Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta Hawks’

Horry Scale: Lance lifts Hornets


VIDEO: Stephenson sinks Hawks at buzzer in 2 OTs

Maybe Kent Bazemore should have blown in Lance Stephenson‘s ear.

That tactic, innovated by Stephenson against LeBron James in last spring’s Eastern Conference finals, might have been enough to throw off Stephenson’s rhythm or aim when he launched his 33-foot desperation heave with time running out in the second overtime Friday night in Charlotte.

Then again, why do anything to wake or rile up the Hornets’ new shooting guard? Stephenson already had gone 0-for-7 from outside the arc in 2014-15 and generally was struggling offensively since joining Charlotte from Indiana as a prized, and surprising, free-agent acquisition in July.

In the end, all Bazemore could do, like the rest of the Atlanta Hawks, was watch in disappointment and extreme fatigue as Stephenson’s hoist banged off the glass and through the rim at the horn. The shot gave Charlotte a 122-119 victory and earned Stephenson a spot not just in the hearts of his new city’s fans but on the Horry Scale.

That’s right, with his game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB), Stephenson shook off a bad two weeks to gain acclaim on this blog’s tribute to one of the NBA’s all-time clutch shooters. Such moments, the lifeblood of NBA excitement whether they occur in June or October, are evaluated according to difficulty, game situation, importance and celebration. Then they get an overall grade, represented with 1-5 Robert Horry stars, in honor of the vagabond marksman who helped the Rockets (two), Lakers (three) and Spurs (two) capture seven titles in his years with them.

We reiterate, the Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a GWBB. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations … basically, the total package

DIFFICULTY

Thirty-three feet – the official distance listed in the NBA’s official gamebook afterward – ain’t easy. But there wasn’t anything outrageously athletic or instinctive required here. Stephenson passed the ball inbounds to Marvin Williams near the top of the arc, then ran to him to take the handoff. Kyle Korver, Stephenson’s man, switched off and stuck with Williams, while Bazemore – forced to scramble to the perimeter in chase of Williams after big Paul Millsap switched onto little Kemba Walker – got there a tick too late.

Stephenson, a bundle of raw skills, rose up, kicked his feet behind him and flicked his shot as if calling the bank all along. It caromed in as Bazemore’s right arm, raised to contest but too late and too far, stayed in the air as the gym erupted.

GAME SITUATION

Everybody in the joint – players, coaches, referees, fans – was nearing the end of his or her 58th minute of basketball. They all were ready to go home, with only the Hawks’ traveling party resistant to the idea of it ending right there, right then. After all, they’d had their own chance to win it with 2.7 seconds left, except that Korver got called for an illegal screen as Atlanta inbounded, flipping the script in Charlotte’s favor.

Walker had missed a chance for his own GWBB at the end of the first overtime, rushing across midcourt and firing a long 3-pointer that wasn’t close. Late in the second OT, he never got the ball to the rim, firing it into Al Horford‘s arm pit in a botched move that turned out well; it was ruled a shot-clock violation, allowing first Atlanta (Korver’s bad screen) and then Charlotte again to try for heroics. Stephenson was the one who snagged some.

IMPORTANCE

A key clash in the Southeast Division? That didn’t involve the 2010-2014 Miami Heat? Guess we’d better get used to it. Besides, Charlotte had dropped its last six home games against Atlanta and was eager to assert itself in the division, backing up its victory Wednesday over the Heat.

CELEBRATION

Never underestimate Stephenson’s knack for the grand gesture, the look-at-me grab of the spotlight. As soon as he hit his banked 3-pointer, Stephenson scowled, shrugged off the grabs and slaps of teammates and vaulted onto the scorer’s table. He beat on his chest and mouthed all sorts of adrenaline-fueled invective as the other Hornets hauled him back down to the court and mobbed him.

A bonus came from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist‘s smiling mug – with gauze shoved up both nostrils. Earlier, he had gotten whacked in the nose when he ran smack into a Horford pick. He had been bloody and angry in that moment, but he was a happy Hornet chasing after Stephenson when it ended.

GRADE

Stephenson needed this. The Hornets, who had gambled on the mercurial Pacers guard when he hit free agency without all that much clamor in the market, needed it too. Though he had averaged 10 rebounds and 5.6 assists to rank among the league leaders in both categories through his first five games, Stephenson was sputtering along at 6.6 points while shooting 12-of-45 to that point. He had scored in double figures, reaching 14, only once.

This time, Stephenson finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds, while logging 47:11 in his busiest work night since signing with Charlotte. Had his offensive troubles continued, NBA media surely would have revved up the what’s-wrong-with-Lance angles and perhaps plunged Stephenson into an even greater funk. So the timing of this, for getting him on track in what the Hornets intend to be a meaningful season, hardly could have been better. Give it four Horrys.

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Mike Scott Dressed Up Like A Turkey

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Here’s Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott dressed like a turkey.


VIDEO: Turkey Scott

Throwback Thursday: Best teams of the 1960s


VIDEO: Wilt Chamberlain became a dominant NBA force in the 1960s

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball.

Today’s Topic: Best Teams of 1960s

This week we continue our Throwback Thursday: Best Teams of Each Decade series by looking at the best teams to play in the 1960s.

Make sure to check back next week for our look at the best teams of the 1970s!

(NOTE: Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)


Gallery: TBT: Best Teams of 1960s

Which of these teams do you think would do best in today’s NBA? Leave your comments below!

NBA Musicians

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Finals are over. The draft is over. Most of the free agents have agreed to terms. Summer League is over.

