ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few months back we caught up with Detroit Pistons mascot Hooper as he had a very bad weekend. After first having a run-in with Andray Blatche and the Nets, Robin Lopez and the Blazers also had their way with Hooper.
But last night, Hooper seemed to draw some measure of revenge against Bulls center Joakim Noah. During pregame warmups, Hooper got on Joakim’s level and challenged him to a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. This footage is a bit inconclusive, but it appears as though Hooper goes paper while Noah goes rock. Classic move by Hooper.
This had no long-lasting effects on Noah, apparently, who went out and turned in his second triple-double in his last three games. After the game, leaving the floor, he must have felt as if he’d conquered the Pistons.
The Chicago Bulls don’t want our pity. Despite being hit hard with injuries and attrition the last two seasons, they continue to make it their business to repel any “that’s OK, there’s always next year” sentiments fans are wont to throw their way. And these days, fresh off ripping the Knicks at home for their ninth win in 10 games, business is good.
For Joakim Noah, it was a historic performance. He recorded his fifth triple-double. By halftime, the deed was almost done, as he was two rebounds shy of the mark. His 14 assists were the most ever by a Bulls center, and the most by a center in the NBA since 1978.
His doings could have easily been the talk of the game, but not so fast, says Jimmy Butler. In the first quarter, he poked the ball out of Carmelo Anthony’s hands. After dashing toward the sideline to save the loose pill to the hands of Kirk Hinrich, things got a bit tricky for Jimmy.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Throughout this season, perhaps you’ve seen our ongoing series, The All Ball Posterized Poll. In those posts, we examine which NBA players have been victims of the most vicious dunks.
We are proud to continue the tradition of highlighting the best of the best (and worst) with the new All Ball Crossover Contest. From time to time, we will check in and look at some of the best ankle-breaking dribbling exhibitions we’ve seen. We want to see the greatest moves, of course, but we also want to take note of who got shook.
So who broke out the best crossover in this edition of the Crossover Contest? We culled this selection of videos, and NBA.com’s Zettler Clay is providing the written commentary to accompany what you see.
Check out the videos below and vote at the bottom of the post …
NORRIS COLE ON DERRICK ROSE Zettler Says: I know, Derrick Rose was only minutes into his first game back from an ACL tear. Still, as Avon Barksdale accurately summed it up, the game is the game. Norris saw an opportunity and made a quick decision. We’re rooting for a full recovery for Rose, if only for a chance at redemption, because this move is nasty.
JOHN WALL ON TERRENCE ROSS Zettler Says:John Wall hits Terrence Ross with the double. If you were to ask for defining Wall plays to teach to youngsters, this would lead the reel. A stutter step to freeze Ross, then a crisp crossover followed by another, followed by speed to the cup. Great read, timing and execution.
STEPHEN CURRY ON REGGIE JACKSON Zettler Says: There’s nobody else in the NBA that could pull this move off, save for Jamal Crawford and Kevin Durant. Curry’s ability to quickly set his feet after a move combined with his deadly deep aim gives his crossover another element. No spot on the court is safe for any Steph defender.
DERON WILLIAMS ON CHRIS PAUL Zettler Says: Classic end of half isolation clash between two of the league’s best. What gives this play flair is the stealthy rivalry between these two players since they entered the NBA in 2005, one pick behind each other (D-Will was the third pick, Paul fourth). On this night, multiple times, the third pick had the upper hand.
J.R. SMITH ON TRISTAN THOMPSON Zettler Says: This is just Earl Joseph Smith III doing his thing. Thankfully Tristan Thompson took an unnatural fall, which not only made the play pop, but saved his ankle. If he doesn’t hit the deck, his talus is broken. Believe.
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 non-traditional angles, we will focus on the flip side of the NBA’s best dunks: What we want to know is, who got got?
So welcome to Volume Three 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 all of our winners will battle it out to determine who it is that most belongs on a poster.
The winner of Volume One was New Orleans’ Jeff Withey, who was placed on a poster by Lakers’ wingman Xavier Henry, his college teammate. The winner of Volume Two was Atlanta’s Al Horford, who was posterized by Victor Oladipo.
But can anyone top Withey? We have five brand new nominees. 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?”
