Vote for this week’s best Shaqtin’ A Fool moment and tweet your favorite to #Shaqtin!
Vote for this week’s best Shaqtin’ A Fool moment and tweet your favorite to #Shaqtin!
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last season we had the occasional Crossover Contest post. This season, I was planning on saving up some of this season’s best crossovers for one big season-ending post. But after the weekend we had, I think we need to break out another Crossover Contest, because dudes were putting people on skates all across the NBA.
Let’s start in Cleveland, where J.R. Smith sent Brandon Knight flying with a killer crossover…
VIDEO: J.R. on Knight
Now to Los Angeles, where Chandler Parsons had Lakers forward Ryan Kelly all mixed up…
VIDEO: Parsons on Kelly
In Detroit, down the stretch in a close game, Lance Stephenson went at Anthony Tolliver and left him stumbling in his tracks…
VIDEO: Lance on Tolliver
And let’s end with Stephen Curry yesterday out in the Bay, where he crossed over half the Clippers and drained the three…
VIDEO: Curry cross
Now it’s your turn: Who had the trickiest dribble? Cast your vote for the winner in the latest Crossover Contest…
You know, if the Mavericks decide in the future to give the ball to Monta Ellis instead of Dirk Nowitzki, that wouldn’t be such a terrible move, you think?
Look, this is still Dirk’s team, but Ellis proved once again Wednesday night that, in the clutch, he’s every bit as reliable as his future Hall of Fame teammate. With Dirk on the bench resting a creaky back, Ellis chopped down the Bucks and this is starting to become habit-forming. He’s proving to be quite the go-to guy this season and it could end up putting him in the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.
It was his sixth career game-winning basket in the final 5 seconds and the first since last December against the Blazers. But look at this recent closing streak by Ellis: 15 points in the fourth quarter against the Raptors … 14 in the fourth and OT against the Bulls … and against the Bucks, he scored the Mavs’ final eight points and 10 of their last 13. That’s dominance.
Keep in mind that the Horry Scale measures more than just the game-winning basket. Other factors are weighed that make the buzzer-beater truly epic, or merely run-of-the-mill. Although I think we can all agree that no buzzer-beater is routine. That said, let’s study the scale of Ellis’ latest clutch bucket.
Ellis went one-on-one against O.J. Mayo and it really wasn’t a contest. Ellis backed Mayo down, made a quick move and then from 17 feet launched his game-winning bucket on a fadeaway off one foot. From a cosmetic standpoint, it wasn’t the prettiest, but it was effective. Strangely enough, the Bucks didn’t send any help for Mayo, perhaps fearing a wide-open shot by Chandler Parsons. But given Ellis’ play of late, maybe you take that chance.
“They’ll be watching that shot for the next day and a half on SportsCenter,” said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.
Ellis wasn’t having the most accurate shooting night (11-for-26) but the Mavericks needed him. Dirk played 42 minutes of a double OT game the night before in Chicago. In the other uniform, Brandon Knight was willing to get into a fourth-quarter scoring exchange with Ellis and for a while was winning that contest. Knight hit a jumper over Tyson Chandler with 8.9 seconds left to tie the score after two Richard Jefferson free throws. The game was suddenly up for grabs, which means it was a situation suited for Ellis.
Well, any game the Mavericks win especially without Dirk, is important if only because they’re playing in the West. In a conference that once again is amazingly deep with quality, every loss counts. Oh, and Kevin Durant is back for OKC and you can expect the Thunder to rise in the standings. So there’s that as well. The Mavericks improved to 8-3 on the road, the mark of a team to be taken seriously.
Monta did a little strut as he sashayed off the floor, followed by his teammates, who dashed through the tunnel. It had to be especially sweet for Ellis because he played for the Bucks two seasons ago. Maybe he felt he wasn’t as appreciated in Milwaukee, but based on his performance, he is missed.
Ellis is clearly on a tear and there are nights when this is his team, even with Dirk on the floor. This was one of those nights. He rescued the Mavericks when they appeared to be reeling against a very improved and frisky Bucks’ team. Milwaukee wanted to use this game to make a statement about where the franchise is and where it’s headed. The Bucks are better than anyone thought, based on the first month of the season. But the statement instead was made by a player who’s one of the more underrated guards in the game, and perhaps the most talented player never to make the All-Star team. Give it four Horrys.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just before halftime last night in Indiana, Bucks point guard Brandon Knight drove into the paint, jumped into the air…and then guess what happened?
A. He took a shot and scored
B. He passed the ball to an open teammate
C. He threw the ball sideways to a fan sitting in the front row
If you guessed C, you must be a regular All Ball reader…
VIDEO: Knight play
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A group of Milwaukee Bucks players hopped a bus and went out to historic Lambeau Field for the Green Bay Packers/New York Jets game on Sunday. The Bucks produced a video of the day, which features several of the players (Brandon Knight, Larry Sanders) talking about how much they enjoyed the experience, but what you really need to watch for is the end of the video, when Jabari Parker dons a cheese head. Welcome to the NBA, rook…
VIDEO: Bucks at Green Bay
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Up until now, the most famous (or infamous) moment of Brandon Knight‘s NBA career may have been when he got posterized a few years back by DeAndre Jordan. But as it turns out, Knight has some hops of his own. Check out this Vine posted by the Milwaukee Bucks, showing Brandon Knight jump on top of a stack of stuff that’s 60 inches high. Yeah, that’s five feet there…
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 than Kanye 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.
