Posts Tagged ‘J.R. Smith’

Horry Scale: Rose gives Cavs a thorn


VIDEO: Derrick Rose opens the bank as three-pointer at buzzer gives Bulls victory.

Is it OK to say this was the sweetest moment for Derrick Rose since 2011? Yes, it appears so, because what could be more uplifting to a player who’s been to injury hell and back (three times) than sending a sucker punch to LeBron James and the Cavs here in what could be a tightly-contest second-round playoff series?

Over the last few years it has become customary, even tired, to proclaim “He’s Back!” whenever Rose did anything that remotely resembled his MVP season. To be honest, Rose will never be “back” until he displays the consistency of that season, but let’s put that aside for a moment. On this very play, with this very shot, he was “back” for a fleeting microsecond, even if the three-point buzzer beater than put the Bulls up 2-1 in the series required a kiss from the basketball Gods to bank off the glass.

As it is, Rose is being celebrated today in the same city that heckled him during his clumsy comeback from knee surgery a few years ago. Good for him, because if anyone needed a lift from a crazed crowd and a game-winning shot, it’s Rose.

DIFFICULTY

Well, when you’re running to your right and need to shoot over a defender who has the wingspan of a prehistoric bird, then yeah, this shot was a bit tricky to pull off.

Rose took an in-bounds pass with three seconds left and after shaking free of Iman Shumpert, found Tristan Thompson flying in his grill. Of course, with time of the essence, there really wasn’t any time to think. And maybe that was a good thing. Three times on the Bulls’ previous four possessions, Rose missed one of two free throws and went 0-for-2 on isolation plays. This time, Rose simply launched it and didn’t call bank.

GAME SITUATION

Before Rose’s game winner, the Bulls were stunned by a desperate three-pointer by J.R. Smith just seconds earlier. In a bit of bad decision-making by the Bulls and coach Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls refused to foul Smith while leading by three. In that situation, it’s better to send a player to the free throw line than risk having him tie the game, and the Bulls lost that gamble.

With Pau Gasol on the bench dealing with an injured hamstring, the Bulls couldn’t afford to play into overtime, not against LeBron. Speaking of whom, he poked the ball away from Rose on the very next play. Lucky for LeBron, he wasn’t called for a foul. And lucky for Rose, the ball went out of bounds, giving the Bulls another shot with three seconds left.

IMPORTANCE

Bulls are up 2-1 in the best of seven. And the next game’s at the United Center on Sunday. C’mon.

CELEBRATION

Rose was rather subdued, as though he knew a 30-foot bank shot was going in all the way. Anyway, he was immediately lifted into the air by Joakim Noah, who sprinted off the bench, and soon mobbed by teammates. Of course, the UC went nuts, as it should, given that all of Chicago has been waiting to see something like this from Rose for nearly four years. Wish granted. If the Bulls win this series, don’t you think this shot will be raised as one of the reasons why?

GRADE

Five Horrys, because of the circumstances: Rose’s continued comeback from injuries, it was a playoff game, LeBron was on the floor, and the ball was banked in. Yes, this is the max number of Horrys, but just the same, this isn’t some game in February. Please, after all he’s been through, don’t you think Rose should get lots of Horry love?

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J.R. Smith works on videobomb skills

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When the Miami Heat were racking up titles the last few seasons, almost every postgame interview featured some new form of a videobomb. LeBron James may be in Cleveland now, but last night after the Cavs clinched the Central Division, the videobombs returned. Check out J.R. Smith doing several different videobombs last night…

Cavs fans share totally normal dinner with J.R. Smith

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — At a recent Cleveland Cavaliers game, one lucky fan won a contest that involved throwing chickens (rubber, presumably) at a target on the court. His prize? A dinner with Cavs guard J.R. Smith. Luckily for us, cameras were brought along to capture their dining experience. I really love this video because the time they share seems to be pretty boring and normal and low-key. But more than anything, it’s normal.

NBA players may be huge superstars, but in this video, these dudes talk about the weather, they chat about golf, they talk a bit about basketball, and of course there are also some awkward silences while they eat. In short, it’s a totally normal meal between a few people who don’t know each other very well but are trying to make the best of it.


VIDEO: Dinner with J.R.