And now, before the FIBA Basketball World Cup gets going in September, we have a little bit of NBA down time. Which doesn’t mean the NBA talk stops — instead, it just takes a turn toward the…strange.

For instance, last night on Twitter, somehow the hashtag #NBAmusicians started trending. What was this hashtag? Basically, people took NBA player’s names and mashed them up with band names. And it’s still going this morning!

How did all this start? That’s not important. What’s important is that it did start, and then the Twitter accounts of actual NBA teams started playing along, and next thing you know you’ve got a trending topic. Here are some of the greatest hits…

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Watching the World Cup with Dennis

By Joe Boozell

Atlanta Hawks second year player Dennis Schroder is many things – a jet-quick point guard with a killer first step, a first round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and an avid soccer fan. He also happens to be German, and the German national team won the World Cup on Sunday.

HawksTV got to tag along with Schroder for the final match against Argentina, and at around the 1:45 mark, Dennis does what any German soccer fan watching the match would do: He goes absolutely bonkers when Germany scores the winning goal.


BOLD: Dennis Schroder reacts to Germany goal

Love the enthusiasm, Dennis, but the people through the TV screen can’t actually hear you.

 

No. 13 – Champs aplenty in this class

The84Draft
The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Otis Thorpe and Hakeem Olajuwon

Otis Thorpe (left) and Hakeem Olajuwon won a title together in 1994.

Names: Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Otis Thorpe, Kevin Willis, Tony Campbell, Jerome Kersey, Rick Carlisle

Colleges: Houston (Olajuwon), North Carolina (Jordan), Providence (Thorpe), Michigan State (Willis), Ohio State (Campbell), Longwood (Kersey), Virginia (Carlisle)

Drafted in 1984: 1st overall by Houston Rockets (Olajuwon), 3rd overall by Chicago Bulls (Jordan), 9th overall by Kansas City Kings (Thorpe), 11th overall by Atlanta Hawks (Willis), 20th overall by Detroit Pistons (Campbell), 46th overall by Portland Trail Blazers (Kersey), 70th overall by Boston Celtics (Carlisle)

Draft fact: Players from the 1984 Draft combined to win 13 NBA championships. Here’s the breakdown: Michael Jordan (six championships), Hakeem Olajuwon (two), Otis Thorpe (one), Kevin Willis (one), Tony Campbell (one), Jerome Kersey (one) and Rick Carlisle (one).


VIDEO: Hakeem Olajuwon guides the Houston Rockets to the 1995 championship

We’re just 13 hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 44 – Wills outlasts his Draft mates

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Kevin Willis

Kevin Willis was the last member of the 1984 Draft class to retire.

Name: Kevin Willis

Position: Forward/Center

Vitals: 7-feet, 220 pounds

Birthday: Sept. 6, 1962

College: Michigan State

Drafted in 1984: 11th overall by Atlanta Hawks

Draft fact: Kevin Willis, the 11th player chosen in the 1984 Draft, was 44 years old when he finally retired after the 2006-07 season. Among ’84 draftees, Willis played in 1,424 games (second only to John Stockton’s 1,504) and he was the last player to retire from his Draft class.

We’re just 44 hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 53 – All-Stars aplenty in class of ’84

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Michael Jordan and John Stockton

The 1984 Draft boasted All-Stars aplenty.

Names: Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe, Kevin Willis, John Stockton

Colleges/Countries: Houston (Olajuwon), North Carolina (Jordan), Auburn (Barkley), Arkansas (Robertson), Providence (Thorpe), Michigan State (Willis), Gonzaga (Stockton)

Drafted in 1984: 1st overall by Houston Rockets (Olajuwon), 3rd overall by Chicago Bulls (Jordan), 5th overall by Philadelphia 76ers (Barkley), 7th overall by San Antonio Spurs (Robertson), 9th overall by Kansas City Kings (Thorpe), 11th overall by Atlanta Hawks (Willis), 16th overall by Utah Jazz (Stockton)

Draft fact: The 1984 Draft boasted 53 All-Star selections, which were earned by seven players. Here’s the breakdown: Jordan (14 All-Star Games), Olajuwon (12), Barkley (11), Stockton (10), Robertson (4), Thorpe (1), Willis (1)


VIDEO: Relive Charles Barkley’s top 5 plays from the All-Star Game

We’re just 53 hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 59 – Willis fills up the basket

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Kevin Willis

Kevin Willis made 7,000-plus FGs in his career.

Name: Kevin Willis

Position: Forward/Center

Vitals: 7-feet, 220 pounds

Birthday: Sept. 6, 1962

College: Michigan State

Drafted in 1984: 11th overall by Atlanta Hawks

Draft fact: Kevin Willis, who was chosen 11th in the 1984 Draft, connected on 7,095 fields goals. That number is the 59th most made field goals in NBA history.

We’re just 59 hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 80 — Willis a top-100 NBA scorer

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of The84Drafton NBA TV.

Name: Kevin Willis

Kevin Willis

Kevin Willis was a top-notch scorer in Atlanta.

Position: Forward/Center

Vitals: 7-feet, 220 pounds

Birthday: Sept. 6, 1962

College: Michigan State

Drafted in 1984: 11th overall by Atlanta Hawks

Draft fact: Kevin Willis, the 11th player taken in the 1984 Draft, scored 17,523 points … which ranks him 80th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.


VIDEO: Take a look back at Kevin Willis’ career with the Atlanta Hawks

We’re just 80 hours away from The84Draft on NBA TV! Watch NBA TV for the complete story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.