By Khris Middleton, Detroit Pistons
The London Lowdown
Our team just got back from London where we played the Knicks last week. It was a great experience! I had never been to London before, so it was nice to see the city, experience the culture and do some sightseeing. It was also a good bonding experience with my teammates. We all went out together and really enjoyed each other’s company.
We left for London Monday night. We didn’t take our usual team plane; we flew out of the main Detroit airport, Detroit Metro, on a chartered plane with more than 150 people. Since it was considered a Pistons home game, we brought a bunch of staff – cheerleaders, stats people and other team employees – over to London with us. Some family members came, so I brought my sister with me.
I was exhausted when we took off, and I slept the whole way pretty much, until we landed at Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning. Everyone was excited once we got there. When we got off the plane, there were some news cameras around. And as our team walked to get our bags, people were staring at us – a bunch of really tall guys – like we were a freak show! It was pretty funny.
We got our bags, got on the bus and headed to the hotel. We stayed at a Four Seasons, which reminded me of the hotels we stay in here. As soon as we arrived, we ate some lunch at the hotel, which did a good job of Americanizing the food. (I’m a picky eater, so I stayed away from the food I didn’t know.) I walked around a little outside and then our team had a meeting with NBA security. It was basically a meeting to give us warnings about pickpockets and to be careful where we went at night … stuff like that for our own safety reasons.
Then we took a bus to the University of East London for practice. Because they drive on the other side of the road and their signs look different, it was a little weird at first. We practiced for about an hour, a regular shooting practice. We didn’t do too much since we had just come off of a six-hour flight. It was only 4 or 5 p.m. when we got back to the hotel, so we had a good bit of time to do what we wanted. Most of us showered, ate and went straight out again.
My sister and I walked around, ate dinner, enjoyed the night. We had dinner with some teammates at a place called Gaucho, which is supposed to be one of the best steakhouses over there. I’m not a big steak guy, but I thought it was pretty good. Everybody else loved it, so I guess it was very good! We all went out to various spots after dinner and met up at some point, which was a lot of fun.
On Wednesday, we had a 10 a.m. practice at the O2 Arena, where we were playing the next day, and the same place where the Olympic basketball teams competed last summer. We did some shooting, scrimmaging, reviewed scouting reports. Then all of us had a 30-minute interview session with the London media. Our Detroit media guys were there also. After that, me and some teammates — Andre Drummond, Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe and Austin Daye — participated in an NBA Cares event with kids. There were four different stations of basketball drills set up on the court for the kids to go through. I was at the fitness station with Andre and James White from the Knicks. It was good to see the smiles on the kids’ faces; you could tell they were enjoying themselves and happy to be there. Then we went back to the hotel, and since we were all exhausted, most of us crashed and spent the rest of the day sleeping.
Then it was game day on Thursday. I got up, went to shootaround, and had some time that afternoon (before the game) to do some sightseeing. My sister and I went to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the London Bridge, a popular London shopping center called Harrods. I didn’t buy anything there. My favorite place was Buckingham Palace; knowing the history behind it, that was pretty cool.
The game was exciting – a sold out event! The fans were excited, and it was a great atmosphere in there! They were a little different than American NBA fans because during the game, for the most part, they were kind of quiet. When anybody scored, they got loud and crazy. It was a lot of fun, but I wish we could have gotten the win, wish we could have pulled it out. We had a slow start and when we tried to get back into it, we were a little bit too late. After the game, we had a reception with the Pistons and Knicks players and coaches, some NBA staff and fans that had special passes to get in. Then it was time to go back to the hotel, pack up and enjoy our last night in London. It was cool because players form both teams saw each other out at night.
Overall, the experience was really great and all positive — except for the loss of course! To play an NBA game in a different country and see the game of basketball growing like that, it was awesome! You can tell the fans over there love the NBA game. We got back to Detroit around 1 p.m. on Friday and I’m feeling good!
Hope you enjoyed my play-by-play of our trip to London! Have a great week! Oh, and don’t forget to check me out on Twitter @Khris22m.
Khris Middleton is a 6-foot-7 forward from Texas A&M. He was selected by the Pistons with the ninth pick of the second round in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Follow All Ball all season for more from NBA Rooks: Diaries …
by Zettler Clay
We’ve seen hoopers fall off-balanced and with reckless abandon into the stands before — most recently, the Griffinator demonstrated.
But very few receive a shower in the process. Former Kentucky guard and current Pistons rookie Brandon Knight…come on down!
*Update: Turns out the Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank agrees, singling Knight’s hustle as the turning point in the affair against the Wizards.
“Brandon’s hustle play was a momentum changing play. Guy took a shower during the game, and that doesn’t happen a lot. I thought that really pumped our guys up,” Frank said.
Certainly pumped Rodney Stuckey up.
by Micah Hart
Earlier this morning Sekou and I put our GM caps on and picked rosters for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, trying to figure out what they might look like once Shaq and Chuck get done with them for All-Star Friday night.
Sekou got the first pick because, well, he’s big time, and I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut.
Here are our squads:
Sekou’s Squad (in order of draft selection):
Jeremy Lin Landry Fields
Which team do you like the best?