In Case You Missed It …

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.

The Sacramento Kings know their ’90s TV

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Sacramento Kings have a roster of players all born in the ’80s and ’90s, which means they were kids during the ’90s and, by the looks of this video, spent a lot of time watching television. Pretty impressive that Jason Thompson even has the theme songs down. No shame in that game…


VIDEO: Kings ’90s

Nike introduces Kyrie Irving signature shoe


VIDEO: Nike Kyrie

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — “Welcome to the club,” Charles Barkley said to Kyrie Irving, and he settled into a seat next to Chuck and Penny Hardaway, and as LeBron James showed support from the back of the room. Irving was not only literally joining a couple of NBA superstars by sitting alongside them, he was also joining their ranks with a product that elevates him to a higher marketing plane.

Last night, at a gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea district, Nike debuted the Kyrie 1, the Cleveland guard’s first signature shoe. This puts Irving into some exclusive company: He joins LeBron, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant as current NBA players with their own signature Nike lines.

The shoe has all sorts of design call-outs that make it unique to Irving. From a release via Nike…

1. The new Kyrie Irving logo on the shoe’s tongue represents his inner strength and hunger to learn

2. Hand-written details in Irving’s penmanship: #2 on the upper heel along with his personal signature on the inside of the tongue

3. Jagged pattern on the wrapped traction near the toe and heel counter with architectural angles are both inspired by the Sydney Opera House in Irving’s homeland of Australia

4. The acronym “JBY” that sits beneath Irving’s new logo on the outsole stands for “Just Be You,” a motto that Irving hopes inspires kids as they establish their own, unique identities

Each of these distinctions appear on all KYRIE 1 colorways. Individual stories come to life on each colorway beginning with the KYRIE 1 Dream. Irving often dreamt of waking up on Christmas morning and lacing up for a game professionally – a dream that will come true when Cleveland plays in Miami on Christmas day. The black-based shoe features geometric, colorful objects specific to Irving’s life journey, including stars from the Australian flag, a skateboard, his jersey number and a brass musical instrument.

The KYRIE 1 Deceptive Red is the global lead colorway; it takes inspiration from Irving’s phenomenal quickness and accelerated first step.

The KYRIE 1 is currently available for customization on NIKEiD, the KYRIE 1 Dream colorway will be available in North America on Dec. 23 in adult and kids sizes at nike.com and select retail destinations. The KYRIE 1 Deceptive Red colorway is available globally on Jan. 10, 2015. Along with the shoe, special KYRIE 1 T-shirts, hats and socks will also be available.

For detailed looks at the shoe, check the gallery below…

Phoenix Suns hold awesome post-practice dunk contest

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Phoenix Suns have played an uptempo style of basketball the last few years, and one of the players who has perfectly fit their system has been Gerald Green. And while Green has developed into a nice all-around basketball player, his dunking ability has always drawn raves. Green has been in three NBA Slam Dunk contests, winning in 2007, and today after a Suns practice, he got into a dunk-off against Suns guard Archie Goodwin. Goodwin gave Green a run for his money, but Green seemed to show Goodwin who’s the boss…


VIDEO: Suns dunking

Nobody flops like Lance Stephenson

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As we’ve chronicled in this space, Lance Stephenson has done some impressive work on the court the last two seasons, particularly when it comes to flopping. (See here and here, for example.) But his latest maneuver may be his best one yet.

In a game against the Warriors this weekend, Lance ran into a screen set by Harrison Barnes. And in what appears to be an attempt to draw a foul, but in actuality is a play for the ages, Lance Stephenson slapped himself in the face…

(via FTW)

OKC hosts block party for Houston


VIDEO: OKC get three rejections in one possession against the Rockets

There was a brick fair of enormous magnitude in Oklahoma City on Sunday and it was all in Chesapeake Energy Arena. James Harden missed 12 of 17. Dwight Howard missed 10 of 14 — 19 of 27 if you count free throws. Houston’s stars weren’t the only culprits. In fact, nobody shot 50 percent from the field. Nobody.

The Rockets shot 28.7 percent from the field, undoubtedly helped to that figure by the ridiculous rim protection from the trio of Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. Fourteen blocks combined, they threw six offerings from Howard. Credit the Rockets for continuing to challenge the Thunder, but their intrepidity in the paint was likely necessitated by their abysmal launching from deep (7-for-35 out there).

Despite Houston’s shooting woes, it got the 69-65 win (read that score again slowly) because OKC wasn’t much better (29.4 percent). It was a physical affair, replete with four technical fouls, a Pat Beverley sighting and more trash talk than a little bit. Win or no win, the Thunder, particularly young big man Adams, gave the Rockets a rim party to remember.


VIDEO: OKC swats 15 shots in Sunday’s narrow loss to the Rockets