ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just before halftime during last night’s Bucks/Clippers game in Los Angeles, a loose ball bounced over to the front row along the sideline. When Clippers forward Blake Griffin came over to collect the ball, the lucky fan who ended up holding the rock decided she’d rather take a picture than give Blake the ball. Hey, the picture will last longer than the memory.
When most of us think of NBA Jam of the 1990s on the old Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo, we think of the high-flying dunks, the trademark catch-phrases (“Boom shalakalaka! He’s heating up! He’s on fire!). For me, that game was all about getting on fire and seeing how far away from the hoop you could get before you’d go up for a monster jam.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I have asked NBA players if they hear the music that’s playing over the P.A. system when they’re on the court in the middle of a play. We hear it when we’re in the stands, of course, but almost to a man, players have told me that they don’t notice the music in the moment — they are too immersed in playing the game to realize what song is blasting through the speakers. But when players are sitting on the bench? OK, then they seem to not only notice stuff on the scoreboard and various mascot shenanigans, but then, at least as Blake Griffin shows us on this video, then that they have time to sing along to the music… -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s late here on the East Coast, but I started watching the Nuggets/Clippers game in the second half and had this vague idea that maybe, just maybe, this thing could come down to a game-winning buzzer-beater. And that’s why we’re here, right? But no, that probably wasn’t going to happen. Still, I kept watching, and kept watching…and then Randy Foye happened.
Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain why we’re here: 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.
OK, so you understand? For your edification, this is the thirteenth GWBB this season, an incredible pace. Can we keep it up? We’re gonna try. In the meantime, let’s break this shot down…
It was a difficult shot, but that was almost completely of the Nuggets’ making. Down 2 points, with just over six seconds to play, the Nuggets ran an inbounds play that didn’t really seem to put them in a situation to succeed. They threw the ball in to Kenneth Faried just inside the three point line. Faried then turned and tossed it to J.J. Hickson, who was even further away from the basket. What are they doing?! With just over 2 seconds left, Hickson found Foye, cutting toward the top of the key on the right side of the court. Foye caught it, well covered by Jamal Crawford. Foye used Hickson as a quasi-pick, and Blake Griffin switched onto Foye. With the clock ticking down, Foye forced up a long, contested three, from four or five feet behind the line, and he drained the shot. It wasn’t much of a play — the shot was born out of necessity more than anything. But Foye drilled it, which is why we’re here.
It had been a back-and-forth game down the stretch, with both teams fighting to grab the lead. Just moments earlier, the Nuggets were sitting on a two point lead, when the Clips got the ball to J.J. Redick. When the defense ran out on Redick, he half-heartedly drove the lane and eventually kicked it out to an open Matt Barnes on the wing, who drained the three to give the Clips a (temporary) 115-113 lead. Denver got the ball back with 6 seconds to play, with a chance to go for two to tie or three to win. They went for three, although again it seemed to be almost an accidental play. Whenever your play-by-play announcer has time to nervously say “Too much time!” twice, that probably wasn’t the play you were going for. But then, it worked, didn’t it?
It’s tough to see well in the clip above, but Foye hit the deck when the shot went in, and moments later, several other Nuggets (Hickson and Faried) hit the court and slid into Foye as if he were a base on a baseball diamond. Then the Nuggets performed several group hugs as they all left the floor. Overall, it was a fairly excited celebration, which was fun to see.
It was a tough shot — fading left and shooting right. Although, again, this was mostly Denver’s own doing. It wasn’t much of a play, wasn’t much strategy involved. I’d give this two Horrys, except that it was a really, really long three, and I enjoyed the celebration. So I’m giving this three Horrys….
What say you? How many Horrys would you give Randy Foye’s GWBB?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER –Today’s Clippers at Pistons game ended up with Los Angeles taking the win, 112-103. But what the score doesn’t show was how much of the game was played above the rim. Perhaps this is not a surprise, considering how many above-average dunkers were involved, from Blake Griffin to Josh Smith, from DeAndre Jordan to Andre Drummond, and on and on.
In all, there were 19 dunks in this game. When Lob City meets Motor City, here’s what happens…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There are only a few weeks of All-Star voting left, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are doing their best to get out the vote for their power forward Kevin Love. According to the most recent returns, Love was just a few thousand votes behind Blake Griffin for the third starter spot in the West. With this new video posted today, the Wolves are trying to round up any last-minute votes…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We are not here to focus on anyone’s personal life, but when you post your business on Twitter, it sort of feels like it’s fair game. Which is why we turn our bleary eyes toward Bobcats rookie center Cody Zeller, who had a rough New Year’s Eve/Day. To begin with, Zeller celebrated New Year’s Eve while on the road with the Bobcats. Unfortunately, Zeller celebrated alone on Twitter. And from what he posted, a lonely New Year is nothing new…
Happy New Years!!!! I'm now 0-21 on that whole "midnight kiss" thing.— Cody Zeller (@CodyZeller) January 01, 2014
(Maybe it’s just me, but it fells like a “frowning”/”crying” emoticon would have been a solid choice at the end of that tweet.)
Then the next day, the Bobcats took on the Clippers, and Zeller’s attempt to fly in and dunk past Blake Griffin was rejected…by the rim.
Those guys on the bench in the background feel his pain.
Foot Locker has been on a roll of late with their hilarious commercials, starring everyone from James Harden and Steph Curry to, more recently, Kyrie Irving. This latest spot for Jordan Brand shows what happened when Chris Paul ostensibly went shopping at Kids Foot Locker for his son, and came away with so much gear that something had to give. In this case, that something turned out to be Blake Griffin‘s locker space… -
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 nontraditional angles, we will focus on the flip side of the NBA’s best dunks: Who got got?
So welcome to volume one 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 we will determine who it is that most belongs on a poster.
To start us off, we have four nominees from the first few weeks of the season, and 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. Marvin Williams (as nominated by JJ Hickson) LeMont’s Take: “Personally, if you ask me, is this the one? This is the one! The way Marvin falls reminds me of a video game animation. Hands down, one of the nastiest falls after getting dunked on that I’ve seen in a while.” -
3. Jeff Withey (as nominated by Xavier Henry) LeMont’s Take: “I’m always going to be a fan of any dunk where the ball is cocked back. Like LeBron’s go-to dunk from his Cavs days. Whether with one or two hands, it doesn’t matter. Those dunks always signify bad intentions to me. Especially with a defender in the way. But what sets Xavier’s apart from the rest is he’s a lefty. It just gives it that added unusual flair and bang to it.” -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In terms of popular culture impact, guests on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last week had their work cut out for them trying to make more noise thanKanye West. So when DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul paid a visit last week, they might not have received as much attention as Yeezy, but they had an entertaining visit and talked about everything from leather jogging pants to “Scandal” to getting calls from new Clips coach Doc Rivers.