Posts Tagged ‘Al Horford’

Atlanta Hawks Players Show Off English Accents

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As the NBA has worked to expand its global reach, more and more games have been played in locations around the world. Next week the NBA returns to England, as the Hawks and Nets will play a regular season game in London’s O2 Arena. To get into the international spirit of things, the Hawks recorded a video where several players try to speak with an English accent. The key word there is “try”…


VIDEO: Atlanta Hawks English Accents

NBA Behind The Scenes: Highlight School

ATLANTA, GA — I stepped into the darkened soundproof booth and, with a palpable feeling of dread, pulled the door closed behind me. As it clicked shut, I surveyed my surroundings: one small light casting a dim glow in the otherwise black room; a music stand to place my notes; a flatscreen monitor embedded in the wall; a microphone and headphones, silently taunting me.

It was the day after Christmas, but there was nothing festive about this. I pulled the headphones over my ears and shuffled my notes on the stand in front of me. I could hear my own panicked breathing through the headphones, could hear my shirt and sweater ruffle with the slightest move of my arm.

Just as I began to run my eyes over the shot sheets in front of me for a final time, the voice of NBA.com associate producer Charles Staples crackled through the headphones.

“OK,” Charles said, “if you’re comfortable we can give this a go.”

“Yeah, I’m…I mean, I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” I said, resigning myself to this fate.

“Great. So you’ll hear a series of beeps in the headphones to count you down, and then you’re on.”

For better or worse, I thought.

You click an icon, you watch a fully illustrative highlight from pretty much any game in any league — that is how streamlined and simple highlight delivery has become these days. It wasn’t that long ago that the only highlights available to the sporting public were once a day during the last five minutes of local news. The arrival of ESPN made highlights more frequent, and then the advent of the internet has made highlights basically omnipresent.

But how do those highlights come about? I wanted to find out. On the night of December 26, 2013, I arrived at Turner Studios a little before 7:00 P.M., where Gerald Smith, NBA.com’s Senior Multimedia Producer, met me. Even though I work for NBA Digital, and in turn work for Turner Sports, I work out of New York City, so I don’t know the geography of the massive Turner compound in Atlanta. Gerald and I walked about eight miles from the visitor’s entrance to the Turner Sports studios, a huge building which backs up against 10th Street in Midtown Atlanta. This is effectively the NBA.com highlight factory, where entire games are logged, recorded, edited, voiced over and posted online for the world to consume.

As we walked, Gerald told me that I’d be recording the highlight for the Hawks/Cavaliers game. As a native Atlantan, I’ve followed the Hawks my entire life, so I felt pretty comfortable with doing a Hawks highlight — in theory, at least.

Once we reached the studios, we went to the Feeds area, where about a dozen people were monitoring and logging all the games happening on a plethora of screens. Once there, we met up with my main man Jared Greenberg. Jared is one of the anchors on NBA TV, and part of a rotation of guys (along with Beau Estes and Matt D’Agostino) who take turns staying late at the studio to record voiceovers on highlights.

We parked at a deserted desk to watch the Hawks/Cavs game, and of course it turned out to be one of the most exciting games of the year. We looked on in surprise as regulation stretched into overtime, and then overtime went into double-overtime. I used the bonus time to flip through some of the game previews on NBA.com and on the team websites, finding stats that might be relevant to drop into the highlight. (For instance, the Hawks had lost five consecutive road games coming in to this one.) When Al Horford injured his chest area and left the game, Jared and I quickly looked up when his previous chest injury had occurred ( and which side it had been on to make sure we had everything correct.

During a break, Gerald and I went into the Feeds room. In a cubicle off to the side, I was introduced to Matt Gaynes, the editor who had been assigned to edit the highlight of the Hawks/Cavs game. The game was midway through the third quarter at the time, and Matt said the highlight he was cutting was at that moment up to date with the game. So as soon as the game ended, we would just need to match a voiceover to the video and we’d be good to go.

