ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The numbers NBA players wear can be just as important as their shoes or their haircuts. Some players have worn the same number since childhood, or they have some deep attachment to the number. I know one former NBA player who’s phone number ends with his uniform number repeated over and over — and yes, he said he requested it that way. But when a player changes teams, sometimes his former number is suddenly in use by a different player or, worse, retired and totally unavailable. At least when a different player is wearing your number, you may be able to convince him to give up that number, whether through monetary recompense or, as newly acquired Clippers center Spencer Hawes suggested to Blake Griffin on Twitter, even a feat of strength…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Being able to jump like Clippers big men Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan must be an incredible feeling. It is a feeling I have never had, and barring some freaky science experiment, will likely never have. It would be useful not only when playing basketball, of course, but also if you found yourself on a tourist-filled beach in Croatia, like this video that recently surfaced featuring Griffin and Jordan on a beach in Dubrovnik, Croatia, having some fun in the sun…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There were several celebrities in attendance last night in Los Angeles for Game 6 between the Clippers and the Thunder. But when the game ended, to whom did Kevin Durant trot over and hand off his game worn shoes? Bubba Watson, the two-time (and defending) Masters champ.
For a little added intrigue, it’s probably worth noting that Watson is an avowed fan and friend of Chris Paul, and he’s even thrown some alley-oops to Blake Griffin. Looks like KD might be working his way into Watson’s framily plan…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — On the internet, it doesn’t take much to constitute a trend. So after Blake Griffindumped a cup of water on a fan during the Clippers’ game one loss to the Warriors — perhaps by accident, perhaps not by accident — Michelle Beadle over at “SportsNation” decided to try making this into a a new trend: Blakeing.
So if you see Beadle around, maybe stay a few steps back…
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…