Posts Tagged ‘Jamal Crawford’

Horry Scale: Blake’s lucky bounce


VIDEO: Blake’s bouncing winner

In the history of lucky basketball bounces, none can touch Don Nelson‘s late shot in Game 7 of the 1969 Finals, helping the Celtics secure their 11th title. The ball hit back rim, went straight up and then dropped through the basket and into the hearts of the Lakers.

That happened at the Forum, which is now closed. But roughly 25 minutes from that site (or 30, depending on L.A. freeway traffic), Blake Griffin had a similar brush with lucky fate when he put the final touch on a 121-120 overtime Clippers win over the Suns in what could be the No. 1 thriller of the NBA season thus far.

The contest was what you’d expect from a pair of high-scoring teams that love to play freestyle, free-wheeling basketball. The guard-heavy Suns thrive in the open floor and the Clippers, blessed with point guard Chris Paul, favor the fast break as well. The contest was back-and-forth all night, and five extra minutes were tacked on after regulation. As a fan at Staples Center, could you ask for anything more?

Well, yes. A Clippers victory. Which was in doubt until Griffin took an inbounds pass from Paul with the Clippers down a pair and the clock ticking.

But we’ll get to the winning sequence in a minute. First, about Griffin. He had a monster night with 45 points, two shy of his career high. If these teams meet in the playoffs, the Suns might want to watch video of this game (minus the last few seconds) and figure how to keep Griffin from getting to the line (he made 15 of 17 free throws) and how to keep a body on him.

OK, on to the details.

DIFFICULTY

After taking the inbounds pass from Paul, Griffin faked a pass back to Paul, then faced the basket, took a step-back and let it fly from the right elbow beyond the arc. The ball bounced off the rim, then the top of the glass, then fell in. He had to do all of that in 2.6 seconds, which he managed to pull off without a hitch. But not without a few bounces. Hey, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

GAME SITUATION

Blake was only in position to take that shot partly because Jamal Crawford was ejected for the first time in his career in the fourth quarter after arguing a foul call. Normally, Griffin would not get the ball to launch a 3-pointer; he’d attempted only nine all season prior to the shot. Also, the game went into overtime because Paul had his game-winning attempt blocked by Eric Bledsoe (27 points, 16 assists, 11 rebounds) at the fourth-quarter buzzer. Also, the Clippers had the ball because the Suns committed a shot-clock violation. Finally, with a foul to give, the Suns grabbed Griffin just before his game-winner. But instead of shooting while getting fouled, Griffin passed off. He could’ve put himself at the free-throw line with a chance to tie instead of the Clippers being forced to inbound the ball. But it turned out okay for him.

IMPORTANCE

The Clippers stumbled out of the gate to start the season, drawing the ire of coach Doc Rivers and perhaps having owner Steve Ballmer wonder what in the heck he was getting for his $2 billion. But all is well now. The Clippers have won eight straight and are clearly on the rise. Teams in the West have no choice but to see the vortex from L.A. heading their way (hint: It’s not the Lakers). It was the second straight loss for the Suns, whose only real issue is they don’t play in the East.

CELEBRATION

After the swish, er bounce, Griffin took off sprinting down the floor, followed quickly by Paul. As you might also might have expected, Staples was in bedlam. Speaking of Staples, Rivers said he wants the building to be a home-court advantage like it has been (or rather, was) for the Lakers. If the Clippers intend on playing like this, Rivers won’t have any reason to worry about the crowd or the noise level.

GRADE

Look, we realize Griffin got a little lucky. OK, a lot lucky. Still, the shot was the cherry on top of a tremendous performance for him, so we give it three Horrys.

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Jamal Crawford documentary released

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As someone who has spent most of the last decade of my life dealing with NBA players, I am comfortable being on record as saying that Jamal Crawford is one of the true good guys in the NBA. He’s always quick with a smile, a good story, and is one of the most thoughtful guys I’ve come across. But he’s had a peripatetic NBA career — in 14 NBA seasons, he’s had a different head coach (which means a different system) every season. (Assuming Doc Rivers sticks around all season, look for that streak to finally end.) But basketball heads recognize Crawford as a terrific shooter and one of the most entertaining ballhandlers in the game today. This video, from Ball is Life, is a 20-minute documentary about Crawford and what made him who he is. It’s well worth a watch…


VIDEO: J.Crossover

Sir Mix-A-Lot performs at Jamal Crawford’s wedding

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Clippers guard Jamal Crawford is a Seattle native. He lives in Seattle during the off-season, and he helps organize the annual Seattle Pro-Am league.

So when Crawford got married over the weekend, he had the ceremony in Seattle, and put together a collection of some of his favorite artists to perform at the reception, including Tank and Brian McKnight. But he also managed to bring in one of Seattle’s most well-known hip-hop artists, the great Sir Mix-A-Lot, who performed his biggest hit…

(via BIL)

Zach LaVine is an impressive dunker

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — During Las Vegas Summer League, the Hang Time Podcast crew (myself, Sekou Smith and Rick Fox) had the chance to announce a couple of games live on NBA TV. In all, we called three games in one day, and by the time the third game rolled around we were starting to get a little weary.

Luckily, the final game we called was New Orleans against Minnesota, which meant we got to see Timberwolves rookie Zach LaVine, who was everything he was billed as being. LaVine was by no means the most polished player at Summer League, but the 6-5 guard may have been the most athletic, time and again flying through the sky for crazy dunks or blocks.

LaVine showed off that athleticism again yesterday at the Seattle Pro-Am, where he competed in a dunk contest (emcee’d by Jamal Crawford) and was rather impressive. Let’s hope he gives it a shot in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk contest…


VIDEO: LaVine Dunks

(via BIL)

Kobe’s busy weekend in Seattle

By Jeff Case

Kobe Bryant has a documentary that will debut on Showtime in November in which he’ll address the Lakers’ disastrous 2013-14 season, his injury woes and other heavy topics that have been on the mind of the L.A. superstar.

