NBA Journal: Raptors make a run

Patrick Patterson, left, against Andray Blatche in Game 1, is in the NBA playoffs. (Ron Turenne/NBAE)

Patrick Patterson, left, against Andray Blatche in Game 1, is in the NBA playoffs. (Ron Turenne/NBAE)

By Patrick Patterson, for NBA.com

This is the most excited I’ve been to write a blog post since I started — the Toronto Raptors are in the Playoffs!  This is what I have wanted ever since I was a rookie and I am so proud to be part of this team.

When we clinched our spot, there was a feeling of relief, but we were also so proud of ourselves and one another.  We worked so hard for this all season, to finally achieve it is a great feeling.  We all celebrated with a team dinner, just having fun and enjoying the moment.

What makes it so much better is that our success this year was really a team effort.  Whether everyone’s unselfishness and willingness to move and share the ball, or DeMar and Kyle’s ability to become those leaders and star-caliber players we needed, every single person on this team contributed. We all knew individually what we had to do for this team in order for us to be successful, and all bought into what the coaching staff was telling us. We work hard and play hard, with lots of energy and young guys on the team.

Prepping for the Playoffs has been all about watching film, correcting previous mistakes against our opponent, knowing what they like to do and how they took advantage of us as far as plays on the court, mismatches and areas of the game we have to get better at.  Practices and workouts are short and sweet, a few reps, a few contact plays.  It’s all mental and all based on what we see on film, just trying to memorize game situations.

My personal goal for the Playoffs is to get to the Eastern Conference Finals. I want to make sure I work hard every single game so I don’t ever wonder, “What if I had given more?” I want to always be satisfied at the end of every game knowing that I gave it my all.

An added benefit of having my first Playoff series with this team is that I’m alongside two guys that were there my first year in Houston when we finished 9th – Kyle Lowry and Chuck Hayes. These guys have always treated me like a younger brother, watching out for me, so being able to have this experience with them is great, and hopefully there will be more to come!

It is not going to be an easy road to the Finals.  First up is Brooklyn, a team full of veterans with Playoff and Championship experience.  After that, we would face the winner of the Miami and Charlotte matchup.  LeBron and his basketball IQ alongside D Wade and Bosh, all returning champs, all extremely tough to beat.  Charlotte can slow down the game and have Al Jefferson who will punish you inside and get rebounds, in addition to Kemba Walker’s one-on-one ability.

Whatever matchups come our way, I am so confident in our team and know that we will leave everything we have on the floor every single game.  We the North!

Before the Playoffs started I had a chance to see Oculus, my next #patspicks movie review.  The plot of this movie made it one of the best I have seen in a long time.  It was able to jump from flashbacks to present day in a way that was intriguing instead of confusing.  You were on the edge of your seat trying to guess what happened next, but there were so many twists that threw you off.  Overall I give it an eight out of 10.  I originally thought this was a horror movie, which is one of my favorite genres, so I was expecting a little more gore, but this was definitely more of a thriller that messed with your mind.

Rockets, Blazers continue first round matchup on Twitter

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Many pundits have predicted the Rockets and Trail Blazers to have one of the most exciting first-round matchups. The Game 1 victory by Portland seems to be a good predictor of a well-played series.

If you had any questions about the emotions involved in the series, you only need to look as far as Twitter. During game one, when Portland’s Robin Lopez was whistled for a technical foul, the Rockets’ twitter account decided this was a perfect time point out that Lopez may or may not resemble Sideshow Bob from “The Simpsons”…

Then, just a few minutes later, after the Blazers won game one, the Portland Police Department noted that at least in this one instance, theft was perfectly fine by them…

Game two is Wednesday night…

(via NIS)

Lance Stephenson gives local students ultimate prom experience

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Pacers guard Lance Stephenson is not only in the running for most improved player in the NBA, he also seems to be doing great things off the court as well. Last Saturday in Indianapolis, three high school students received free prom dresses (and tuxes for their dates) courtesy of Stephenson’s Ultimate Prom Experience. The three girls were selected after submitting essays explaining why they deserved the opportunity. Stephenson then teamed up with Indianapolis-area dress shop RaeLynn’s Boutique to make a few dreams come true.

Stephenson posted the following image on Instagram of the winning entrants…

(via TNLP)

Trend Alert: Blakeing

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — On the internet, it doesn’t take much to constitute a trend. So after Blake Griffin dumped a cup of water on a fan during the Clippers’ game one loss to the Warriors — perhaps by accident, perhaps not by accident — Michelle Beadle over at “SportsNation” decided to try making this into a a new trend: Blakeing.

So if you see Beadle around, maybe stay a few steps back…

Hawks’ Korver Loves Swatting 7-Footers

By Nick Margiasso IV

You know what Atlanta Hawk Kyle Korver is really good at? Right, shooting 3-pointers. You know what he’s just as good at? Right, swatting the shots of 7-footers … wait, WHAT?!?!

