The Sacramento Kings are really into ugly sweaters

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ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week while I was on vacation, my intrepid colleague Jeff Case served up a link to a story about NBA-themed “ugly” sweaters, which you can order from the NBA Store. Yes, these sweaters are ugly, but intentionally so, as they mock/pay tribute to the tradition of wearing “festive” garb around the holiday season.

One team has decided to aggressively embrace the ugly sweater. The Sacramento Kings recently announced plans for an ugly sweater night when they host the Milwaukee Bucks a week before Christmas.

The best part is how the Kings players seem to be all-in on the ugly sweaters. They produced a stunning photo gallery of their players knitted out in the sweaters, and Ben McLemore even wore his to last night’s TNT game. Take that, James Harden!

Washington Wizards play FIFA on the really big screen

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The bigger the screen, the better the television, right? Sure, but particularly if you’re using that TV to play videogames against a friend. Forget about playing on a 46-inch screen, because yesterday a few of the Washington Wizards got larger than life.

Nene, Otto Porter and Kevin Seraphin played a little FIFA against each other using the scoreboard in Washington’s Verizon Center. According to the Wizards’ website, the scoreboard is almost 15 feet high and over 25 feet wide! This larger-than-lifesized session was filmed and will air soon on the Wizards’ Magazine show. Good luck finding a screen big enough to watch it on.

(via WaPo)

Dallas Mavericks introduce groundbreaking video system

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has always been on the cutting edge of technology, and the latest innovation in Dallas looks to be pretty awesome.

According to a press release, the “freeD” technology works like this:

Replay will work with the Mavs to distribute 360-degree video footage of key plays from all live game action within the arena. This is the first National Basketball Association (NBA) team to install the freeD™ ARENA System and integrate the technology into their broadcast of the game. The replays will be presented in 5K video resolution, the highest quality viewing experience for fans.

This is the largest freeD™ system ever installed across all international sports properties – consisting of 26 cameras, six of which allow for enhanced zoom capability. The system can navigate the entire court through 360-degree coverage and view any perspective of the action. This is a huge leap in terms of production capabilities, which “frees” the video, allowing viewers to watch any play from any angle.

Cuban’s been talking it up to the local media, and while it sounds cool in theory, what’s really awesome is how it looks in practice…


VIDEO: Mavs freeD

Shaqtin’ A Fool: Vol. 4, Episode 4


VIDEO: Javale McGee is back on this week’s Shaqtin’ A Fool

It was a busy week in the NBA which means Shaq had plenty of foolishness to choose from. Vote for your favorite Shaqtin’ A Fool moment and tweet your favorite to #Shaqtin!
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Anderson Varejao is a dancing machine

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — During an important moment in last night’s San Antonio/Cleveland games, the Spurs needed to inbound the ball along the sideline. In order to try and disrupt the pass, the Cavs had seven-footer Anderson Varejao defend the passer, Kawhi Leonard. And in order to make the pass as tough as possible, Varejao was very awkwardly active. Which meant he did this…

RaggedSecretKatydid

Later, just to make sure the moment was commemorated perfectly, “Inside Stuff” host Kristen Ledlow took to Twitter to suggest someone put Varejao’s moves to music. After we discussed a few options — I knew Ledlow would initially gravitate toward Grizzlies fan Justin Timberlake — a Twitter user came up with what just may be the perfect soundtrack to Varejao’s funky moves. Thank you, internet…

(gif via r/NBA)

Throwback Thursday: Red Holzman


VIDEO: The Knicks won the 1973 NBA championship under coach Red Holzman

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!

Today’s TBT topic: Red Holzman

Red Holzman was a player in the NBA during its early days as the Basketball Association of America and after his six-year NBA playing career was done in 1954, he didn’t stray far from the league. He became a player-coach, a coach, an scout and found his greatest success as coach of the New York Knicks from 1967-77. Under his leadership, New York reached three Finals, won two championships and had perhaps its greatest era of success.

On this date in 1979, Holzman defeated the Houston Rockets 130-125 in OT to become the second coach in NBA history to win 500 games. In honor of his accomplishment years ago, we look back on Holzman’s career:

(NOTE: Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)


Gallery: Throwback Thursday: Red Holzman

What’s your favorite Red Holzman moment? Let us know by using the hashtag #NBATBT or visit for NBA.com’s Throwback Thursday page.

Michael Carter-Williams shot reflects Sixers season

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Things are not going well for the Philadelphia 76ers this season. They have played 11 games, and they have lost all 11 games. This is not a surprise — the Sixers have been very open about their plan to be bad in order to get a top pick in the draft. They have some nice young talent on the roster — Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid — and you’d think they’d steal a win here or there. But looks can be deceiving, and the Sixers have been awful…which at least gives us something to talk about.