Steph Curry, J.R. Smith, Lance Stephenson compete in new Crossover Contest

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…


VIDEO: J.R. on Knight

Now to Los Angeles, where Chandler Parsons had Lakers forward Ryan Kelly all mixed up…


VIDEO: Parsons on Kelly

In Detroit, down the stretch in a close game, Lance Stephenson went at Anthony Tolliver and left him stumbling in his tracks…


VIDEO: Lance on Tolliver

And let’s end with Stephen Curry yesterday out in the Bay, where he crossed over half the Clippers and drained the three…

VIDEO: Curry cross

Now it’s your turn: Who had the trickiest dribble? Cast your vote for the winner in the latest Crossover Contest…

NBA ode to Christmas Day


VIDEO: NBA TV narrates the season through Christmas lens

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Garden
Ticket holders asked: “Why can’t we just take James Harden?”
The jerseys were hung in the lockers with care,
In hopes that one day a real team would be there;

Across town the Nets were nestled all snug in their beds,
Visions of D-Will’s 40 percent shooting torturing their heads;
And Sam Presti in his kerchief and Chris Wallace in his wrap,
Had just settled down to brush up on the salary cap.

When out on Seventh Avenue there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the window they flew in a flash,
Tore open the shutters, ready to do something rash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Seemed as far away as the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Spike
and his pals on the high-priced front row,
When what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a stretch limousine pulled by eight tiny reindeer,
With a tall, slow driver who’d long lost his quicks,
They knew in a moment he must be from the Knicks.

More rapid than a 20-second timeout his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now Gasol! Now Monroe! Now DeAndre! up above,
“On, K.D.! On LaMarcus and Butler! On Kawhi and Love!
To the top of the scoreboard!  To the top of the wall!
Come with me now to save New York basketball.”

As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky,
Over in Brooklyn, Queen B’s land with Jay-Z,
Lionel’s team was still driving him crazy.

So up to the house top the coursers they flew,
The limo filled with millions, and James Dolan, too.
And then in a twinkling, on Presti and Wallace’s roofs
Was the prancing and pawing of designer hoofs.

As they drew in their heads and were turning around,
Down the chimney came Zen Master came with a bound.
He wore a green suit of Benjamins, sewn out of cash,
Ready to recruit his own Brothers of Splash.

A bundle of promises he was ready to dangle,
At anyone not named J.R., who could grasp a triangle.
His eyes — how they twinkled!  Not the face of a meanie;
Of course, the fall-back plan was still the beach with Jeanie.

His droll little scheme, turn around a team soft as a cushion,
And do it all faster than Brooklyn’s rich Russian.
He piled stacks of cash from their feet to their teeth,
And blew smoke till it encircled their heads like a wreath.

He had a wise, knowing face, hardly hint of a belly,
Not at all like Charles Barkley’s each night on the telly;
He was as haughty and sure as a blackmailer with pictures,
Even though his team’s record was down with the Sixers.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Was supposed to give the entire NBA something to dread.
He had played in the glory years with Reed, Frazier and Bradley,
Now these days in his sack just a hollow team playing badly.

He’d spoken all the right words, said he’d soon make them perk,
But without Jordan and Shaq, this might be too much like work.
And laying a finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprung to his limo, to his team gave some whistles,
Nothing he couldn’t clean up with one or two missiles.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he soared over walls of adobe:
“By this time next Christmas, I’ll even settle for old Kobe.”

The NBA on Christmas Day: Talking with John Leguizamo

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The holidays are not only a time of being with friends and family, they also bring about one of the marquee moments on the NBA calendar: Christmas Day, when the NBA is giving us five big match-ups to keep you glued to your couch all day long.

To celebrate the upcoming day, we’re talking with a few famous NBA fans about what the NBA and the Christmas Day games mean to them. Today we check in with the multihyphenate (writer-actor, producer-director, and on and on) John Leguizamo. Though he was born in Colombia, Leguizamo’s family moved to New York soon after, and a lifelong love affair with basketball and the New York Knicks began. His latest project is the loosely-autobiographical film Fugly!, out now on demand and on iTunes.

ME: I’ve seen you at lots of Knicks games through the years. Did being a fan of the Knicks start as soon you and your family moved to New York?

LEGUIZAMO: Yeah, definitely. I love basketball — that’s what I played growing up. You know, the sport you play is the sport you end up loving to watch. Somehow, it’s reliving the childhood and the life you never had. So yeah, I was a big Knicks fan back in the day — Clyde and up to Patrick Ewing, Sprewell, Starks, LJ, and up to now, the triangle offense, I’m here.

ME: Even these days, when the franchise is rebuilding, are you still fully invested?

LEGUIZAMO: It’s tough. The triangle offense is a tough thing to figure out. I mean, I guess it worked for Phil Jackson in Chicago and L.A., but how is it going to work on these cats who’ve played so differently all their lives, man? I don’t know, it’s a tough thing to watch. It’s like…(laughing) sending troops into war without weapons. I don’t know. It’s like, “Try and use your fist this time instead of a bayonet!”

