Crossover Contest

Joe Johnson crosses over Jusuf Nurkic

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Hang around the NBA long enough and you’ll hear the phrase: “You reach, I teach.” And on this play in last night’s Brooklyn/Denver game, we basically saw it come to life. Denver big man Jusuf Nurkic got switched onto Brooklyn forward Joe Johnson on this possession, and just when Nurkic reaches in and tries for the steal, Johnson crosses him over and sends him to the floor. And check the second angle on the video, where you see the Nets bench go crazy…


VIDEO: Johnson/Nurkic

And for his part, after the game Nurkic responded in good humor…

Steph Curry, J.R. Smith, Lance Stephenson compete in new Crossover Contest

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last season we had the occasional Crossover Contest post. This season, I was planning on saving up some of this season’s best crossovers for one big season-ending post. But after the weekend we had, I think we need to break out another Crossover Contest, because dudes were putting people on skates all across the NBA.

Let’s start in Cleveland, where J.R. Smith sent Brandon Knight flying with a killer crossover…


VIDEO: J.R. on Knight

Now to Los Angeles, where Chandler Parsons had Lakers forward Ryan Kelly all mixed up…


VIDEO: Parsons on Kelly

In Detroit, down the stretch in a close game, Lance Stephenson went at Anthony Tolliver and left him stumbling in his tracks…


VIDEO: Lance on Tolliver

And let’s end with Stephen Curry yesterday out in the Bay, where he crossed over half the Clippers and drained the three…


VIDEO: Curry cross

Now it’s your turn: Who had the trickiest dribble? Cast your vote for the winner in the latest Crossover Contest…

Kemba Walker welcomes Nikola Mirotic to the NBA

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — You can play in the NBA, but you’re not really an NBA player until an opponent dunks on you or drops you with a dribble. So I guess it’s safe to say Bulls rookie big man Nikola Mirotic is now officially an NBA player. Mirotic, who entered the NBA this season following a storied career in Europe, has been terrific early this season for the Bulls, as a big man who is physical but also able to shoot from the outside.

What Mirotic probably should not do, we learned last night, is step outside and try to defend point guards on the perimeter. Or maybe just not Kemba Walker. Because last night the Hornets guard got solo’d up against Mirotic following a defensive switch, and Walker put a behind-the-legs crossover dribble on Mirotic that sent him skidding backward, with nary a touch.

It was so good that, A) Following the game, even Mirotic tweeted about it.

B) At the end of the play, Hornets owner (and former Bull) Michael Jordan gave his visual assessment of the play, with his best I better not laugh face.

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 9.35.18 AM

And of course, you can watch the clip here…


VIDEO: Kemba Walker crosses up Nikola Mirotic

Ty Lawson puts Kirk Hinrich on the floor

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As we continue to build up enough plays to build the first Crossover Contest of the season, we had a play last night that will almost definitely qualify. Watch as Denver’s Ty Lawson pretends to cross the ball over against Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich. The brilliant thing is Lawson doesn’t cross him over — he goes with one hard dribble on the left side and then cuts right. And all Hinrich can do is take a seat.

(via TNLP)

Shabazz Napier puts the Nets in a blender

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We have yet to break out the Crossover Contest this season, but Miami Heat rookie point guard Shabazz Napier made a case for himself last night. While waiting for Chris Bosh to flash to the basket in the halfcourt offense, and momentarily faced with a Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams double-team, Napier did something remarkable.

There are actually two things to watch on this play…

First, just watch Napier, as he does what is essentially a triple crossover — right to left behind his legs, left to right behind his legs, and then right to left in front of his body, all in the course of about two seconds. Terrific dribbling by Napier.

Second, watch KG and D-Will perform a strange ballet as they negotiate with each other to stay with their defensive assignments. D-Will actually does a full 360, on purpose, because it’s probably the fastest way to get situated back in front of Napier.

And then the Heat turn the ball over. But whatever, it was a great moment. You can see the full video here, or be mesmerized by the Vine below…

The All Ball Crossover Contest (Vol. 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Welcome to Volume Two of the Crossover Contest, in which we highlight the best of the best (and worst). In the same way that we look at who got dunked on in our All Ball Posterized Poll, in the crossover contest we examine which NBA players have been put in a blender. From time to time, we will check in and look at some of the best ankle-breaking dribbling exhibitions we’ve seen. We want to see the greatest moves, of course, but we also want to take note of who got shook.

So who broke out the best crossover in this edition of the Crossover Contest? We culled this selection of videos, and NBA.com’s Zettler Clay is providing the written commentary to accompany what you see.

