ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’ve ever thought to yourself, Hey, I wonder which members of the Utah Jazz are the best- and worst-dressed players on the team, then have we got a video for you. The Jazz dropped two videos exploring these very questions, and it turns out that there is a consensus when it comes to best-dressed, and then when it comes to the worst-dressed players, there are some clear opinions, particularly from Derrick Favors and Dante Exum.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I have a two-year-old son, and he wakes up pretty much every morning before I am used to waking up. So there are plenty of mornings when we get up and stumble into the other room, and I get him some milk and some breakfast and we sit and watch “Sesame Street.” And while “Sesame Street” is great for kids, it’s also interesting for adults, with all sorts of random celebrities popping up from day to day. Recently, Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol showed up on The Street, not his first trip, where he taught Abby Cadabby about wordplay and homonyms. Now we just need an NBA presence on Super Grover 2.0…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Memphis Grizzlies defensive stopper Tony Allen also keeps a heavy hand in the community. Last night in Memphis, he hosted his annual Karaoke Night, to benefit a local charity called JIFF, Inc.
One day later, some of the highlights from the event popped up on social media…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — At a recent Cleveland Cavaliers game, one lucky fan won a contest that involved throwing chickens (rubber, presumably) at a target on the court. His prize? A dinner with Cavs guard J.R. Smith. Luckily for us, cameras were brought along to capture their dining experience. I really love this video because the time they share seems to be pretty boring and normal and low-key. But more than anything, it’s normal.
NBA players may be huge superstars, but in this video, these dudes talk about the weather, they chat about golf, they talk a bit about basketball, and of course there are also some awkward silences while they eat. In short, it’s a totally normal meal between a few people who don’t know each other very well but are trying to make the best of it.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Portland Trail Blazers have a car-shaped blimp that flies around inside the arena and presumably drops gifts (t-shirts, coupons, etc.) to the crowd. Which is fun and a blast, except when it isn’t. Like a few months ago, when the car crashed into the stands, giving fans a very, very close look at the blimp.
And if there were any fans who didn’t get a great look at the blimp then, hopefully they were at the Moda Center last night when the Blazers hosted the Warriors, because the blimp once again decided to take a seat and watch some basketball…
Just being in the game was accomplishment enough for the Bucks. Just getting the final shot was improbable enough for Khris Middleton.
But then for Milwaukee to come from 16 points down with 9:53 remaining Tuesday night and from 12 behind with five minutes left to beat the Heat 89-88? For Middleton to go from missing six of seven shots behind the arc and 12 of 16 overall to the hero with the three-pointer at the buzzer? The finish was nothing short of unreal.
Given the jerking change of direction in the game, the potential long-term implications in the standings, the unlikely star of the night and the emotional value for a team that would treasure so much as an uneventful win, it would be hard to find many bigger March moments anywhere in the league.
It had that too. Middleton was standing at the arc, a few feet left of straightaway, so he was able to have his feet set. What he wasn’t able to get was an easy look. He had to hurry to beat the clock. He had a defender charging at him, right arm extended for the block.
The only easy part — of the entire possession, actually — was the decision to shoot. With the game an instant away from ending in a Miami victory, Middleton had no choice. The result was near-perfect. The ball barely touched back rim before going down without a fight.
It took Milwaukee outscoring Miami 21-9 in the fourth quarter just to get the Bucks within 88-86 with a final chance off a jump ball with 9.8 seconds remaining at the free-throw line close to the basket where the Heat were defending. It had taken a lot of uphill climbing just to get in position to complete the comeback. And then it took more.
Jerryd Bayless, a a 6-3 guard, won the tip against 6-10 Michael Beasley, knocking the ball backward to Middleton. Bayless’ drove down the right side of the lane and missed a layup amid a crowd of Heat defenders with about five seconds left. Milwaukee’s Zaza Pachulia saved the ball as it was going over the baseline, twisting his body back toward the court and flinging a two-hand pass in the direction of the top of the key. Middleton controlled the ball and fired from 24 feet out with about five-tenths of a seconds to go.
The Bucks were on a six-game losing streak and staring straight at No. 7. They were sinking in the Eastern Conference standings, to where they were beginning to get a decent view of the lottery, and Miami was one of the teams putting pressure on them from behind. A lot of the good of 2014-15 was unraveling.
To say Tuesday night was an important win, then, doesn’t begin to cover it. Huge is more like it. If the shot turns out to be the launching pad to a Milwaukee recovery and the Bucks find solid footing again to reach the playoffs, it becomes their regular-season highlight.
A finish like that deserved a reaction like that. Middleton turned toward the other basket and ran into the arms of teammates who had come off the bench. The Bucks who had been near the other end rushed down to join the party. Middleton quickly disappeared under the madness of a gang tackle near one of the sidelines, at the feet of fans. Fun had broken out again in Milwaukee.
Crazy finish, tough shot, playoff implications, bedlam on the court in all the right ways — the Bucks delivered everything. It’s still only March and not the very end of the regular season, but skidding Milwaukee needed that in a big way. Four Horrys.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The long-running battle between Robin Lopez and mascots around the NBA reached some sort of a breaking point last week, when the mascots, fed up with being beaten down by Robin Lopez, struck a stinging psychological blow. As we saw then, Cavs mascot Moondog attempted to drive a wedge within the Lopez family by befriending Robin’s brother Brook. When he saw the evidence, Robin reacted angrily on social media…
And it didn’t take Lopez long to start taking out his aggression on NBA mascots. A few days later, in Orlando, after light provocation from Stuff, the Magic mascot, Lopez hit him with a modified belly-to-belly suplex…
Then, in Memphis during pregame warmups, Grizzlies mascot Griz offered Lopez an olive branch…accompanied by a “KICK ME” sign on his back.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Atlanta has long been a leader in the hip-hop world, so it makes sense that the Atlanta Hawks have teamed up with local hip-hop artists this season. After bringing in T.I. at the beginning of the season, on March 27 the Hawks will have a night hosted by 2 Chainz, the rapper from College Park, just outside Atlanta. Besides introducing a great Hawks shirt in this new video below, the new C.E.O. says he has some big plans…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the most popular recent viral videos was “Too Many Cooks,” from the folks at Adult Swim. The video was a parody of the opening credits of a sitcom, that just went on and on and on. So Caleb Saenz at the Spurs site 48 Minutes Of Hell made his own parody video featuring “Too Many Cooks” set to the faces of plenty of former Spurs. This one is called, “Too Many Pops”…