ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — This weekend the NCAA Tournament will follow in the steps of the 2010 NBA All-Star Game and be held in Dallas, at the gargantuan AT&T Stadium. So while the eyes of the sporting world pay attention to Texas, Conan O’Brien moved his late night show to the Lone Star State for the week. Last night, after Conan mentioned how well he felt he was getting to know Texas, Dirk Nowitzki popped out to quiz Conan on his Texas knowledge…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Shawn Marion has always had a jump shot that was best described as…well…non-traditional. Instead of extending his arms high above his head and following through with his shooting arm extended, Marion releases the ball from out in front of his face. (I once asked him about his release, and he told me his release came because he jumps so high on his shot that he was basically shooting down at the rim. I suspect time has affected at least the jump, but he’s retained that release.)
Either way, this latest video from the Dallas Mavericks promises to teach you how to shoot like Shawn Marion, if that’s something you might be interested in. This is funny, and good on Marion for having a laugh at his own expense…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In recent years, cryotherapy has become a popular way for NBA players to recover from the rigors of NBA action. What is cryotherapy? Basically, it involves going into a room or chamber that is literally freezing cold, for a short period of time. This, I suppose, mimics the effect of putting ice on an injury, except that it ices your entire body.
The Dallas Mavericks, always on the cutting edge, have their own hyper-cooling chamber. Here’s video of Shawn Marion giving it a whirl, and singing Ralph Tresvant’s “Sensitivity” to help pass the time.
Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In this video from the Dallas Mavericks, why is Devin Harris playing Ferris Bueller? Why is Dirk Nowitzki in the role of Principal Rooney? And is that Monta Ellis as Cameron Frye? Really, more questions than answers here, but still, this is the latest in a long line of great videos from the Dallas Mavericks…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few weeks back, Knicks guard J.R. Smith was caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar, as he distracted a few opponents by untying their shoes. Last night against the Mavs, Smith unveiled a new diversionary tactic versus Vince Carter…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Juuuust when you thought we were out, they go and pull us back in. The season may be just past the halfway mark, but our record-setting pace is continuing, as tonight Dirk Nowitzki did his dagger-shooting thing to beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
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 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 this shot down…
DIFFICULTY I feel like this is the part of this play that will be most overlooked. Yes, it was just a jump shot, and as far as play designs go, it wasn’t exactly the most complex play Rick Carlisle has ever inked out. But man was that a hard shot. I mean, if Carmelo Anthony was any closer to Dirk he could have untied his shoes. Dallas got the ball in to Dirk at top of key with the score tied at 108 and just 7.3 seconds left to play. Dirk caught the ball with his back to the basket, singled up against ‘Melo. Using his left foot as a pivot, Dirk rotated a full 360 degrees while ‘Melo sniped at the ball. He finally dribbled one time with his left hand, and jabbed his right foot forward just a bit to create a few inches of space. And with Carmelo basically chest-to-chest, Dirk raised up and released that textbook jump shot over ‘Melo with just under 2 seconds remaining. The ball hit the glass, the front of the rim, popped up into the air, and then gently settled back into the bucket. Again, not the most aesthetically pleasing play, but good grief what a tough shot.
GAME SITUATION This was perhaps an even tougher pill for Knicks fans to swallow because of the game situation. After being a mostly back-and-forth affair all evening, the Mavs seized the lead down the stretch. But give the Knicks credit for clawing back, mostly behind 44 points from ‘Melo. Down 6 with 1:12 to play, the Knicks got a three-point play from Chandler, a steal, and a three from Melo to tie the game at 108. Dallas had won 9 of 12 coming in, including two straight on the road. With the Knicks still clinging to hopes of getting into the playoffs, tonight was the kind of game they really had to win. To lose on a shot that bounced all over the rim before dropping in must be tough. But then, the Knicks have been on the other side of a similar situation before, right Allan Houston?
CELEBRATION Dirk seemed to mostly keep his cool, because this ain’t Dirk’s first time at the big shot rodeo. I loved the way Jose Calderon took off on a sprint up the court as the shot went through, and he grabbed Dirk in a bear hug to celebrate. Also, of late I’ve tried to incorporate fan reaction into the ratings, and Knicks fans did not disappoint, as you can see several of them with their hands to their heads in the background as the shot drops through.
So it may not have been the best play design, but it was still a tough shot. It may not have been the most momentous game, or the most spirited reaction, but all together it was a pretty good play. So I’m going to go with three Horrys for this one…
What say you? How many Horrys would you give Dirk Nowitzki’s GWBB?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Over the weekend, cameras caught Knicks guard J.R. Smithuntying Shawn Marion‘s shoe just before a free throw attempt. Marion then played two possessions with a shoe untied, before a break in play allowed him the time to fix his kick. This apparently drew a warning to Smith from the NBA, although there was no fine or suspension. And for his part, Smith admitted on Twitter that the ol’ shoelace trick is something he does had been doing regularly…
So in last night’s Knicks game against Detroit, as soon as Smith checked in during the first quarter, he ran over to line up for a free throw, stood next to Pistons big Greg Monroe, and went straight for the shoelace …
This time, we should note, Smith was foiled by some fancy footwork from Monroe. Whether Smith will draw a warning about not untying shoes remains to be seen. One idea for Knicks’ opponents to perhaps add to their scouting reports: Double-knot your laces.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Knicks guard J.R. Smith is very many things. A scorer, for sure. Dynamic? OK! Mercurial? Well, yep. Maddening? At times. Surprising? Nearly always.
Perhaps a good word to describe Smith is entertaining, because you’re never quite sure what he’s going to do, on or off the court, but no matter what it is, it’s pretty entertaining.
Take last night’s game against the Mavericks. A few minutes before halftime, Smith checked into the lineup for the Knicks, while Dirk Nowitzki was at the free throw line. J.R. lined up along the lane next to Shawn Marion, and for reasons known only to J.R., he casually reached down and untied Marion’s left sneaker. Is this a new level of subterfuge previously unseen? It didn’t seem to have much long-term effect.
So why did he do it? I guess the best explanation is, it’s a J.R. Smith thing.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night’s Mavericks at Minnesota game came down to a final shot attempt. Down 100-98, the Wolves ran an inbounds play for Kevin Love, who popped free and stepped left for a long jumper that would have sent the game to overtime. Dallas had Shawn Marion defending on the play. Marion dominated the Wolves offensively, racking up 32 points, but it was the defensive play he made against Love at the end of the game that had people talking.
Specifically, the Wolves television (Dave Benz and Jim Petersen) and radio (Alan Horton) announcers couldn’t stop talking about it, as you can hear in the clip below. They just couldn’t believe a foul wasn’t called on the play. BRUTAL.
UPDATE: Via the NBA, a statement on the play from Rod Thorn, NBA President of Basketball Operations: “Through postgame video review, we have determined that Minnesota’s Kevin Love was fouled on the right arm by Dallas’ Shawn Marion while attempting a two-point field goal. Love should have been awarded two free throws with one second left on the clock.”