As the game stretched on, with each crazy make and crucial miss, I wondered how I should describe that particular play. The major part of my problem was that I had no signature style or experience to fall back on. When I have to write a sentence, there are certain words and phrases I like to use and am comfortable grabbing out of my brain on short notice. But talking over a highlight is a completely different animal, an animal I was rather uncomfortable wrestling with. If anything, I felt like it must feel to be a stand-up comedian who climbs onto the stage in front of a rowdy crowd and has no material. Even worse, I knew I had no material. It wasn’t that I don’t know basketball, or the Hawks or the Cavaliers, or even a little bit about the art of broadcasting, but I’m pretty sure that for most people, their very first try voicing a highlight probably doesn’t get posted on a website that averages tens of millions of video streams each week.

As the buzzer sounded to end the second overtime, Hawks guard Jeff Teague fired up a long jumper that caromed off nearly every portion of the rim before finally dropping through as the buzzer howled. Game over. Hawks win, 127-125 in double OT.

Maybe five minutes later, someone came by and handed Jared and me copies of the shot sheet. This is a piece of paper that lists, in order, every clip that made it into the final highlight, with the accompanying score and game time remaining for each clip. This would be the road map Jared and I would use, albeit it seemed to be a decidedly text-heavy map for a primarily visual journey. The first shot on the sheet was a Jeff Teague runner at the end of regulation. This meant that all the work Matt had done when I met him earlier had been left on the cutting room floor in order to make room for all the overtime exploits and preserve this as a roughly two-minute clip.

Jared graciously sat with me and walked me through the shot sheet, helping me figure out at which point we should note, for instance, that Jeff Teague had finished with a career high, or when to point out that Kyrie Irving was trying to avenge his only scoreless pro appearance. As a writer, I tried to put some thought into crafting an interesting lead to the highlight, and decided to make some sort of reference to it being the day after Christmas and this game being a gift. I also knew that with the Hawks win, I wanted to throw an “#ATLshawty” into the highlight, referencing the Twitter hashtag I frequently use whenever Atlanta teams notch a victory.

Perhaps five minutes after we’d been given the shot sheet, Jared strolled to the voiceover booth and disappeared inside. I stood at Charles’s desk and listened to Jared record his take, the take NBA.com users would hear. Jared did it without having actually seen the highlight, but he managed to make it work smoothly, and even got the catchphrase he likes to use (“You betcha!”) in there. It was a nice mix of stats, descriptions and fun. Just seconds after Jared stepped out of the booth, the video you see below was live on NBA.com…


VIDEO: Hawks at Cavs Real Highlights

As I watched Jared’s take go down flawlessly, my own trepidation increased in equal measure. When he finished and I walked toward the booth, the overwhelming feeling I had was one of fear, mainly because I knew if I stopped talking while on the mic, there would just be dead air in the background. And while there is an occasional time and place for silence on a sports broadcast — maybe on a live telecast after a game-winner, for instance — a fast and furious highlight did not feel like that place. I also realized a moment like that should probably happen intentionally, not as a result of the announcer’s inexperience.

Soon enough I was in the room, alone with my insecurities. The series of beeps I’d been warned about began counting down the time until the highlight started. I said later that it felt like the beeps were counting down until the firing squad went to work, and in a way this was correct: When the beeps ended, the video came at me, and like it or not I had to start talking. So I did.

You could argue that I have a voice for print, meaning I don’t have the same golden pipes many of the more iconic broadcasters of all-time possess. This would likely be a winning argument on your part. But the way I chose look at it, there’s a thin, fragile line between being an anchorman and Anchorman. And I am in no danger of getting anywhere near that line.

In the end, we recorded two takes, the second nominally better than the first mostly due to trial and error and error and error. It didn’t take me long to figure out that paying attention to the highlight was more important than keeping my eyes glued to the stat sheet. And talking to fill the dead air wasn’t a problem as long as I could talk about what was happening on the screen in front of me. But at this point I felt like I was running wind sprints with a twenty-pound weight tied to my leg. I was doing my best, but I knew as I was doing it that my best was just not good enough. Doing highlights was infinitely harder than it seemed.

Being my own worst critic is a trait that is both annoying and, occasionally, helpful, as it drives me to give my best and strive to meet my own high expectations. Which in some ways made recording the voiceover pretty frustrating: Could I do better? Yes. Would I do much better on this evening? No, that would only come with at least a few weeks of reps. On this evening, at least, it was what it was. The entire experience will definitely go down as a highlight of my professional career. You just might not want me to be the one recording the voiceover on it.

