series win. It could make a difference – a lot. 4.0 Horror.