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Horry Scale: Jimmy Butler buzzer-beater reminds Bulls they chose %%sep%% %%sitename%%

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Jimmy Butler finds his matchup, then his spot and wins it with the step-back jumper over his old team

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.

* * *

They call the man “Jimmy Buckets”. The nickname exists for a reason.

With the Heat hosting the Bulls and the game tied after a 15-point lead had dwindled, Jimmy Butler nailed his second buzzer-beater since coming to Miami via sign-and-trade in 2019. It came after a back-and-forth final period, against the franchise that offloaded Butler after developing him from unheralded to All-Star.

Saturday’s 118-116 victory leaves the Heat 15-11, sitting 6th in the Eastern Conference.

GAME WINNER‼️‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/AS4SuJZVvu

— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 17, 2023

GAME SITUATION: With eight lead changes on the night but three coming in the final minutes, the Bulls ran up a 36-23 advantage in the 4th quarter to take a116-114 lead on Coby White’s jumper with 1:28 to play. It proved their final score. The teams traded empty possessions before Kyle Lowry tied it again with a finger roll 31 seconds from the finish. A Nikola Vucevic miss later, the scene was set: Butler collected the errant attempt and headed up-court with 13 seconds and the game in his hands.

DIFFICULTY: Butler brought the ball up along the left side in a measured fashion, surveying the floor as Kyle Lowry guided the game action. With a double screen set at the top of the key, the 6-foot-7 Butler ended up one-on-one against 6-foot-5 Coby White on the left wing. A left-to-right cross, a power dribble and then the step back to clear all the space he needed. Mayhem in Miami.

CELEBRATION: Hitting it on the home floor, the shot pulled an arena’s worth of fans out of their seats. Exultation delivered in front of the Heat bench, which arose and chased Butler down at halfcourt, where he was coolly walking away from the scene. He knew. So should have we all.

MOBBED. #TissotBuzzerBeater https://t.co/4bdSeCqniN pic.twitter.com/JyArD93nTA

— NBA (@NBA) December 17, 2023

GRADE: We’re still in the opening third of the campaign, and while the Bulls have been playing better, they’re still not expected to contend for anything outside of the playoff fringe. Surely none of that matters to Butler, who seems likely to relish this moment of revenge against his original squad, the one that traded him because they didn’t think he could serve as the centerpiece. Fitting then, that he hit the shot wearing a ‘HEAT Culture’ jersey. 3.5 Horrys.

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