You can watch the video below to see what I went through that evening, and stay tuned to the end for my version of the highlight…


VIDEO: Lang Goes To Highlight School

Horry Scale: Teague Time


VIDEO: Teague’s Winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Perhaps you thought you were done unwrapping presents, but tonight in Cleveland, the Hawks and Cavs had one last gift for you. It was one of the most entertaining games of the season, so of course it had to end (not in regulation, not in overtime, but in double overtime) with a game-winning buzzer-beater from Hawks guard Jeff Teague.

Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain: What is the Horry Scale? For those who are new around these parts, the Horry Scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.

With the rules in place, tonight we look to the shores of Lake Erie, to Cleveland, where Jeff Teague could not be stopped…not even by Uncle Drew.

DIFFICULTY
To be fair, it wasn’t the toughest shot in the world — Teague drove left and pulled up for the right-handed jumper, kind of like Hawks guard Mike Bibby used to do. The simple genius in this play was the Hawks running Paul Millsap at Teague with about 6 seconds left to ostensibly set a screen. Millsap got to Teague and set what was basically a token screen, and the Cavs switched the pick. Now, we’ve talked about switching picks here previously — pretty much every NBA team switches picks in the final seconds because the last thing you want is someone who is totally unguarded. You might end up with a mismatch, but at least you’ve got someone defending everyone. On this play, that meant the Cavs went from having Kyrie Irving on Teague to having the 6-foot-9 Tristan Thompson guarding Teague. (Kyrie, by the way, was equally huge tonight, finishing with 40 points and 9 assists). This is what is known as a mismatch, and it only took Teague a few dribbles to shake Thompson and clear room for the last-second shot.

GAME SITUATION
It is in this category that this shot really soars. To begin with, Teague missed a floater with seconds left in regulation that would have broken the tie at 95. Not long into the first overtime, Hawks All-Star center Al Horford had an injury to what appeared to be his right shoulder/chest that took him out of the game, and forced the Hawks to use a variety of makeshift lineups down the stretch. With about 7 seconds left in OT and the Hawks down three, Teague drained a long three-pointer to tie the game at 108. Then with 2.4 seconds left in overtime, the Hawks had a shot at a GWBB from the baseline that Teague couldn’t connect on, sending the game into double OT. In the second OT, Teague had a huge drive-and-one to give the Hawks a 125-123 lead, and then with the game level at 125, Teague ended it. Basically, the situation couldn’t have been much more dramatic. And Teague put the bow on top.

CELEBRATION
I’m going to lump the ball going through the rim as part of the celebration, because it doesn’t really fit anywhere else (it’s not “difficulty,” it’s just lucky) and that was a huge part of what made this such a great shot. The ball hit the rim five times, I believe, and it may have even kissed the glass somwhere in there, all while the buzzer was sounding in the background and you wondered, “It’s not going to…no way…that can’t…ohmygoshhemadeit!” And then after the ball drops, you see Teague laying flat on the ground celebrating — not only the GWBB but also a career-high 34 points — with Kyle Korver pounding on his chest. This was the first prone Horry Scale celebration of the season, I believe.

GRADE
For reasons that will become evident in the next week or so, I watched this game intently from the Turner Studios in Atlanta, and the deeper the game went, the more sure I was that we’d have a GWBB. It was an exciting, close game, and it had an equally exciting finish. So for all the reasons detailed above, I’m giving this Four Horrys. I thought seriously about giving this a Five just because it was such a great game, but I felt the actual shot could have had a bit of a higher degree of difficulty.

horry-star horry-star horry-star horry-star

What say you? How many Horrys would you give Jeff Teague’s GWBB?

The All Ball Posterized Poll (Vol. 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’re into the NBA’s most devastating dunks, we’ve got you covered over at the new-and-improved Dunk HQ. But because we’re the All Ball blog and we like to look at the NBA from non-traditional angles, we will focus on the flip side of the NBA’s best dunks: What we want to know is, who got got?

So welcome to Volume Two of The All Ball Posterized Poll. We will check in from time to time and examine the worst of the best, and use a highly scientific polling method to determine which NBA player got dunked on (a.k.a. posterized) the most egregiously. And at the end of the season all of our winners will battle it out to determine who it is that most belongs on a poster.