That’s right, in the Hawks’ Game 1 win over the Pacers, the man with the NBA’s longest 3-pointers made streak sank as many long-distance shots as he had blocks of Indiana’s Roy Hibbert. Read that again. And then watch it …

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VIDEO: Atlanta’s Kyle Korver blocks Indiana big man Roy Hibbert

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VIDEO: And then does it again

Watergate 2: Blake Griffin vs. Fan

By Nick Margiasso IV

Maybe NBA franchises just need to buy less-slippery cups.

After fouling out of Saturday’s Clippers-Warriors game late, Los Angeles’ Blake Griffin made it two controversial drink spills in the NBA this season. This time, there was a victim. This time, it was water. Call it “Watergate,” but that’s already been taken. Purposely or not, Griffin doused a Golden State fan positioned directly behind him at the scorer’s table as the L.A. star reacted by throwing his arms back in disbelief upon seeing the replay of his last foul on the arena jumbotron.

And, oh yeah, he had a cup full of water in his hand. So, this happened…

VIDEO: Blake Griffin of the Clippers douses fan with water

Remind you of anything?

VIDEO: Jason Kidd, coach of the Nets, spills drink on court mid-game

 

The Horry Scale Scale

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — By this point, you guys know the drill: When an NBA player hits a game-winning buzzer beater, we try to do a post as quickly as possible where we rate the play from one to five Horrys.

That’s the most simple way of explaining it. Here’s a more exact explainer: What is the Horry Scale? For those who are new around these parts, the Horry Scale examines 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 Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.

One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations … basically, everything surrounding and including the shot. So when I gave Randy Foye a 3 Horry rating, that wasn’t only a reflection of his shot, which was admittedly remarkable, as I wrote, but also the play, which was awful. Taj Gibson’s lefty layup wasn’t the toughest shot, but that inbounds play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.

I took over The Horry Scale this season, and we’ve had a record-setting 17 entries. Seventeen! I’ve done my best to rate them — not just the shot, as I said, but the entire play, taking into account the celebration and the gravity of the situation. Basically, everything matters.

And here I should also say that I severely underrated Jeff Green‘s game winner that started the season. At the time I gave it three Horrys, because I wasn’t sure what to judge it against — there was no context. But the truth is, in retrospect, it was an incredible shot and a great moment, about as good as it gets in the regular season. Which I why I’m listing it first.

Anyway, with the regular season drawing to a close, we thought this was a great time to look back at every Horry Scale entry this season and rate them all. I’ve listed them in a loose order of greatness. You have an opinion, right? You can vote at the bottom…
 

Jordan Brand unveils Air Jordan XX9

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


VIDEO: Tinker Hatfield on the Air Jordan XX9

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — At a press conference yesterday in Manhattan, Jordan Brand unveiled their latest signature sneaker, the Air Jordan XX9. Michael Jordan and designer Tinker Hatfield were in attendance, and they talked often about how the new kicks, which will be available in September, is the best shoe they’ve created yet.

The shoe is woven together using a technology they found in Italy, so it’s both light and strong. As a press release explains…

The performance-woven upper delivers superior abrasion resistance, along with an entirely new look on the outside of the shoe. The structure and fit of the shoe are engineered through Flight Web tunnels, and strategic panels of stiffer and softer flex to enhance natural motion. The absence of numerous layers and adhesion technologies creates an incredibly comfortable, sock-like interior lining with superior breathability. Using webbed straps that wrap the foot and integrate with the laces, the Flight Web fit system offers superior mid-foot lockdown that moves with the athlete. Woven channels in the upper enhance the Flight Web fit system, while a double-lasted heel helps dampen the impact on hard landings. Articulated padding in the collar adds to the premium, signature feel of the shoe and helps prevent the heel from slipping.

While the shoe isn’t out until the fall, you’ll probably start seeing it on some feet in the playoffs. In the meantime, check out some images of the first two colorways in the gallery below…

Kevin Durant turns into a giant

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the start of the playoffs usually comes a new slew of commercials featuring your favorite NBA players. For instance, this new spot from Sprint featuring Kevin Durant as a giant version of himself who hangs outside of treehouses and takes off into the sky…


VIDEO: KD Joins Framily

(via FTW)

The Knicks were Shaqtin’ A Fool

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Shaqtin’ A Fool, the weekly compilation of lowlights on “Inside the NBA,” has become one of the most popular segments on the show. (And if you frequent the All Ball blog, you know we post Shaqtin’ each week right here on this blog.) And while we all know Shaq has his favorite players to regularly appear — JaVale McGee, Kendrick Perkins, etc. — in retrospect, for this season at least, it seems like Shaq also may have had a favorite team.

In this Youtube compilation video, someone cut together all the different Knicks appearances on Shaqtin’ A Fool from this season. Warning: It is over 5 minutes long.


VIDEO: Shaqtin’ A Knicks

(via TNLP)