Check out the videos below and vote at the bottom of the post …

WILL BYNUM ON DEVIN HARRIS, Feb. 22
Zettler: Devin Harris
didn’t really stand a chance. As soon as he stepped up, Will Bynum hit him with the stutter dribble. That was enough to set Devin up for the inadvertent Cupid Shuffle. Quick, efficient move by a man with an arsenal of them.


VIDEO: Will Bynum jukes Devin Harris

KYRIE IRVING ON THABO SEFOLOSHA, Feb. 26
Zettler: This was unique in that Kyrie Irving provoked Thabo Sefolosha’s (perennial All-NBA defender) fall before he performed the crossover. Irving drove hard right and stopped on a dime, which was enough to send poor Thabo sprawling on all fours and his bench off their seats for the inevitable dagger.


VIDEO: Kyrie loses Thabo

TY LAWSON ON JODIE MEEKS, March 7
Zettler: Don’t hurt ’em, Law! This was just, oh my…just pause the clip at the seven second mark. A frozen video is worth a thousand words.


VIDEO: Ty Lawson carves up Jodie

ANDRAY BLATCHE ON TYLER HANSBROUGH, March 10
Zettler (channeling his inner Hubie Brown): See, we know Andray Blatche likes to create like a guard. We’ve seen him hit fancy scoops. We know he’ll dunk it on ya. But now we see that he has the killer — slow, but killer — crossover to turn Tyler Hansbrough in circles and get the finish. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.


VIDEO: ‘Blatcheness’ takes over Brooklyn at Tyler Hansbrough’s expense

RUSSELL WESTBROOK ON PATRICK BEVERLEY, March 11
Zettler: Considering the contentious blood between these two, this is classic payback. Patrick Beverley stood too tall for a defensive stance and reached. Russell Westbrook taught with an old-school Zeke lightning cross through the legs. Speed and quickness under control.


VIDEO: Westbrook crosses by Beverley

The All Ball Crossover Contest (Vol. 1)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Throughout this season, perhaps you’ve seen our ongoing series, The All Ball Posterized Poll. In those posts, we examine which NBA players have been victims of the most vicious dunks.

We are proud to continue the tradition of highlighting the best of the best (and worst) with the new All Ball Crossover Contest. From time to time, we will check in and look at some of the best ankle-breaking dribbling exhibitions we’ve seen. We want to see the greatest moves, of course, but we also want to take note of who got shook.

So who broke out the best crossover in this edition of the Crossover Contest? We culled this selection of videos, and NBA.com’s Zettler Clay is providing the written commentary to accompany what you see.

Check out the videos below and vote at the bottom of the post …

NORRIS COLE ON DERRICK ROSE
Zettler Says: I know, Derrick Rose was only minutes into his first game back from an ACL tear. Still, as Avon Barksdale accurately summed it up, the game is the game. Norris saw an opportunity and made a quick decision. We’re rooting for a full recovery for Rose, if only for a chance at redemption, because this move is nasty.


VIDEO: Cole on Rose

JOHN WALL ON TERRENCE ROSS
Zettler Says: John Wall hits Terrence Ross with the double. If you were to ask for defining Wall plays to teach to youngsters, this would lead the reel. A stutter step to freeze Ross, then a crisp crossover followed by another, followed by speed to the cup. Great read, timing and execution.


VIDEO: Wall On Ross

STEPHEN CURRY ON REGGIE JACKSON
Zettler Says: There’s nobody else in the NBA that could pull this move off, save for Jamal Crawford and Kevin Durant. Curry’s ability to quickly set his feet after a move combined with his deadly deep aim gives his crossover another element. No spot on the court is safe for any Steph defender.


VIDEO: Curry On Jackson

DERON WILLIAMS ON CHRIS PAUL
Zettler Says: Classic end of half isolation clash between two of the league’s best. What gives this play flair is the stealthy rivalry between these two players since they entered the NBA in 2005, one pick behind each other (D-Will was the third pick, Paul fourth). On this night, multiple times, the third pick had the upper hand.


VIDEO: Williams On Paul

J.R. SMITH ON TRISTAN THOMPSON
Zettler Says: This is just Earl Joseph Smith III doing his thing. Thankfully Tristan Thompson took an unnatural fall, which not only made the play pop, but saved his ankle. If he doesn’t hit the deck, his talus is broken. Believe.


VIDEO: Smith On Thompson

And now you get your say. Who had the best crossover?