Now, to the latest nominees …
1. Terrence Ross on Kenneth Faried
LeMont’s Take: “Not only does this one have all the qualities needed to make it a great posterizer (elevating over a jumping, contesting defender, finishing tough), but the still shot of the play makes for an amazing visual. From Faried’s honest attempt at defending to Ross’ acrobatic cock-back wind-up, you have to appreciate both players’ intensity.” -
VIDEO:Ross on Faried - 2. Kevin Martin on Tayshaun Prince
LeMont’s Take: “No shots fired, but has Kevin Martin ever had a play like this in the NBA? Wanna know what sticks out to me the most about this banger? It’s the fact that Martin’s swagged-out slow walk after the dunk suggests that Kevin Martin posterizers, like a LeBron jam, for instance, are household plays. It’s like Martin is saying, ‘This is what I do.’ Love it!” -
VIDEO:Martin on Prince - 3. Taj Gibson on Bismack Biyombo
LeMont’s Take: “Bulls announcer Stacey King knows a poster when he sees it. And if there’s one Bull who has a pretty good resume of big facials, it’s Taj Gibson (ask Nikola Vucevic or a 2011 D-Wade about their Gibson experiences). Game film is key in this game, and if Bismack Biyombo was paying any attention, he’d know that Gibson usually means serious two-handed business at the rim.” -
VIDEO:Gibson on Biyombo - 4. Anthony Davis on Big Baby
LeMont’s Take: “I feel pretty confident calling it right now: Anthony Davis may turn out to be one of the best big man to utilize the pick and roll. A lot of his dunks and alley-oops this season have come in this manner, and he’s only going to keep learning and getting better at it. It just so happens that his play-cousin Glen Davis is part of the education.” -
VIDEO:Davis on Davis - 5. Lance Stephenson on referee Ed Malloy
LeMont’s Take: “No man is safe from getting dunked on. Not kids on Nerf hoops, not unsuspecting rookies, not even referees. How many people can say they dunked on an official and got away with it? Lance Stephenson can, and he’s probably the envy of many a player in the NBA. (I’m sure there are plenty of guys who’d love to dunk one on Joey Crawford.) The Pacers’ spark plug may be ticked off that he didn’t make the All-Star team, but hopefully he was able to unleash some of that anger here, even if it was at the expense of a ref.” -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There are two sure-fire ways to make certain you make the highlights. One: You make a fantastic play. Two: You attempt to make a fantastic play and it doesn’t go as planned. Last night, with the Kings sitting on a huge lead late in the game against the Bulls, Kings forward Derrick Williams grabbed a steal and went in for the uncontested dunk. Williams tried to show some flair, but as you can see in the video above, it didn’t work out so well. (Hashtag #shaqtin.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We have previously observed Gregg Popovich‘s ability to turn any sideline interview into performance art. Last night, as the injury-plagued Spurs trailed heading to the fourth quarter against the Bulls, Coach Pop used the sideline interview with ESPN’s Mark Jones to really boil the game down to its essence…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — During the second half of last night’s Spurs/Bulls game, Joakim Noah picked up a technical foul during a fast break, after arguing that he’d been fouled moments earlier. Tony Parker went to the free throw line for the Spurs to shoot the T, and that’s when…something weird happened.
I think the referee asked him to wait just as he shot it, because Parker seemed to try to hold up as he was shooting. And after this play, he was given another chance at the shot (which he made). Still, as I tweeted when it happened, Parker shot a 7-footer…from 15 feet away.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — After a flurry of Horry Scale entries around the winter holidays, we went into a long slumber, with no game-winning buzzer-beaters since January 3, when Andre Iguodala last made an entry. But now, after a long day of NBA action, thanks to Taj Gibson and the Chicago Bulls’ 102-100 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, we have yet another GWBB to break down.
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.
With the groundwork laid, let’s do this, shall we?
DIFFICULTY With 0.9 left on the clock, the Bulls most likely had to run a play where the guy who caught the ball was heading toward the basket. If you watch closely, even before the ball is inbounded to Gibson, every Bulls player is streaking toward the rim, ready and able to get off a last-second shot. Jimmy Butler acts as sort of a bulldozer, moving Lakers guard Nick Young out of the lane. And as Gibson cuts to the basket, he manages to pin his defender, Lakers wing Manny Harris, behind him, basically creating a Taj-Gibson-sized target moving toward the rim. Yet with all seven-feet of Pau Gasol defending Mike Dunleavy, who was there to make the pass, Dunleavy had to resort to a bounce pass to get the ball to Gibson. Gasol spun around and ended up running at Gibson, nearly blocking the shot. But Gibson made a smooth catch and lefty layup (he shoots his jumpers righty), all in less than a second. If all that wasn’t enough, according to Bulls announcer Chuck Swirsky, Gibson said he’d never even made a game-winner before …
Post game interviews coming up shortly on bulls TV Taj Gibson told me just moments ago that was his first ever game-winning shot amazing— chuck swirsky (@swirsk054) January 21, 2014
Nice way to start.
Since trading away Luol Deng and waiving Andrew Bynum, the immediate future of the Bulls — or at least their intentions — has been somewhat murky. Their roster may not be what we thought it would be at the start of the season, but Tom Thibodeau teams always play hard, and Monday night was no exception. Even after taking a three-point lead in overtime, which Nick Young erased via free throws with four seconds to go, these Bulls don’t know when to say when.
One of the problems endemic to GWBB’s is that often the players involved aren’t even sure whether or not the shot actually beat the buzzer, which can lead to some subdued celebrations. Still, the Bulls players were pretty excited, including a leaping chest/shoulder bump between Jo Noah and Gibson. But if there was an image that summed up how great the Bulls felt about the win, it was the shot of all-business Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau smiling and giving Gibson five as they left the court.
Lefty layup. Contested shot. Slick inbounds play. Overtime. Thibs smiling. Thibs smiling! I have been criticized in the past for being too tough on some shots, but the only thing I discount about this game/play is that it was a .500 team (Chicago) against a team 10 games under .500 (L.A.). If this was a playoff game I’d go five Horrys. But for now, I’m going four Horrys …
What say you? How many Horrys does Taj Gibson’s shot deserve?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Chicago Bulls might be in the midst of reconfiguring their roster, but that doesn’t stop the players still with the Bulls from being as consistent as ever. And that determination is displayed in this ad from a Chicago-area bank, where Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah show off what it must be like to have a Chicago Bulls bank card. Better than having Tom Thibodeau yell at you everywhere you go.