Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Cavaliers’

Horry Scale: Waiters Serves

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


VIDEO: Waiters’ game-winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Things have been quiet of late around Horry Scale country. Too quiet, to be honest. In fact, things were quiet enough that I knew something had to be afoot. After a record-setting pace though the All-Star break, we hadn’t had a game winning buzzer beater since Dirk Nowitzki dispatched the Knicks back 31 days ago. And yet here are, back and at it once again, thanks to Dion Waiters and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who knocked off Detroit 97-96.

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.

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.

We all clear? OK, let’s break tonight’s shot down, our sixteenth Horry Scale entry of the season…

DIFFICULTY
I know someone will get into the comments section and argue that this wasn’t all that tough of a shot. But to me it was a pretty difficult shot on two different levels. First, it was essentially a tightly contested jumper, with Rodney Stuckey directly in Waiters’ face. That’s a tough shot no matter how good a shooter you might be. Second, Waiters didn’t drive, so to free up room he did the dribble left/shoot right move, which as anyone who has played basketball can tell you, is much tougher than it looks.

GAME SITUATION
This category is where this shot picks up steam. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Cavs were losing 82-66. They mounted a bit of a comeback but were still down 9 with 3:38 to play, when a Kyle Singler jumper gave Detroit a 96-87 lead. But Detroit would not score again. By the time Detroit got the ball with just under a minute to play, their lead was down to 1. They ran the clock down, missed a shot, got the ball back, and then missed another shot with 3.2 remaining. And that’s when we pick up action in the clip above. The play design wasn’t all that spectacular — Waiters pushed off a bit to get open and catch the pass, but he was able to make the play when it counted. Of course, Waiters knew it all along …

CELEBRATION
Considering this was a game between two teams with no chance of making the playoffs, you wouldn’t think there was much riding on it. But when you factor in the epic comeback by the Cavs, I guess you can understand the Cavs reacting like they just won a playoff game. To me the most telling reaction was the fan just behind the basket in the beige shirt, who has his arms raised to the heavens as the ball flies through the air, and then as it swishes through, puts his head into his hands and collapses into his seat.

GRADE
I know it wasn’t a game of any consequence, and that certainly works against the importance of the play. But the reaction is so intense and genuine that I think we have to consider this. So, all factored together, I’m playing this down the middle and giving this Three Horrys out of five …

horry-starhorry-starhorry-star

What say you? How many Horry’s would you give Dion Waiters’ GWBB?

Cleveland Cavaliers welcome LaBron James

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the Miami Heat, which meant the return of LeBron James to Cleveland, the city and franchise where he began his career. And while LeBron’s departure may have been a bit acrimonious, feelings seem to have cooled a bit since then.

Or maybe not? During last night’s game, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer‘s Cavs beat writers noticed LeBron’s name spelled incorrectly on the scoreboard…

Then again, they also noticed one of Cleveland’s players referenced incorrectly…

Check out this amazing pregame video projection from the Cavaliers

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week the Cleveland Cavaliers retired the number of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, their longtime center. As part of the special celebration, they used a video projection company — which has previously made NBA pregame projections — that produced a mind-bending video projection to start the game. According to Quince Imaging, this was created through the use of a lot of things that I don’t understand…

Using a combination of 3D mapping techniques and video content produced by the Cavs own QTV team and Think Media, Quince transformed the court surface and surrounding screens into an immersive video environment.

Utilizing the latest revision of Pandoras Box version 5.5 and the newly released version of Warper, video content was aligned to the graphic design elements on the Cavs basketball court.

The system was comprised of 16 HD projectors, creating a pixel space of 3600×1878.

I just wonder if I can borrow this to hook up to my PS3?


VIDEO: Cavs pregame video

(via Next Impulse Sports)

Big Weekend For The Mutombo Finger Wag

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I grew up in Atlanta during the ’90s, a time that coincided with the run of Dikembe Mutombo as an Atlanta Hawk. Mutombo never really developed a dominant offensive post game, he was terrific on defense. He got dunked on from time to time, yes, but that was because he tried to block any shot that came near the rim. And when he did get his hands on a shot attempt, Mutombo generally turned that shot around pretty quickly. And then came the crowning glory: The Finger Wag.

not-in-my-house-o

It was such a prevalent maneuver that my friends and I started using it in traffic to express our displeasure with other drivers. It was cheeky, but ultimately non-threatening. Also, it was awesome.