The winner of Volume One was New Orleans’ Jeff Withey, who was placed on a poster by Lakers’ wingman Xavier Henry, his college teammate. (You can see the offending dunk at this post.) Voting at Volume One is now officially closed.

But can anyone top Withey? We have four new nominees. We checked in with NBA.com’s own slam dunk specialist, LeMont Calloway, for his informed perspective on the matter. “What I’ll say most about these defenders is that at least they’re trying to show help-side D,” LeMont notes. “There’s a defender or two around the league who wouldn’t even dare, let alone probably couldn’t even make the proper rotation. (Calling you out Boozer!) But, it’s like Bill Walton used to say: What are big men doing trying to take charges anyway?”

1. Chris Bosh (as nominated by Josh Smith)
LeMont’s Take: “It’s got to be fun for Brandon Jennings to play with several front-line bangers on his team. He’s dropped a few passes behind to his big men on fast breaks, and this time it’s J-Smoove’s turn to finish it off.”


VIDEO: Josh Dunks On Bosh

2. Al Horford and Paul Millsap (as nominated by Victor Oladipo)
LeMont’s take: “Any dunk that can get this kind of response out of announcer Dominique Wilkins, one of the godfathers of the dunk, has to be something special. On his visit to the Hawks, I guess Vic wanted to pay tribute to Atlanta rapper Future. Two at the same time indeed.”


VIDEO: Oladipo Dunks On Hawks

3. Carlos Boozer (as nominated by Rodney Stuckey)
LeMont’s Take: “Booz, you brought this one on yourself. One more of these and maybe he’ll consider playing actual NBA-caliber defense.”


VIDEO: Stuckey Dunks On Boozer

4. Darren Collison (as nominated by Ben McLemore)
LeMont’s Take: “This is my pick for the new bunch. You’ve got Big Ben flying with authority and a competent attempt to make a defensive play. Just not enough lift for Collison. The rook’s making me a fan, that’s for sure.”


VIDEO: McLemore Dunks On Collison

These are your nominees for Volume Two. Vote for the winner below…

THE POSTERIZED POLL

Horry Scale: All Al


VIDEO: Horford’s Game Winner
-
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s a good thing we put the Horry Scale on wheels a few months ago, because we’ve now had to break it out two weekends in a row. Tonight, Al Horford answered his former Hawks teammate Joe Johnson’s overtime game-winner from a few weeks back with an overtime GWBB of his own.

Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain: What is the Horry Scale? For those who are new around these parts, the Horry Scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.

With the rules in place, Today we turn our tired eyes to my dear departed hometown, the ATL shawty, and let’s check out tonight’s game-winner from Al Horford…

DIFFICULTY
I think this was supposed to be a play for Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who ran off three screens on the wing but couldn’t find room to get the ball. (A Hawks source told me they hadn’t seen the Hawks use that set all season.) With Korver covered, Horford cut toward the basket, and Hawks big man Pero Antic lobbed it high and far. Horford made a terrific play creating space by keeping Washington’s Trevor Booker an arm’s length away as he drifted back, like a wide receiver making space to catch a pass. Once he made the catch, the shot itself wasn’t all that difficult — the kind of jumper Horford hits with regularity. As a rookie, Horford was consistently left open for shots like this because he wasn’t nearly as good a shooter as he’s developed into. These days Horford is essentially money out to 17 feet — as long as he has room to get the shot off — banging in those flat-footed jumpers.

GAME SITUATION
The Hawks led throughout the second half and were up by 15 in the fourth before finding themselves down two with seconds to play in regulation. Horford made two free throws with 5.5. seconds remaining in order to tie the game and prep it for overtime. When Horford hit the game-winner, the score was tied at 99 and the clock racing to zero. But the 1.8 second left when Horford made the catch gave him plenty of time to get the shot off, and just a short enough time frame to not allow the Wizards a touch once the ball went through the net. (Which also required me to write this post at 1:13 AM. Thanks Al!)

