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Paul Pierce knows how to throw a party

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — California knows how to party, and apparently nobody knows that better than Clippers forward (and Cali native) Paul Pierce. The Truth’s daughter turned five recently, and Pierce apparently went all out for the birthday bash, bringing in a llama and even posing for a few selfies. Next time we have an NBA.com office party we definitely have to get Pierce on the Party Planning Committee.

My daughter wanted a lama for her bday #daddylittlegirl

A photo posted by The Truth (@paulpierce) on

What am I thinking smh

A photo posted by The Truth (@paulpierce) on

What up 5

A photo posted by The Truth (@paulpierce) on

The time Magic Johnson talked trash to Michael Jordan

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Through the years we’ve heard plenty of stories about Michael Jordan‘s incredible competitiveness. And this latest story from Magic Johnson does nothing to dispel what we’ve heard. On a recent visit to “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Magic Johnson told a great story about how the first time he ever talked trash resulted in Michael Jordan making what sounds like a pretty spectacular shot…

Rajon Rondo takes on Isiah Thomas and Greg Anthony in Connect 4

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the most fun things about working for NBA.com and NBA TV is hanging around the studio in Atlanta, where you’re just as likely to run into Charles Barkley as you are Brent Barry. And when there’s down-time, there’s plenty of time to argue about NBA history, or movies, or even about things such as board games. And with special guest Rajon Rondo in the NBA TV studio this week, of course Isiah Thomas and Rondo got involved in a heated match, with Greg Anthony providing commentary.

Carmelo Anthony partakes in Running Man challenge

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night on the “Tonight Show,” someone asked host Jimmy Fallon if he could get a basketball player to partake in the Running Man Challenge. Who better for Fallon to find behind the hidden door than Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony?

Lil Kev is playing a key role for the Cleveland Cavaliers

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Cleveland Cavaliers’ official mascot is, of course, Moondog. But right now their unofficial mascot, or perhaps just spirit leader, might just be a magazine advertisement that bears a passing resemblance to their All-Star power forward, Kevin Love. That’s right, a magazine advertisement. A magazine advertisement that is known as Lil Kev.

Let’s back up a bit. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, this whole thing started during Cleveland’s first round series against the Detroit Pistons.

What Lil’ Kev is, literally, is a Tommy Bahama advertisement that was ripped out of an in-flight magazine by [Richard] Jefferson when the Cavs were flying back from Detroit after their first-round sweep of the Pistons.

Jefferson thought the model in the ad bore a striking resemblance to Love.

“We saw Lil’ Kev in a magazine and we just started giving Big Kev a lot of crap, even though it’s not him,” said Jefferson. “It’s not him and that makes it even funnier.”

The name, Jefferson says, is inspired by Love’s recent State Farm commercial, in which he plays a prepubescent boy as part of a fictional family sitcom, “The Hoopers,” also starring DeAndre Jordan as the mom, Kevin Garnett as the grandpa, Chris Paul as the dad and Damian Lillard as the baby.

“We were messing with Kev and we ripped it out [from the magazine] and we started doing stuff with it,” Jefferson explained.

Since discovering Lil Kev, Jefferson has given the ad a starring role on his Snapchat account, with vignettes such as this…

Lil Kev now has his own (verified!) Instagram account, where he makes guest appearances with other Cavs players…

Is this the next Espn 3- man broadcast crew?

A photo posted by Lil Kev (@officiallilkev) on

And now it appears there may be a clothing line in the works? Last night Cavs guard J.R. Smith posted a photo of him getting up some late night shots at the Cavs’ practice facility while wearing a Lil Kev t-shirt.

#nightcap with @thereal94feetofgame thanks to my guy @officiallilkev for the shirt

A photo posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

He may only be a magazine ad, but Lil Kev seems to be playing an important role for the Cavs right now…

#teamchemistry is key to a great lockeroom.

A photo posted by Lil Kev (@officiallilkev) on

A night at the NBA Draft Lottery with Isaiah Thomas

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The NBA Draft Lottery was held last night here in New York City, and it was an event where people tried to have some sort of influence over something that is beyond influencing. And while several teams were represented on the dais by front office members or ownership, a few teams sent players to wear their colors. Devin Booker was there for Phoenix, for example, just as Willie Cauley-Stein repped for the Kings. The Celtics sent All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, and Celtics.com put together an all-access look at Thomas’s evening…

Stephen Curry’s range is unbelievable

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We know Steph Curry can make shots from deep — he won the three-point contest at All-Star Weekend and routinely makes shots from deep behind the arc. But yesterday, before Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, during his warmups, Curry went out to midcourt and showed just how easily he can knock down shots from the halfcourt logo…

The Spurs celebrate their season with a costume party

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Even though they won 67 games in the regular season, the San Antonio Spurs’ season ended before they wanted it to end, with a second round loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. But that doesn’t mean they hung their heads in shame. According to the Instagram account of Boris Diaw, the Spurs held a costume party to say goodbye to what was a truly special season. Pretty good King Tut costume, Manu Ginobili

Still celebrating an historical season with the team. It was a great ride!!! #sundayfunday #madmonday

A photo posted by Borisdiaw (@diawboris) on

Who is the Dunk King?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The NBA Dunk Contest is a contest that helps us crown the best dunker in the NBA.

But being the best dunker in the NBA doesn’t necessarily mean that person is the best dunker in the world. There are plenty of people out there who are amazing dunkers, but maybe not good enough at basketball to play in the NBA. And tonight a new show debuts to give those guys some shine.

Tonight on TNT, following Game 1 of the Western Conference finals (9:00 pm ET, TNT), you can catch the debut episode of the new series, The Dunk King. There are four episodes, debuting after the first four games of the Conference Finals. Who’s dunking? You can check out some of the contestants here, but let me set my man Guy Dupuy as an early favorite — I actually saw him win a dunk contest in person in Paris a few years ago, and the kid can fly.

Then again, he’s going up against people who can do this…

dunk7

So who is the Dunk King? I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

What it’s like to go through a Draft combine workout

By Jeff Case

Few (if any) of us know what it’s like to be an NBA Draft prospect and go through the various tests and trials that it takes to go from talented unknown to NBA player.

With the NBA Draft Combine in full swing, the Boston Celtics are one of many teams eyeing prospects (particularly because they have a solid shot at a top-three pick come June).  So what is it like for a prospect to go through the rigors of combine and team drills? Celtics.com beat writer Marc D’Amico got a shot at it and gives a look at just how grueling it can be …