Even though Mutombo retired a few seasons ago, the finger wag remains relevant. Just yesterday, for instance we got two displays of the Mutombo finger wag. First Amar’e Stoudemire delivered one after blocking Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson

249a7ce9fffa7401d9089b73bd8ccc5d

And then we saw one from the stands, as Joakim Noah‘s dad, Yannick, dropped one following a block from Joakim that caused a Miami 24-second violation…

0e7f95aa9b01b08e8a3027d6e2cf67f7

Mutombo may be gone. The finger wag will never die.

Kyrie Irving Sings With Pete Holmes

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I knew Kyrie Irving had an affinity for music and musicals — he once performed a duet from Grease on a radio show. But last night on “The Pete Holmes Show,” Irving was convinced to try to sing his name, with mixed (but hilarious) results. (His Bane impression is also terrific.)


VIDEO: Kyrie Sings

How Do You Spell Zydrunas Ilgauskas?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — How do you spell Zydrunas Ilgauskas? OK, fine, I just spelled it for you, but I did without looking it up! I swear! See, part of writing about the NBA and sports is that before long you learn how to spell names that some might construe as challenging? So Ilgauskas? Got it. Krzyzewski? No sweat. Antetokuonmpo? Oh yeah. Then again, ask me to do long division and I’m useless.

Anyway, the Cavs are retiring Big Z’s number on March 8, so a wisecracking version of their mascot Moondog took to the streets of Cleveland to see if people could spell Zydrunas Ilgauskas.


VIDEO: Spelling Z

The All Ball Crossover Contest (Vol. 1)

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.

VIDEO: Cole on Rose

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.

VIDEO: Wall On Ross

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.

VIDEO: Curry On Jackson

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.

VIDEO: Williams On Paul

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.

VIDEO: Smith On Thompson

And now you get your say. Who had the best crossover?

The 2013-14 All Ball YOLO All-Stars

j.r.-tucker

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If there’s one thing I’ve learned from attending a dozen All-Star Weekends, it’s that at its core, All-Star Weekend is about the fans. The fans actually select the starting line-ups, and fans travel from near and far to hit up Jam Session and All-Star Saturday Night and the Rising Stars Challenge and, of course, all the parties.

In some broader sense, the All-Star Game is about recognizing the best players from each conference. Sure, there are a couple of rim-rattling dunks and the occasional long-range shot that falls. And if you’re lucky, really lucky, the game is close down the stretch, and then everyone’s competitive juices kick in and you might just get a memorable finale. The main purposes of most participants in the actual All-Star Game? They wear funky uniforms, get a little run in, hang out with their buddies, and then they go back to their own teams for the stretch run and the Playoffs.

But that’s not why I’m watching the All-Star Game. And I think most people tuning in or even attending All-Star are looking to have a similar question answered: Are we not entertained? No matter what the Fun Police tell you, at All-Star weekend, nobody is looking at efficiency stats or plus/minus ratings. We want to see Shaq playing point guard. We want to see Gilbert Arenas joining the Elvis impersonators and dunking off of a trampoline. Simply put: We want the All-Star Game — and the entire weekend, really — to be fun.

So you can argue all you want about who does and who doesn’t deserve to be named to the actual Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. Instead, I present to you my annual YOLO All-Stars. (If you didn’t know, YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once.) These are the guys who deserve to be All-Stars based on my own vague All Ball Blog criteria. I considered all of the following elements: hilarity; social media proficiency; general swag; likelihood the player will do something memorable; dunking/dribbling/shooting ability; previous Shaqtin’ A Fool appearances; mentions on the All Ball Blog.

