In Case You Missed It …

Sacramento Kings (accidentally) play 4-on-5

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When the Sacramento Kings fired coach Mike Malone a few weeks ago, there was talk that under new coach Ty Corbin, they might attempt something rather bold: Attempting to play 4-on-5. This has been buzzed about for a while, and it would certainly be something to see. It also would probably not work very well against NBA offenses, but hey, it showed an owner and a franchise willing to think outside the box, to zig where everyone else zags.

Last night against Brooklyn, however, they actually ran the 4-on-5 defense…by accident. After a turnover in the second quarter, Sacramento’s Reggie Evans walked to the bench and appeared to take a seat, thinking that play was stopping for a timeout. But play continued, and the Nets had a 5-on-4 possession. They ended up missing the shot, and the Kings pushed the ball back and got it an open Evans under the basket. Sure, he missed the shot, and it was accidental instead of planned, but for one shining moment, we had 4-on-5 hoops.


VIDEO: 4-ON-5

(via The Brooklyn Game)

Meet Don Stockton (and the State Farm assist team)

By Jeff Case

Chris Paul and his alter ego, Cliff Paul, the State Farm Insurance agent, just got a bunch of backup.

In a must-see commercial that  first aired during the Wizards-Knicks game on ESPN, the Pauls join the National Bureau of Assists, a team made up of the alter egos of Stephen Curry (Sebastian Curry), Sue Bird (Summer Bird), Damian Lillard (Darius Lillard) and the scene-stealer of the commercial, John Stockton (Don Stockton).

And here’s a bonus Don Stockton scene:

(H/T FTW)

The New York Knicks play Secret Santa

By Jeff Case

The 2014-15 season hasn’t gone how anyone in New York has wanted or expected, but, hey, it’s the holiday season and let’s not get all glum. After a recent practice, the team (with an assist from Jonah Ballow) played a round of Secret Santa — or if you’re Jewish like Amar’e Stoudemire, it was called Secret Holiday.

Anyway, the guys who took part had a good sense of humor about what they’d by their teammates and/or bosses and the video is worth a look:


VIDEO: The Knicks play Secret Santa

You can’t leave Vlade Divac open from outside

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night in Los Angeles, while hosting the red-hot Golden State Warriors, the Lakers had one of those nights. Kobe Bryant may have missed the game to get some rest, but the rest of the Lakers didn’t miss a beat, shooting over 50-percent from the floor and beating the Warriors, 115-105.

But the most surprising moment of the night may have been when former Lakers center Vlade Divac took to the court to attempt a halfcourt shot for charity. And with the way things were going for the Lakers last night, of course Divac nailed it. The best part? The shot was worth $90,000, split between Divac’s and the Lakers’ charities…


VIDEO: Divac Halfcourt

Brook Lopez really wants to be in the new ‘Star Wars’ movie

By Jeff Case

Among NBA players who are in-tune with comic book culture and things some might consider nerdy, Portland Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez is considered a go-to source (as he’s proven over in naming The Avengers, playing a round of Nerdsketball and more).

But, don’t overlook his twin brother, Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets, on having strong opinions on pop culture/comic book-type stuff, too.

According to Fred Katz of Bleacher Report, Brook Lopez said he wants to play a wookie in the next Star Wars movie:

Only one of the Lopez brothers could spend an extended period of time debating the merits of Bane as well as launching into an in-depth discussion about Darth Vader.

Please give Wesley Matthews his space

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When an NBA player is waiting to check into an NBA game, they’re usually asked to take a seat in front of the scorer’s table, so that the timekeeper can remember to blow the horn and let the refs know there’s a sub waiting to check in. During Wednesday night’s Portland/Milwaukee game, while Wesley Matthews was waiting to check in, a referee stopped by the scorer’s table to ask a question, and from Matthews’ reaction, the ref may have gotten a bit too close for comfort.

Wesley Matthews did not appreciate how close this ref got. (h/t Guy Haberman)

A video posted by Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) on

After the game, Matthews confirmed his incredulous reaction…

(via B/R)

Brooklyn Nets fire up truly epic air ball

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you haven’t noticed, one big trend in the NBA right now is for teams to find “stretch fours,” which is to say power forwards — the “4” position — who can step outside and make three-point baskets. Having a stretch four is not only helpful with spacing on offense, but it also scrambles the opponent’s defense, forcing their big men to play away from the basket.

Notice that I said stretch fours are players who can step outside and “make” three-point baskets; just being able to go to the three-point line and shoot the shot doesn’t do anything for anyone if you can’t actually make the shot.

So on that end, if last night’s Chicago/Brooklyn game was any indication, we’d say Nets big man Cory Jefferson probably has some work to do. Because this three-point jumper wasn’t just short, it wasn’t even close. On the plus side, while he didn’t make the shot, he probably made Shaqtin’ A Fool…


VIDEO: Epic Air

Tony Allen’s turnover celebration is amazing

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Memphis Grizzlies swingman Tony Allen is something of a spiritual leader for the Grizzlies — the guy who spawned the “Grit N Grind” identity the Grizzlies have so fully embraced. Part of that leadership means that Allen occasionally lets loose a bit on the court, like whenever the Grizzlies force a turnover, Allen gives a football-style “first down” sign to signal the change of possession. But last night against the Dallas Mavericks, Allen broke out a variation on the first down sign, adding some popping and locking to the move…

After the game, Allen tweeted out an explanation…

Austin Rivers attempts novel defensive strategy against Blake Griffin

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We all know that Blake Griffin is one of the toughest players in the NBA to stop — his size, speed, and ability to either knock down outside shots or take the ball to the basket present a host of problems for defenders. We’ve seen opponents try and get physical with Blake, usually to no avail. But over the weekend, New Orleans guard Austin Rivers got tangled with Blake on a pick-and-roll and ended up “pantsing” Blake. Hey, that’s one way to stop him.

GreatGloriousFritillarybutterfly

(via r/NBA)

Fans get (really) close look at Blazers blimp

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Attending an NBA game these days is a true spectacle — loud music, flashing lights, floor projection systems, and during timeouts, some teams use inflatable blimps to fly around indoors and drop gifts to the fans below.

Last night in Portland during the Blazers/Pacers game, an inflatable car blimp was deployed to soar over the stands…until things got a little out of control.