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No horsing around: A guide for how to win the NBA HORSE Challenge

HORSE is part basketball skill, part psychological warfare. The best techniques for getting in the head of your opponent, and having some secret shots, are the key here.

Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky shoots free throws against the Las Vegas Aces on September 15, 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Photo by Jeff Bottari/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA’s Horse Challenge should be a fun competition. But the real hoopers know that HORSE isn’t something you take lightly.

HORSE is a game of psychologically breaking the will of your opponent so they can no longer believe in themselves and what they do. It’s about pushing the boundaries of the rules to the limit. It’s about only taking shots you’ve practiced ad infinitum when you have the ball, and sticking to your fundamentals when your opponent needs to make a shot.

Here’s the bracket for the tournament, and some light intimidation and chatter has happened on social media already.

Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups
Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley Jr.
Zach LaVine vs. Paul Pierce
Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley

Some of the players have been smart enough to take suggestions online...

And we’re here to help! The key to HORSE is to have a few shots your opponent couldn’t possibly have thought of or practiced, but that you know you’ve got in your pocket. Shots like:

Behind the backboard

It forces your opponent to arc a make at a tough angle. And make sure you can do it from behind both the left and right backboard, as that’s two letters you can hang for basically the same shot.

From the 28 foot hashmark

That line between mid-court and the baseline on the sideline that’s used to mark the coaching box? It also creates a really tough angle to make a shot and gives a weird sightline. Practice these.

Anything weird from the short corner

Most players try and make the laying down or kneeling shots from the free throw line. But your opponent has probably made at least a million free throws in their life, so make it harder. Take away the sightline of the backboard, and do the exact same shot.

Little tip, Trae: everyone is going to practice these, and they’re not as hard as they look. Think outside the box a bit. Like Allie Quigley is here, who will play you in the semifinals if you get there because she gets this.

She’s already got CP3 rattled. And we all know CP3 isn’t tough to rattle in clutch situations.

Here’s a great example of how to play the game from 1978. Watch the shots Bob McAdoo and “Pistol” Pete Maravich take, as they’re both ones their opponent will struggle with. McAdoo uses his size, Maravich his ball-handling and shooting.

So there’s your primer guys. We’re going to take Quigley to win the whole thing, not only because she understands how to win this thing before touching a ball on social media, but she’s also one of the best bombers in basketball. She’s at least 42% from three-point range the last three WNBA seasons, and a three-time All-Star. Combine that with her meta-game, and she’s going to take it home for the WNBA.