CELEBRATION
The more Horry Scale posts I’ve penned, the more GWBB I’ve examined, the more I’ve realized that when it comes to celebration, it’s not always only about the players celebrating. Yes, the Hawks players are pumped up and they respond to Horford’s shot with the requisite jumping around, but what elevates the celebration — any celebration, really — is the participation of those uninvolved with the actual game. In this case, I loved seeing Harry the Hawk sprinting down the court to get involved, and in a few camera angles you see several fans along the sideline leaping up and down.

GRADE
The more I think about these GWBB, I’m not sure how I would ever give a game-winning shot a one or two rating. These are big moments, big shots, and I don’t feel like we can rate anyone’s big shot as less than average. That said, I’m going with three on this shot. It wasn’t much of a shot from a technical standpoint, but the celebration helps, as does the game being in overtime. So I say three.

horry-starhorry-starhorry-star

What say you? How many Horrys would you give Al Horford’s game-winning buzzer beater?

Three for all: Charlotte Bobcats

by Micah Hart

As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.

With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Charlotte Bobcats, who played three straight from Jan 12-14.

Let’s be honest – the Bobcats are among the worst teams in the NBA. We’d probably expect them to lose three straight games at any point on the schedule, whether those games were six days apart or back-to-back-to-back. Still, they went through all the trouble of showing up at the arenas at the scheduled times, so we may as well take a look at how they did.

Game 1: Hawks 111, Bobcats 81 - One might think the Bobcats would have a chance in the Hawks’ first game after losing Al Horford for the season, but one would be incorrect. Oh one — always making mistaken assumptions. -2 points

Game 2: Pistons 98, Bobcats 81 - Hey at least the Hawks game was on the road. How to explain letting the Pistons — 2-9 coming into the game — win by 17 on Charlotte’s home court? I have an explanation, but the Bobcats aren’t going to like it. -1 point

Game 3: Bobcats 112, Warriors 100 - Just when you think we’re headed for the first shutout, the Bobcats summon their strength and top the Warriors by a dozen to salvage a win. Rookie Kemba Walker justified his first professional start with a career-high 23 points, so expect to see him in the first five more often going forward. 6 points (5 for win, 1 for 10+ margin)

The Bobcats are lucky (lucky I say!) my arbitrary scoring system doesn’t penalize for double-digit losses, or any losses to the Pistons for that matter. Teams are now 8-3 in the third games of the three-for-all, and the Bobcats are in the clubhouse with 3 total points.

Up next: The L.A. Clippers and Orlando Magic both play three straight Jan 16-18.

Three for all Scoreboard:
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets (6 points)
L.A. Lakers (3 points)
Charlotte Bobcats (3 points)
Sacramento Kings (2 points)
Minnesota Timberwolves (2 points)
Toronto Raptors (1 point)

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Bragging Rights Bracket: No. 2 Florida vs. No. 3 Georgia Tech



by Micah Hart

For the complete Bragging Rights rules and to vote for other matchups, click here. In the last matchup of the Sweet 16, its the SEC vs. the ACC as the Florida Gators take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

VS

Florida Gators

Starters (all stats per 48 minutes):

David Lee, Warriors: 27.1 points, 14.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.5 blocks, 1.0 steals
Matt Bonner, Spurs: 27.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.7 steals
Al Horford, Hawks: 20.8 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.6 blocks, 1.6 steals
Mike Miller, Heat: 20.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.3 steals
Joakim Noah, Bulls: 21.8 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.2 steals

Missed the cut: Corey Brewer, Mavericks; Jason Williams, Grizzlies; Udonis Haslem, Heat (injured); Marreese Speights, Sixers

Team synopsis: Seems like a lot of these teams are heavy on the big men and short on guards, and it’s not really any different with the Gators. However, despite their size, there’s actually some perimeter firepower here with Bonner, Miller, and even Horford, who has one of the most consistent mid-range jumpers in the NBA (and has started hoisting a three-pointer here and there). Between Lee, Horford, and Noah, it’s hard to imagine many rebounds getting away.

(more…)

Introducing the Bragging Rights Bracket

by Micah Hart

Here’s a popular conversation around this time of year:

Sports Fan A: Oh man, imagine how good School A would be if Player X had just stayed one more year. They might have won the NCAA Tournament!

