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Horry Scale: LeBron James wins Game 5 at the buzzer, puts Cavs up 3-2 on Pacers

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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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We’ve seen it before, but it never gets old: LeBron James for the win. The four-time Kia MVP and three-time NBA champion rose, shot and hit a 3-pointer from straightaway as time expired on Wednesday night, giving the Cavaliers a 3-2 first-round series lead over Indiana.

The shot served as an exclamation point for yet another dominant postseason chapter from James: 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 42 minutes of work. Check out the series hub for all the goodies. Here, we’ll focus on the biggest shot of the game.
 

DIFFICULTY: After making the game-saving block on one end, the Cavaliers had exactly three seconds remaining to break a 95-95 tie. The Cavs’ out-of-bounds play snagged Thaddeus Young on an off-ball screen, giving James the breathing room he needed for the catch, two dribblers, and a clean look while drifting to his left. He could have been more tightly defended, but the shot was far from easy.

GAME SITUATION: The series was tied 2-2 entering Wednesday night, and the Cavs appeared in serious danger of heading back to Indianapolis one game away from elimination. The franchise and its star player were very close to confronting difficult offseason questions about what’s next for each of them. Instead, both parties get to bask in another timeless playoff moment and keep their postseason hopes alive.

CELEBRATION: For a 15-year veteran, James sure knows how to enjoy the moment. The 33-year-old backpedaled after shooting it, raised his arms when it went in, then turned and gave a sky-high body-bump to the first teammate to greet him.

It didn’t stop there, either. James jumped on top of the scorer’s table and incited his fans to greater celebrations. Then his teammates doused him with a bevy of icy drinks in the middle of a national television interview. Safe to say Cleveland and the state of Ohio loves their home-grown hero.

GRADE: Playoffs. National television. Series tied. The best player of his generation. You’d have to make some extremely specific and hypothetical tweaks to improve this one. Five Horrys.



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Report: Pau Gasol to join Trail Blazers

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Free agent center Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gasol, 39, who was limited to just 30 games last season because of a variety of injuries, has career averages of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds over 17 NBA seasons.



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Report: Furkan Korkmaz returning to 76ers

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Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports tells ESPN.

Korkmaz, 21, brings back a rotational forward with the ability to spread the floor with his shooting. The loss of JJ Redick in free agency – and Kyle Korver’s decision to choose Milwaukee over Philadelphia – brought some increased urgency to keep Korkmaz on the Sixers roster.

 The 21-year-old Korkmaz, who was the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.1 minutes last season.

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Report: Kevin Love to withdraw from World Cup

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Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is the latest player expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for the FIBA World Cup, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

This news comes just one day after Damian Lillard reportedly withdrew from the World Cup. Love, who played in just 22 games last season because of a shoulder injury, averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2018-19.

During the previous two weeks, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum reportedly decided not to compete in the World Cup this year.

Although the guard ranks will be somewhat depleted of NBA stars, Team USA continues to have a deep pool of players available.



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