ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’re still a few weeks away from the start of the NBA season, but we’re just days away from football returning. Which of course means the return of the great football video game Madden, which dropped yesterday. In this new commercial from EA Sports, Portland guard Damian Lillard sits down with Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller to play a game of Madden, only to find Miller has an edge that will be hard for Lillard to top.
In the last two weeks, the Ice Bucket Challenge has quite literally “soaked” the nation. Everyone from Ethel Kennedy to Justin Timberlake has poured a bucket of ice water over his or her head and challenged others do the same or make a donation to fight ALS within twenty-four hours.
Between July 29 and today, August 12, The ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received an astonishing $4 million in donations compared to $1.12 million during the same time period last year. The ALS Association is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support from those people who have been doused, made a donation, or both. Contributions further The Association’s mission to find a cure for ALS while funding the highest quality of care for people living with the disease.
“We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative.”
With only about half of the general public knowledgeable about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge is making a profound difference. Since July 29, The Association has welcomed more than 70,000 new donors to the cause.
Everyone from celebrities to, perhaps, some of your friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are challenging each other to dump a bucket of ice-cold water on themselves to further awareness of ALS. That list of participants includes NBA players, who have taken on (or doled out) the Ice Bucket Challenge, too. Here’s Michael Jordan, Team USA,Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, John Wall,Damian Lillard, J.R. Smith and more taking the plunge:
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In this latest spot from adidas, we catch up with Portland’s Damian Lillard. His latest shoe is the Crazylight Boost, which features adidas’ new Boost cushioning technology. From the press release…
In the video, Damian Lillard shows us he would be great at anything in life by portraying a popcorn-slinging, movie theater employee serving customers before show time. In a dramatized portrayal of the world without Boost, Lillard is interviewed by Turner Sports sideline reporter Rachel Nichols after completing an intense session of serving concessions. Following his interview, the world of “Bust” transforms into the world of “Boost,” where Damian is back to All-Star form on the court.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It seems like we’re constantly trying to come up with cool nicknames for NBA players. Some of them stick — one of my favorites was “B-Diddy” for Baron Davis — and some of them don’t — “Slim Reaper” for Kevin Durant.
Recently, an artist did a drawing of Portland’s Damian Lillardrepresented as a lizard. This was a nod to Lillard’s slithery game, but also a bit of wordplay — “Lillard” sounds a bit like “lizard.”
But as it turns out, Damian Lillard himself hopes this is a nickname that doesn’t stick. In a chat yesterday on ESPN’s SportsNation, someone asked Lillard about being called “Lizard.” And, well, he wasn’t really into it…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the surprise standouts at All Star Weekend a few months back was Portland’s Damian Lillard, who threw down one of the most memorable dunks of the weekend. That dunk was commemorated with a GIF…
Yesterday, at his basketball camp in Portland, Lillard recreated that dunk, and threw down a nasty windmill off the bounce. As he wrote in the caption on Instagram, “Tried to get them to work on fundamentals first, but they wanted to dunk lol. #LillardCamp“
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?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In the world of Foot Locker commercials, famous athletes randomly hang out together like it’s an everyday occurrence. In this new spot from Foot Locker, we find Portland’s Damian Lillard sitting around a mod house chatting on his phone, when he offhandedly mentions he would like to win a championship ring at some point in his career. This is a perfectly acceptable feeling to have, unless perhaps you express that feeling aloud within earshot of Barry Sanders, LaDanian Tomlinson, Chris Webber and Karl Malone.