ME: Also, to be fair, Phil had Jordan and Pippen in Chicago and Shaq and Kobe in L.A. So there may be a bit of a personnel issue with this Knicks team.

LEGUIZAMO: You mean you don’t think Carmelo is Kobe Bryant? (laughs) I mean, who was Michael Jordan anyway? No athlete will ever equal the excellence of that cat, but Kobe was pretty close, man.

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ME: Let’s get your predictions for the Christmas Day games. First up is your Knicks hosting the Washington Wizards.

LEGUIZAMO: Aw man. I mean, the Knicks will surprise you out of nowhere man, and maybe this is the time they’ll all come together — J.R. Smith and Shumpert — and maybe they’ll still come together for that. So I’ll give it to the Knicks. I mean, they come out of nowhere sometimes and they figure it out, and somehow the triangle offense comes together and somehow they’re loose and free. Or they get totally shut down, I don’t know.

ME: Right, sometimes it’s more like the Bermuda Triangle offense.

LEGUIZAMO: (laughs) Definitely the Bermuda Triangle. I think the Aztecs used The Triangle when they fought the Conquistadores. And what happened to the that empire?

ME: Yeah, didn’t work out so well. What do you do on Christmas Day? Will you watch games, or what’s your plan?

LEGUIZAMO: Well, we travel far. Our families are gypsies, so last year we went to Peru, and this year I’m going to be in Africa on a safari, not a shooting safari but shooting with my camera.

ME: Sounds amazing. OK, next up is the San Antonio Spurs at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

LEGUIZAMO: Thunder didn’t show up the other night. I mean, Kevin Durant is back, but I’m gonna go Spurs.

ME: Yeah, it’s hard to pick against them. Cleveland Cavaliers at the Miami Heat.

LEGUIZAMO: Aaahhhhhh! Oh dear, that’s gonna be wild. I love LeBron now that he went to the Cavs; somehow he regained my respect and love. But that’s gonna be tough, Look at Dwyane who came in the other day with crazy points. I don’t know, I’m gonna go with the Heat.

ME: Two more. Lakers at the Bulls.

LEGUIZAMO: Bulls. Derrick Rose. That’s all I gotta say, two words: Derrick Rose.

ME: Last one, Los Angeles Clippers at maybe the surprise team of the season, the Golden State Warriors.

LEGUIZAMO: Wow, that’s a tough one. I mean, I love the Clippers, man, I love CP3, and after all they went through, I’m going to do the emotional choice instead of the smart choice (laughing), I’m going to go Clippers.

Horry Scale: Trey Day


VIDEO: Burke GWBB

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Knicks finally scored 100 points in a game this season. Unfortunately for them, Trey Burke and the Jazz weren’t quite finished.

Tonight’s Jazz/Knicks game presented two teams with similar journeys ahead of them. The Jazz have a young roster with a young coach and expectations bubbling. The Knicks have a superstar forward (Carmelo Anthony) and president (Phil Jackson) but have a way to go as they implement the triangle offense.

The Knicks entered the night having lost six straight, for a 2-7 record, and had yet to score 100 points in a game this season. The Jazz had a similarly sub-par record, coming in at 3-6, and in the midst of a five-game road trip. All of which culminated in tonight’s big finish by Burke.

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 last season, 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 inbound play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.

Let’s get to the game-winner…

DIFFICULTY
With 2.3 seconds left on the clock, the Jazz didn’t have to rely on a catch-and-shoot. Two-plus seconds is enough time for at least a dribble, maybe even a pass.

But it looked as if the play wasn’t even drawn up for Burke to get the shot. Burke began in the far corner and set a screen for Gordon Hayward, who already had 33 points on the night. Hayward popped to the top of the key and looked to receive a pass. But Knicks forward Quincy Acy denied the look to Hayward, just as Burke flashed to the ball around the free throw line. Burke caught the ball, dribbled left into the corner, and fired up a fadeaway jumper over J.R. Smith, who was all over Burke and contested the shot well. But Burke cleared just enough space with a step-back move to release the jumper, and he drilled the shot as the buzzer was ringing.

Smith actually defended fine on the play — he went under three separate screens and stuck to Burke on the shot. Burke had to make a perfect play just to clear room for the shot. And Burke played it perfectly.

GAME SITUATION
After squandering a last-second attempt earlier in the week, when J.R. Smith eschewed a pass to Carmelo Anthony to fire up a three, tonight the Knicks cleared out for Anthony, who banked in a three to tie the game at 100 with 2.3 left. Anthony finished with 46 points for the Knicks, who were without Amar’e Stoudemire, and Anthony was brilliant all night.