While he’s gearing up for next season (and, no doubt, hoping for a better season than the last), Bryant was in Washington over the weekend and was quite the busy fellow. First, he stopped off at the Seattle Basketball Pro Am and visited with Jamal Crawford while he was there.

He also took part in a charity softball game thrown by Seattle Seahawks superstar Richard Sherman that drew more than 22,000 fans to Safeco Field in Seattle.

How did Kobe do? He just hit a home run …

Not a bad weekend, there, Kobe …

(h/t BallIsLife.com)

NBA players in Pro-Am leagues roundup

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The NBA recently kicked off its Orlando Summer League, a training ground for players trying to prove they deserve a roster spot in the NBA. Meanwhile, some of the NBA’s more proven players spend the summer playing in various pro-am leagues around the country, getting in some work in a setting a little less structured than summer league, but often with just as much talent. Let’s check in on a few NBA players…

Brandon Jennings showed out at LA’s Drew League with a 57-point, 6-rebound, 5-assist performance.

• Also at the Drew League, Paul George did this.

Jabari Parker will be in Vegas with the Bucks’ summer league team, but before he left, he stopped by his hometown Chi League in Chicago to put up 20 and 10 in a game against NBA players such as Will Bynum and Draymond Green. (Video here)

Tony Wroten scored 53 points in the famed Seattle Pro-Am.

Jamal Crawford made scoring 30 look easy in the Seattle Pro-Am.


VIDEO: Crawford scores 30

(via BIL)

Jamal Crawford Has Played For A Lot Of Coaches

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Two years ago, I was having breakfast one morning in Atlanta with Jamal Crawford, who was playing for the Hawks at the time. While we were talking about his career, he casually mentioned that he’d had a different head coach every season of his NBA career. I’d never realized this, and it sounded too amazing to be true. But when I pressed him for details, he ran them all down, one by one. A few months after we spoke, he signed with the Clippers and played a season for a new coach, Vinny Del Negro. Then last summer the Clips went a different way and hired Doc Rivers, meaning Crawford again had a new coach.

During yesterday’s Clips/Thunder game on ABC, Lisa Salters asked Crawford if he could name all the coaches he’s had through the years even in the middle of a game. As Jamal said, he thrives under pressure…


VIDEO: Crawford Names Coaches

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!

Horry Scale: Foye Makes it Fun


VIDEO: Foye Makes It Fun

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s late here on the East Coast, but I started watching the Nuggets/Clippers game in the second half and had this vague idea that maybe, just maybe, this thing could come down to a game-winning buzzer-beater. And that’s why we’re here, right? But no, that probably wasn’t going to happen. Still, I kept watching, and kept watching…and then Randy Foye happened.

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.

OK, so you understand? For your edification, this is the thirteenth GWBB this season, an incredible pace. Can we keep it up? We’re gonna try. In the meantime, let’s break this shot down…

DIFFICULTY
It was a difficult shot, but that was almost completely of the Nuggets’ making. Down 2 points, with just over six seconds to play, the Nuggets ran an inbounds play that didn’t really seem to put them in a situation to succeed. They threw the ball in to Kenneth Faried just inside the three point line. Faried then turned and tossed it to J.J. Hickson, who was even further away from the basket. What are they doing?! With just over 2 seconds left, Hickson found Foye, cutting toward the top of the key on the right side of the court. Foye caught it, well covered by Jamal Crawford. Foye used Hickson as a quasi-pick, and Blake Griffin switched onto Foye. With the clock ticking down, Foye forced up a long, contested three, from four or five feet behind the line, and he drained the shot. It wasn’t much of a play — the shot was born out of necessity more than anything. But Foye drilled it, which is why we’re here.

GAME SITUATION
It had been a back-and-forth game down the stretch, with both teams fighting to grab the lead. Just moments earlier, the Nuggets were sitting on a two point lead, when the Clips got the ball to J.J. Redick. When the defense ran out on Redick, he half-heartedly drove the lane and eventually kicked it out to an open Matt Barnes on the wing, who drained the three to give the Clips a (temporary) 115-113 lead. Denver got the ball back with 6 seconds to play, with a chance to go for two to tie or three to win. They went for three, although again it seemed to be almost an accidental play. Whenever your play-by-play announcer has time to nervously say “Too much time!” twice, that probably wasn’t the play you were going for. But then, it worked, didn’t it?

CELEBRATION
It’s tough to see well in the clip above, but Foye hit the deck when the shot went in, and moments later, several other Nuggets (Hickson and Faried) hit the court and slid into Foye as if he were a base on a baseball diamond. Then the Nuggets performed several group hugs as they all left the floor. Overall, it was a fairly excited celebration, which was fun to see.

GRADE
It was a tough shot — fading left and shooting right. Although, again, this was mostly Denver’s own doing. It wasn’t much of a play, wasn’t much strategy involved. I’d give this two Horrys, except that it was a really, really long three, and I enjoyed the celebration. So I’m giving this three Horrys….

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What say you? How many Horrys would you give Randy Foye’s GWBB?

Carmelo’s 62: Players React On Twitter

By Nick Margiasso IV

Carmelo Anthony may have scored 62 on Friday night — breaking his own, the Knicks’ franchise and the Madison Square Garden points records in the process — but he also did something else. He broke the Internet … especially Twitter.

As always, folks reacted with all kinds of hot-blooded hyperbole on The Big T (not a real nickname for Twitter, but it should be), not least of which were Anthony’s NBA co-workers. Here’s a roundup of their love for Lala‘s boy:

…and some Knicks perspective…