To be clear, those categories are listed in no particular order, with no importance or weight to any given specific category. These are just the players I think it would be fun to see in an All-Star Game. If we want to be entertained, these are the players that will give it to us. Meet your 2013-14 NBA YOLO All-Stars…

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
C – Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers — Always a blast on Twitter, and a man who appreciates good humor.
F – Chris Bosh, Miami Heat — Will be in charge of all videobombing.
F – LeBron James, Miami Heat — Not only is he a force on Twitter, which is good enough to qualify for the YOLO All-Stars, but he’s also the reigning MVP, so that wins him an invite.
G – J.R. Smith, New York Knicks — In the YOLO All-Star Game, untying shoes will be encouraged.
G – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers — UNCLE DREW!

Bench
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks — The Greek Freak is perhaps the most unconventional athlete in the league, so you never know what he’s going to pull off next. He also loves smoothies, and with the All-Star Game being played in the newly-named Smoothie King Center, what could be more perfect?
Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors — One of my favorites on social media.
Andray Blatche, Brooklyn Nets — Eurostep!
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons — Will be in charge of Vine videos throughout the weekend.
Metta World Peace, New York Knicks — Still the best.
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers — He may not have made the actual All-Star Game, but I can’t knock his hustle. Besides, he dunked on a ref, which is awesome.
Kevin Seraphin, Washington Wizards — Anyone with a pet snake named Snakey and a skeleton that rides a Segway is a lifetime YOLO All-Star.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
C – Robin Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers — He’s a nerd and he’s proud of it.
F – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves — We’ll have him making coffee for everyone.
F – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder — If LeBron is on the East, we might as well put KD on the West.
G – Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers — My favorite dribbler in the NBA.
G – James Harden, Houston Rockets — The beard is fun on its own, but Harden’s also made a heavy push into social media the last few years. Maybe he can perform at halftime.

Bench
Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers — You can’t have a YOLO game without Swaggy P.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers — Founder of #4BarFriday.
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies — Perhaps my favorite NBA player to challenge his team owner to a game of one-on-one.
Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs — Broken nose and all, Bonner is always entertaining.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors — Always a candidate to dunk on someone. Or to review an episode of “Breaking Bad.”
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings — Hard not to select someone who’s nickname is “Boogie.”
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Really the perfect player for this game.
Nate Robinson, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Go long, Nate will throw you the pineapple.

So there’s my YOLO All-Stars. Who would you put on your YOLO All-Star team? Let us know below in the comments!

Roy Hibbert Sticks Up for Anthony Bennett

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Cleveland Cavaliers used the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft to select Anthony Bennett out of UNLV. This was considered something of a surprise — even though there was no real consensus number one overall prospect, Bennett was not being projected by many experts as the top pick.

It was thought that the Cavs drafted Bennett hoping for an immediate contributions, yet as of today he was averaging just 2.8 points per game, to go along with 2.5 rebounds per game. So last week when Bennett had a 15-point, 8-rebound game against the New Orleans Pelicans, many wondered if Bennett was finally breaking out and showing why the Cavs drafted him first overall. Was this just an aberration? Was Bennett just having one good game? (In the two games after his big night, he scored a combined 6 points.)

Someone out there took to Photoshop to poke fun at Bennett’s big game by crossing it with the iconic image of Wilt Chamberlain after he scored 100. And that’s when Pacers big man Roy Hibbert got involved. Hibbert himself had something of a slow rise to prominence in the NBA, averaging 7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as a rookie, but through hard work and dedication has been able to turn himself into an All-Star center and dominant defender.

And as Hibbert explained, it’s still way too early to judge Bennett…

(via B/R)

LeBron Kisses A Fan (Again)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One thing that separates the NBA from pretty much every other sport is that in the NBA, the players are incredibly close to the fans — well, if you can afford the good seats. This means the occasional player diving into the second row, or sliding into the feet of the courtside fans. Last night when the Heat played the Pelicans, after LeBron James scored his 30th point of the game, he found himself up close and personal with a fan in the front row who appeared to want a photo. LeBron complied, and sealed it with a kiss …


VIDEO: LeBron Kisses Fan

Worth noting? This wasn’t LeBron’s first time setting up a courtside kissing booth. Check out this moment from back in April of 2009 …


VIDEO: LeBron’s Earlier Fan Kiss