ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — On the surface, this seems like a simple enough game: Second and third graders from a Chicago elementary school drew pictures of Chicago Bulls players. Then, the actual Chicago Bulls players looked at the pictures and tried to guess which player was featured in the drawing. Again, simple idea, although it’s safe to say the players struggled the right identifications.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night Jamal Crawford got hot. It wasn’t quite Klay Thompson-level hot, but Crawford scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Clippers to a 102-98 win over the Denver Nuggets. And after the game, when it was time to interview Crawford, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan decided to show his appreciation in song…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol grew up between Barcelona and Memphis, where his older brother Pau was playing basketball. And while Marc also gravitated toward basketball, during last night’s Memphis/Orlando game, Marc briefly switched from NBA to La Liga with a few header attempts. He missed, but in many ways, he definitely made it.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — On Tuesday night, the Golden State Warriors are giving away 10,000 bobblehead dolls in honor of the late Manute Bol, the 7-7 center who had two different stints with the Warriors. Bobblehead dolls are a frequent giveaway at games, some better than others. But have you ever wondered how a bobblehead is made? The Warriors sent a camera crew to China to go behind the scenes of how the Manute bobblehead was made…
Right now, we don’t know what the future holds for Kobe Bryant. Yes he’s in his mid-30’s, and sure he’s had a couple of injuries the last few years, but none of this has slowed his effectiveness on the floor. That is, when he’s on the floor. Last week it was announced that Kobe had injured his shoulder, and in this video from The Player’s Tribune, we see Kobe receive the diagnosis from his doctor that the muscle has pulled off the bone.
Kobe’s take? “OK.” As Kobe writes in the video’s description, “This is the moment I accept the most challenging times will always be behind me AND in front of me.”
The treatment for Bryant’s shoulder has yet to be determined, but if anything, this video suggests that Kobe will attack whatever treatment is decided upon with the same determination and pragmatism he shows in the video.
In case you’ve missed it, the Hawks have been nothing to play with as the Pacmen have racked up 16 straight wins and counting.
They’ve been getting the job done with everything from top-notch ball movement to lock-down defense to lights-out shooting.
And then Kyle Korver happened.
No, not from downtown like we’ve come to expect from the sharpshooting deep threat. Instead, Korver took to the air and stole the show with a rare jam.
But wait! There’s more!
Who knows if Korver popped in Jay-Z’s “Encore” before the Hawks’ Jan. 23 game against the Thunder. But as if his comfort level with the sky was on the rise, he served up a second helping of Korver Slam for good measure. And this time he threw it down with two hands, no less.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Recently we caught up with Detroit’s Andre Drummond, who was caught on camera getting his groove on. Yesterday, Charlotte’s Lance Stephenson also got funky, although Lance had an idea of what was going on…
Someone, P.J. Tucker is a good place to start, in that Phoenix Suns locker room has some explaining to do. Did they not read the scouting report? Don’t they know how much James Harden loves to play basketball in the Phoenix area? The Southern California native did paint the town (well, Tempe) for two years as an Arizona State Sun Devil.
So it’s only fitting that his first buzzer-beater (at least in the NBA) came on somewhat familiar turf. And after the way the Golden State Warriors pushed them around in their previous game, Harden’s Houston Rockets couldn’t afford another humbling defeat. Giving the NBA’s leading scorer 16 seconds to work is pretty unfair, if you ask me. That’s more than enough time for Harden to figure out how to take advantage of any elite defender and find a good shot.
If anyone was going to rescue the Rockets in the state of Arizona with a shot at the buzzer … someone find that darn scouting report.
Kevin McHale didn’t waste any time on the white board in the huddle. This was Clutch Bucket 101. “Give the ball to James and everyone else get the heck out of the way.” Without an immediate double-team of Harden that would have forced him to give the ball and make anyone but the best scorer in the league this season beat you, the Suns were baked the moment the ball was thrown in bounds. Again, Clutch Bucket 101!
The Rockets played the final three quarters without Dwight Howard, who left early with a sprained ankle. So that meant Harden spent his entire night going bananas on the Suns. He finished with 33 points, 10 assists and six rebounds and was his usual wicked self from the free-throw line (14-for-17). And somehow the Rockets still needed his heroics to outlast the Suns after leading by 16 points midway through the fourth quarter. The Suns are 24-2 this season when leading at halftime, so the final outcome should not have been in any doubt.
The Rockets need to do everything they can to keep pace with the other teams at the top of the Western Conference standings, so this was a huge game the same way every game they play the remainder of the regular season will be for a team jockeying for playoff position. The Suns are trying to hold off the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder for that eighth and final playoff slot in the West, making each and every lost opportunity a potential dagger down the road.
Harden’s hands down, head-to-the-sky individual celebration was done the right way. Act like you’ve been there before (even if, technically, you have not during your NBA career). The Rockets bench showed their leader the appropriate love, but would rather it not be necessary the next time they are up 16 midway through the fourth quarter.
I’m an old school enthusiast in just about every way imaginable. That’s why the iso-NBA leading scorer routine worked for me. Someone better read the scouting report next time, though. We’ll give it three Horrys.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Death, taxes and a surly Spurs coach Gregg Popovich during a sideline interview are a few of life’s certainties. So what happened last night during the Spurs/Bulls game when Rachel Nichols had some questions for Pop? He…answered them pleasantly with full sentences!? Who are you and what have you done with Pop?!
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In case you somehow missed last night’s announcement, the starters for the 2015 All-Star Game were announced, and the leading overall vote-getter was Golden State’s Stephen Curry. As I wrote in the voting recap, this season Curry has been the best player on the league’s best team. And as you can see from the Instagram video Curry posted last night, he was grateful for every vote…