ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Man, look, I don’t like piling on any more than anyone else. But Lakers forward Ryan Kelly is not having the greatest of weeks. First, a few days back, he got all twisted up by Chandler Parsons. Then, in last night’s Lakers/Knicks game — and we should probably stop and note that this may have been one of the least-heralded Lakers/Knicks games of all-time — Kelly decided to take matters into his own hands. Or, more specifically, into his left hand. So Kelly drove left and went with the lefty hook shot over Cole Aldrich. This did not end well.
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…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A group of NBA fans in Japan have selected Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons as the NBA’s most handsome player. As Parsons posted on Instagram, they presented him with a certificate certifying his handsomeness, and even a drawing of Parsons in traditional Japanese dress. I’m not sure what organization presented this award, or how large this group of fans is, but Parsons seems pretty excited about it, so he’s got that going for him…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A couple of days ago, Mavs broadcaster Skin Wade was just minding his own business, recording an interview with Chandler Parsons, when Dirk Nowitzki strolled by and with a flick of the wrist made quick work of the whole situation. My favorite part might be the way Parsons reacts, with equal parts surprise and confusion.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Chandler Parsons has had an eventful few months, becoming one of the offseasons most coveted free agents with his move from Houston to Dallas. And apparently he’s been busy off the court, as well.
In the video below, Parsons discusses his newly minted partnership with Stance Socks, the brand NBA fans may know from their collaboration with Dwyane Wade. Parsons — an avowed sockaholic who says he actually plans his outfits around his socks — recently got a sock deal with Stance, and has a signature sock coming soon.
To that end, Parsons spent time with Stance recently to film a short flick about his love for Stance Hoops, the brand’s basketball collection. Here’s the world premiere of that video…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the great things about Dirk Nowitzki, maybe the best thing, is his apparent complete lack of self-awareness when asked to participate in goofy videos. He loves to sing and be silly, as we’ve seen again and again. And it don’t stop, because in this latest video from the Dallas Mavericks, Dirk teams up with Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons as some sort of new version of the seminal hip-hop group Run DMC, singing a remixed version of “Sucker M.C.’s.”
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — All summer long, we’ve seen NBA players throwing out the ceremonial first pitches at baseball games. Not just major league games, and not just from active NBA players, but from NBA-related folks (coaches, retired players) all over the place.
I’ve been collecting these videos for a few months, and now we present them, all of them, in several parts, because there’s a lot to get through.
And so, here are a bunch of NBA people throwing out the first pitch at baseball games…
CP went from Houston to Dallas this offseason, but before taking the court for the Mavericks, he took the mound for the Texas Rangers and may have thrown the best NBA pitch of the summer. (As he admits, he’s a former high school baseball player.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I did not care who won Game 6 of the Portland/Houston series. I am not a fan of either team, and to me it didn’t matter which team won. I was up late on the East Coast watching the game, sure, because I love sports and I love basketball, and also because it’s my job. But was I cheering for either team? Nope, not at all.
I say all of that to give context to what happened next. When Chandler Parsons scored with 0.9 seconds remaining, I figured it meant we were headed for a Game 7 in the series. Which was fine by me, considering how great the games in that series had been. And then Damian Lillard came flying around the top of the key, caught the ball, calmly drained the game-winner, and the arena went crazy.
And I sat forward to the edge of my couch and thrust a fist into the air. Again, I didn’t care who won the game. (If anything, Portland winning meant more work for me because I was now on the hook for an Horry Scale post.) I just spontaneously felt like, as fan of sports, I needed to celebrate that moment, probably the best moment of the playoffs thus far.
What a shot, what a moment. Since that shot went down, more and more angles and versions of the shot have surfaced, and I thought we should compile them all in one place for posterity…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Earlier tonight I was at Brooklyn/Toronto Game 6, and I was talking with another media member about just how memorable the first round of these playoffs have been. A record number of Game 7s, tons of amazing finishes. HOWEVA, as I pointed out, there had been just one game winning buzzer beater thus far — Vince Carter against the Spurs. From my mouth to the basketball god’s ears, that all changed a few hours later, thanks to Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers, who eliminated the Houston Rockets with a dagger at the buzzer of Game 6 to end the series and give Portland a 99-98 win.
Before we go any further, 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.
One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater. 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, everything surrounding and including the shot. So when I gave Randy Foye a 3 Horry rating, that wasn’t only a reflection of his shot, which was admittedly remarkable, as I wrote, but also the play, which was awful. Taj Gibson’s lefty layup wasn’t the toughest shot, but that inbounds play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.
After 18 regular season entries, we now have our second of the postseason. Let’s break this down…
As a shot, it wasn’t the toughest, mainly because Lillard was so open. On the inbound pass, Lillard basically just outran defender Chandler Parsons to get to the ball. You may wonder why a forward was guarding a much faster point guard on the play. This is a valid question. It wasn’t like Parsons got picked or screened, he was just out-run by Lillard, who was able to catch a pass and turn and shoot. And I love how if you look closely, you can see how he calls for the ball as he runs toward it. “I squared up and snapped my wrist,” Lillard told ESPN’s Heather Cox in his postgame interview, giving Portland their first first-round series win since 2000.
This has been a series about as close as it gets. These teams had turned in three overtime performances in their first five games, and this seemed destined for another OT. On their final possession, the Rockets weren’t able to get a clear look, until a rebound fell into Parsons’ hands under the basket and he flipped it up and in an easy shot to give Houston the lead with 0.9 remaining. It seemed like this was destined to go to 7 games like so many other series. But on the ensuing inbound, Lillard broke free and send the Rockets back to Texas.
I’m going to let this Vine speak for me. Crank up the volume and check this out…
I took some heat earlier this season when I gave some shots lower grades than you guys felt some shots deserved. My rationale was that the moments weren’t as large as they would be late in the season or in the postseason. Like tonight. The last time someone made a GWBB to end a series?