Sports Fan B: Tell me about it. And look how good School B could have been this year. Player Y and Player Z would both be seniors!

If you watched the two amazing basketball documentaries last weekend — ESPN’s “Fab Five” and HBO’s “Runnin’ Rebels” — you know what I’m talking about.

Nowadays, Chris Webber would never have called his infamous timeout in the NCAA title game because he’d almost certainly have left after his freshman year — as would have Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard. Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon — all of whom were first-round picks in 1991 — returned to UNLV after winning the 1990 national championship. The only guys who have done that recently were Florida’s ’04s of Corey Brewer, Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Taurean Green — and even then, everyone knew they were the exception.

While we’ll never know if Syracuse could have repeated as national champs in 2004 had Carmelo Anthony stayed, or what kind of ridiculous stats Kevin Durant might have put up had he stayed four years at Texas, we do know they became stars in the NBA.

Which leads us to a new series we will be running on All Ball over the course of the next few weeks:

Bragging Rights: The Ultimate Battle for School Pride

The premise is simple:

We want to know which school has the best NBA players. Over the next few weeks, we will pit every school with at least five players currently on active NBA rosters against each other in a hypothetical, March Madness-style, single-elimination bracket.

We’ve seeded the teams (see below), and we’ll roll out a few games each week. You vote for the winners.

We’ll start this afternoon with Stanford vs. LSU.

Why spend your time wondering how good your favorite college team could have been when your favorite players are still in action today? Once a Dukie, always a Dukie, right?

(more…)

Stephen Jackson, how do you rate on the Horry Scale?

by Micah Hart

So far this season, it seems like GWBBs come in fits and starts. There won’t be one for weeks at a time, then there will be two or three in a matter of days. Thursday night it was Arron Afflalo’s turn in the spotlight. Saturday night, it was Stephen Jackson who added his name to the growing list of players who are finding themselves Horry Scale worthy this season.

Once again, the Horry scale examines a shot  in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.

How did Cap’n Jack do? Let’s take a look:

Difficulty

Man — that was a tough shot. With the Hawks’ Maurice Evans draped all over him and Al Horford closing in as well, Jackson takes one dribble to his right and hits the fadeaway from just inside the three-point line. Jackson had plenty of time to set up what he wanted to do, and chose arguably the most difficult option short of bouncing it off of Evans’ head, but kudos to the man for sticking it.

Game Situation

The Hawks and Bobcats were tied at 86-86 before Jackson’s buzzer-beater, so there was no penalty for a miss.

Importance

Charlotte is in a battle for their playoff lives. The Pacers and Sixers, who currently occupy the 7th and 8th seeds in the East, are both playing arguably their best basketball of the season. If the Bobcats somehow pass one of those teams to make the postseason, they’ll certainly look back on a game where they overcame a 22-point deficit on the road as one of the big victories that paved the way. As an added bonus, the win snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Hawks, and erased the stain of a home loss to the Nets the previous night. All in all, a pretty important win.

Celebration

You’re never going to see a huge celebration on the road (though Atlanta isn’t necessarily known as a hostile environment), but the Bobcats players are certainly pleased with this outcome. However, I’m going to penalize them half-an-Horry for Eduardo Najera jumping up on the scorer’s table. Eddie, you didn’t make the shot. Table jumping is reserved for the hero, not the sidekick.

Grade

3 Horrys. A high-degree of difficulty play, but the tie-game situation and the Najera penalty means this one can’t go above three.

What do you think?

More Horry Scale >>

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Last night in an … MVP vote

by Micah Hart

LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose – blah blah blah. For me, the MVP debate is finished after last night, and the man whose name should be on the trophy is Atlanta’s Al Horford.

Horford has now missed four games for Atlanta this season. Yes, the Hawks are 2-2 in those games. But the two wins were over Washington and Charlotte, which doesn’t move the needle much. The two losses, on the other hand, were to New Orleans and rejuvenated Philadelphia, and the Hawks lost those games by — let me make sure I have this right — a bajillion points. At home no less.

I can’t think of a single other NBA team that performs as poorly sans one player as the Hawks without Horford.

/checks standings, sees Cleveland

Oh. Right. Well, maybe a second-place vote for Horford then.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.