So last night against the Celtics, when MCW pulled up for a long three-pointer, then stood there holding his arm high on the follow-through, it looked like it was going to be a great shot! Instead, he got nothing but air. :(

(via r/NBA)

Paul George got a new job

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — While Paul George is out recovering from his broken leg, we’ve seen him pop up a few times. But in between rehabbing his leg and working out, what has he been doing to fill the time? Well, apparently he found a new job in the Pacers’ public relations department. Yesterday Pacers PR chief David Benner posted a photo of the credentials they made up for George — who don’t forget has taken to calling himself “Young Trece.” Funny stuff, and if George works hard enough, George may one day get his photo posted in the press room like my colleague Sekou Smith.

James Harden makes bold NBA Style choice

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Houston Rockets took on the Los Angeles Lakers last night on ESPN, and James Harden was not about to let the opportunity slide. With a nationally televised game against one of the NBA’s marquee franchises, on the same day as the debut of his hilarious Foot Locker commercial, Harden decided to show off his NBA Style with a bold sweatshirt.

And as often happens in matters of NBA Style, some people on Twitter were willing to share their opinions…

 

Horry Scale: Solomon is King of the Hill


VIDEO: Solomon Hill’s tip-in at the buzzer puts Pacers over Hornets 88-86

Lance Stephenson made his return to Indianapolis on Wednesday and of course Lance Stephenson’s replacement made the biggest splash of the night. Yes, of course.

In the past, the theatrics for the Pacers, both good and bad, were left to Lance, who then bolted for the Hornets last summer for reasons that still aren’t particularly clear-cut. Meanwhile, Solomon Hill was mainly relegated to bench ornament last season, biding his time, wondering if he could ease the burden, or erase it completely, of Stephenson’s departure. For all of his nuttiness, Stephenson was a dogged player on both ends of the floor who was a valuable chip for a Pacer team that simply couldn’t get beyond LeBron James and the Heat.

Anyway … Stephenson returned to Indy to a mixed reception (booed whenever he touched the ball after a decent greeting), delivered an even performance, and then watched as his night was stolen by Solomon. We say “stolen” because up until the last few seconds, Solomon was rather tame (six points, five rebounds, 38 minutes). And then he gave himself the honor of landing on the Horry Scale, named after the great last-second shot artist Robert Horry, who helped three different teams win seven titles by coming up clutch when asked.

Keep in mind that the Horry Scale measures more than just the game-winning basket. Other factors are weighed that make the buzzer-beater truly epic, or merely run-of-the-mill. Although I think we can all agree that no buzzer-beater is routine. That said, let’s study the scale of Solomon’s biggest moment in the NBA.

DIFFICULTY: This was a fluke mixed with flair, because the play wasn’t designed for Solomon, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time, like Lorenzo Charles when NC State upset Houston. We should point out two things here: The hero was supposed to be Rodney Stuckey, who isolated on Stephenson and totally lost Lance on a step-back … only to launch an air ball. When the ball approaches the rim but doesn’t touch it, some players simply watch the flight. Others react to it. That’s what Solomon did, helped in part by his angle on the play. He was being boxed out rather effectively by Gerald Henderson and found himself under the basket, which gave him a solid vantage point. Here’s where the poetry came into play: Solomon reached, grabbed the air ball with his back to the rim, and flipped it over his head. The ball hung for a split-second on the flat part of the rim before falling through. Look, maybe he misses that shot 6 out of 10 times. This wasn’t one of them.

GAME SITUATION: The Pacers were down 18 early, but after that, the game was tight. What’s really interesting is the Pacers are really flying without a parachute in these situations. All of their proven game-saviors are either gone (Stephenson) or injured and sitting (Pauk George, David West, George Hill). Seriously, who deserves to have his number called in these situations? This is where the Pacers learn something about players who, in the past, were either on the bench or setting picks for the go-to guys mentioned above. Stuckey had moments in Detroit, but not many of them. If anything, the Pacers have been getting some good play from Donald Sloan, and yet this time they went to Stuckey and got Luck-ey. (OK, I’ll stop now.)

IMPORTANCE: This was a pick-me-upper for the Pacers, who understandably and expectedly are struggling to score points and win games without Stephenson and Paul George. Just as well, the Hornets have lost three straight and are reeling since Kemba Walker opened the season in thrilling fashion with a pair of buzzer-beaters himself (end of regulation, then OT) against the Bucks. They’ve gone 3-8 since. Can you imagine the reaction had Stephenson, and not Solomon, put himself on the Horry Scale?

CELEBRATION: The Pacers haven’t given the home crowd much reason to cheer this season, but they did beat Utah (and Butler boy Gordon Hayward) at Bankers Life and beating Stephenson in his return would’ve been worth two victories, in a sense. The building spring to life when Hill’s basket fell through, but beyond that, everyone knew it was one mediocre team beating another.

GRADE: Hill is averaging 12.6 points and 6 rebounds which is very acceptable considering the tough spot in which he was placed. He’s not going to be Stephenson and certainly not Paul George but in a pinch, he’ll do for now. He gets both hustle points and style points for not giving up on the play and also the backflip. That said, this game wasn’t particularly well-played nor did it carry any significance other than Lance. Even Hill was understated in the aftermath. “If it was like the Finals, I probably would’ve run around the building with my shirt off. But it’s a regular season game and we got another one coming up.” So we give it three Horrys, and there’s no shame in that.

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