The Best H-O-R-S-E Shots In Utah Jazz History
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley will be participating in the NBA H-O-R-S-E Challenge Sunday night on ESPN. Conley, along with seven other participants will compete in the classic basketball game to raise money for charities focused on coronavirus response efforts.
In Conley’s first-round matchup, the Jazz guard will face recent Hall of Fame inductee Tamika Catchings of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.
The players will shoot remotely from their own private courts, broadcast on ESPN beginning Sunday, with the semifinals and final round wrapping up Thursday night on the network.
With the competition on the horizon, Conley will need some inspiration and which shots he can count on to carry him through to the championship round.
In hopes that Conley can bring home the crown for Jazz fans, KSL Sports has gathered the best H-O-R-S-E shots in Jazz history for the point guard to draw inspiration from.
The trick to winning H-O-R-S-E is mastering a few trusty go-to shots that you’ve practiced that your opponent may have overlooked. With that in mind, a classic over the backboard shot should be a mainstay in every shooter’s bag of tricks.
While most people remember Sundiata Gaines buzzer-beating three-point shot to beat LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in January of 2010, many forget ‘the shot that set up the shot.’
This basket came courtesy of sharp-shooter Kyle Korver during his first stint with the Jazz. After catching the ball in the coffin corner with just nine seconds left on the clock, Korver throws the ball up over an outstretched Jawad Williams, catching just enough rim to watch it fall through the hoop.
We don’t often associate citrus shots with bruising power forwards, but immense strength is inarguably a key element in the ability to make tough through traffic.
Add a soft touch to the equation and you’ve got a powder keg for incredible shots. Perhaps no player in Jazz history better combined raw strength and soft-touch than Paul Millsap who a regular when it came to creative finishes.
Check out this doozie against the New Orleans Hornets in 2011.
The difficult part about the game of H-O-R-S-E is the player has to call their shot, and how they intend to make it. In Millsap’s case, he’d have to announce his plan to sink a: “No look, underhanded, scoop shot, swish.”
Go ahead and repeat that Conley.
If that’s too difficult, here’s another classic from Millsap against the Nuggets.
When remembering Jeff Hornacek’s career, it’s easy to envision his knockdown three-point shooting, deadeye foul shooting, and playmaking instincts.
It’s easy to forget that Hornacek was also one of the most creative finishers in Jazz history. He wasn’t incredibly quick, but his jump shot was so deadly he was often left with open driving lanes after a defender soared past him on an ill-timed closeout attempt.
When Hornacek was met at the rim, due to a lack of leaping ability, the guard had to invent new ways to finish around bigger defenders.
In the last season of his career, Hornacek was still up to his old tricks in this blowout victory over the Seattle Supersonics. The veteran guard drives past Gary Payton, pirouettes around Horace Grant, and throws this crafty citrus shot over his head, off the glass, and in.
In fact, Hornacek was so good at these types of finishes he has an entire highlight reel on YouTube to show off his innate ability to score at the rim.
If your opponent hits any of these shots in a game of H-O-R-S-E, just take a letter.
While the Jazz have had some incredible finishers throughout history, nobody has ever compared to the magic Donovan Mitchell brings to the floor every time he steps on the court.
The list of unbelievable finishes from Mitchell is a mile long and he’s only in his third season in the NBA.
With that said, there are to finishes from “Spida’s” career that stand above the rest, placing Mitchell among the best finishers in the league.
First, this dipping, diving, gravity-defying reverse lay-in against the Pelicans.
If you think that’s not good enough to earn your opponent a letter (hint: it is), then you can always go back to this old reliable circus shot.
Michael Jordan made it famous against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals, though in retrospect is anyone sure why MJ reversed hands for the finish? He probably could have dunked it outright.
Here, Mitchell rips off Jordan, but actually had a reason to change hands midair. Sorry Alex Len, that’s a letter.
Shots over the backboard are one thing, acrobatic finishes at the rim are another, but there’s no better H-O-R-S-E shot in team or maybe NBA history that Trevor Booker’s shot-clock beating tip-in against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With .02 left on the clock, Booker tapped the ball over his head, with Russell Westbrook on his back, off of an inbound bounce pass from Gordon Hayward.
To make it even more impressive, the ball fell perfectly through the hoop as if Booker and Hayward had practiced the play thousands of times. Take the crown Booker, you won H-O-R-S-E.
There you go Conley, we took the guesswork out of which shots to try, all you have to do is make them and bring home the trophy.
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