But Utah called a timeout after Anthony leveled the game and calmly came up with the play. A shoutout to Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who came up with a play that had multiple options; and a shoutout to inbound passer Joe Ingles, who calmly went to Burke after not being able to get the ball to Hayward.

IMPORTANCE
It was big, for both teams. Yes, we’re still early in the season, but after losing six straight, the Knicks needed a win, especially at home. And Melo had put them on his back and carried them throughout the game.

The Jazz entered this season in rebuilding mode, and though they’re below .500, they’ve looked promising as they’ve tried to implement Snyder’s pace and space offense. Also, it’s worth noting that this is already Utah’s second appearance on the Horry Scale this season. So not only are they competing, but they’re giving themselves opportunities to win games (and taking advantage of those opportunities).

CELEBRATION
It was fortuitous that Burke popped the shot directly in front of the Utah bench. Because as soon as the shot went in, he was swarmed by his teammates. The Jazz couldn’t give an all-out celebration because they were on the road, so they didn’t get that awesome crowd reaction like they did at home against Cleveland. Still, the team huddled around Burke and let him have it (including a towel over the head) while Smith looked up in disbelief to check the replay.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.37.15 PM

Also, we can’t ignore Carmelo’s reaction. After such a big game, all he could do was grimace with the realization that better days are ahead. Hopefully sooner than later.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.37.18 PM

GRADE
It was a great play, a great shot, and an important result for a team that needed a win. But being pragmatic, this was a regular season game between two teams under .500. And considering we gave Hayward’s previous Horry Scale entry rated four Horrys, I don’t feel like this one quite matches that one, particularly on the celebration matrix. So I’m giving Trey Burke’s game winner 3 Horrys.

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What say you? How many Horrys would you give Trey Burke’s GWBB?

The NBA takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

By Jeff Case


VIDEO: GameTime: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken social media by storm the last few weeks and according to alsa.org, the campaign has raised immense awareness for ALS (which stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but is better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Here’s more from the ALSA:

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 DurantBradley Beal, John Wall, Damian Lillard, J.R. Smith and more taking the plunge:


VIDEO: MJ Ice Bucket

ALS Bucket Challenge @husky4lyfe8 @jharden13 @wardell30 @demar_derozan @kennethfaried35

A video posted by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on

(more…)

NBA players dominate kids

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — NBA players are the best of the best, elite athletes who have reached the peak of their sport, and perhaps even the top of the sporting world. They have honed their craft and skills to reach their place among the greats, and they will do whatever it takes to prove that dominance against any opponent, no matter the size or challenge that opponent presents.

But as we’ve seen several times the last few weeks, as good as NBA players are against their peers, they are absolutely dominant against children. Seriously, kids, don’t challenge NBA players.

For instance, here’s what happened when this kid recently tried to defend JR Smith one-on-one…

Every summer is serious for us real hoopers! Even the kids can get it! #SummerIsSerious #NikeFam

A video posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

Or how about Jazz forward Jeremy Evans? He actually took on two kids, a boy and a girl, and broke one kid’s ankles then dunked on the other one…

2 on 1 after the Jr. Jazz clinic in Green River today. @jeremyevans40 with the crossover and throw down.

A video posted by Jr. Jazz Youth Basketball (@officialjrjazz) on

And then there’s Chicago’s Joakim Noah, who takes on an army of kids and dispatches all of them…

But fear not, kids! Because every once in a while, even if it is a really rare while, one of the kids stands up for the rest and shows an NBA player that maybe they aren’t quite infallible. Just ask Nick Young

👀 Ok he got me lol

A video posted by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Don’t Sleep Around JR Smith

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s been a rather eventful season for Knicks guard J.R. Smith, a designation that has pretty much nothing to do with his play on the court. If anything, we’ve learned that if you’re not on your toes, J.R. might untie your shoes, or pull your headband down over your eyes. And if you fall asleep around J.R., like a bunch of the Knicks players did yesterday on the team plane, leaving J.R. with nothing else to do, he might post photos of your sleeping on Instagram.

To wit, Iman Shumpert (wearing leather pants) and Tim Hardaway Jr.

#TeamSleep

A photo posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

Tyson Chandler and Amaré Stoudemire (with the hat on)

#Out4TheCount

A photo posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

New Knicks Shannon Brown and Earl Clark

@l_s_brown @6_eazy welcome my brothers to the tape! #LaFamilia

A photo posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on