Posts Tagged ‘james harden’

What if James Harden’s beard was Iman Shumpert’s hair?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The title of this post really explains it all. What would it look like if Houston Rockets guard James Harden‘s beard was Cleveland Cavaliers swingman Iman Shumpert‘s hair? Some enterprising person out there used Photoshop to merge these two men of follicular greatness. Somehow this image got back to Shumpert himself, who posted it on Instagram with a note of approval…

Nahhhhh jo the gram gotta chill 😂😂😂 even I'm crying off this one

A photo posted by iMan Shumpert (@imanshumpertthe1st) on

Is James Harden the new King James?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Cavaliers and Rockets had a terrific game yesterday afternoon, battling into overtime and through several game-winning attempts. When the dust settled, the Rockets won 105-103 in overtime. And while several Rockets had great games, they were led by James Harden, who had himself a statement game, finishing with 33 points, 8 rebounds and, more importantly, one big-time win.

Of course, on the losing end of things were the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were led by four-time MVP LeBron James, who finished with 37 points and, as usual, had a hand in everything the Cavs did on Sunday. And sure, he also missed two clutch free throws that could have given the Cavs a late lead. This time LeBron may have come up just a bit short, but considering his history of rings and trophies, he’ll get another chance and will take advantage of the situation.

Still, that didn’t stop the Houston Rockets from gloating a bit after the win. The Rockets official Twitter account tweeted out an image declaring Harden the “new King”…

After one win? Welp. As the saying goes, you come at the King, you best not miss…

Top Plays Spotlight: Hardening the ‘D’


VIDEO: James Harden is piling on the blocks during the 2014-15 season

Monday saw James Harden torment the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves for 31 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and four blocks. The world focused on the triple-double, the fourth of his career, and rightfully so. That last line, the four swats, is also a cause for recognition.

Why? Among NBA guards, Harden has the third-most blocks (46), behind only K.J. McDaniels and Danny Green. There aren’t any clamoring for him to get an All-Defensive team nod (except maybe Clyde Drexler and Daryl Morey), but his effectiveness defending the ball has ratcheted up a notch.

How is he racking up his swats? Smart weak-side help, strong hands, deceptive closeout speed, long arms, timing, timing, timing and strength. The same traits that make him a terror with the ball have emphatically caught DeMarcus Cousins, Zach Randolph (and others) off guard on the other end.

Harden has 26 games to finish off his best season and MVP submission. If he sustains his new-found tendency for rejections (his 46 blocks already are a career high), it will be harder to keep the Maurice Podoloff Trophy off his mantle. Especially with moves like this:


VIDEO: James Harden victimizes Ricky Rubio before sinking the trey

The NBA on Christmas Day: Talking with Kristin Chenoweth

KCHeadshot_2014

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. We’ve already spoken with John Leguizamo, Mario Batali and Anna Chlumsky, and today we wrap up by talking with Emmy and Tony award-winning singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth. An Oklahoma native, Chenoweth has starred on TV in shows such as “The West Wing” and “Glee!,” in movies like Rio 2 and on Broadway in shows including “Wicked” and “Promises, Promises.”

Chenoweth will next be seen on-screen in the Universal film The Boy Next Door, alongside Jennifer Lopez, and in the animated Lucasfilm fairy tale musical Strange Magic, both set to be released on January 23. She’s also completed production on an indie teen drama entitled Hard Sell and the Disney Channel’s live-action original movie “Descendants,” in which she will play the classic Sleeping Beauty villain Maleficent. Chenoweth will also return to Broadway in the Roundabout Theatre Company‘s 20-week limited engagement of “On the Twentieth Century” in early 2015.

Christmas2014ME: Hey Kristin! So I just wanted to talk basketball with you. You probably don’t get to do that that much, right?

KRISTIN: (laughing) Nobody thinks that I can talk basketball. This is a very good gift of a call for me to have.

ME: I know you’re originally from Oklahoma, but were you a basketball fan before the Thunder were there?

KRISTIN: I think I should tell sort of how it came for me, like, this love of basketball. I was always scared of basketball growing up. I was a cheerleader, but I knew I could never play basketball because I’m 4-11. But I always liked cheering at basketball games because they were exciting. I loved the game in and of itself, but I never played, and we never had a professional team, as you know. So, I started dating someone a few years back, six years ago, and he was a humongous L.A. Lakers fan. And I knew that I had to start watching the Lakers. So I did that so I got to know who he was talking about, and I started to fall in love with the players. I really liked Pau Gasol a lot. He’s no longer there, but anyway, we got the Thunder right after that. And my boyfriend was such a big basketball nut he would watch with me, and started to like the Thunder. I started to fall in love with Westbrook and Durant, and I’m still not over Harden. I feel a little bit badly about it, but my Dad tried to explain to me about it being a business decision, and I get that, but I don’t know, it was a little heartbreaking to see him leave. But since that I’ve become an even bigger fan and bigger fan, and I’ve really enjoyed watching basketball.

ME: Are you a Thunder loyalist?

KRISTIN: I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of a lot of teams, because I’m very loyal to my Thunder, but I have a little bit of love for the Spurs — a little bit, even though they’re in direct competition with us. I’m not really loving the Heat, and I’m a little torn about how I feel about LeBron. He went to the Heat and now he’s back in Cleveland, God bless him, but I’m not really a fan of the Heat. I’m not really a fan of the Nuggets. I can’t tell you why, either, other than I just feel like, No. I like the Clippers and the fact that we have an Oklahoman on that team — Blake Griffin. I’m just proud of the Thunder. I’m proud that Oklahoma has such a good team. The beginning of this year did not look good, and we had a lot of injuries and we’re kind of overcoming that. I think Coach [Scott] Brooks is very smart and is grooming the younger players. I’m pretty impressed with Reggie Jackson — I love him and Ibaka, and I love Perkins. Of course I love Westbrook and Durant, but I gotta give love to the entire team, because I see them coming together, and in the beginning of this season, even though we were losing without our guys, I was so proud of how they were learning and how quickly they were learning. To me, that’s the definition of a team, and I think that’s where Scott is so good. Even though he’s a California boy, I’m glad he’s embraced Oklahoma.

ME: I was wondering, because I know you spend a lot of time in New York, do you follow the Knicks as well?

KRISTIN: The Knicks are another team I have love for, because I’m a New Yorker as well. I live in New York and L.A. both, but I’m always gonna follow the New York Jets, Giants — even though that doesn’t really work for a lot of people — Yankees, Mets and Knicks. I’m always gonna do that — New York is like my second home. But if I had to pick, there’s no competition.

ME: You mentioned being 4-11, which made me wonder: Is Nate Robinson your favorite Thunder player of all-time?

KRISTIN: How tall is he? Isn’t he like 5-10?

ME: No, he’s like 5-8, 5-9.

KRISTIN: Nate Robinson is that short? Didn’t he win the dunk contest? Yeah, I loved him. What happened to him? Where is he now?

ME: He’s on your not-favorite Denver Nuggets now.

KRISTIN: That’s! Right! That is right! I still have love for him. He’s short — well, for a basketball player. But it just goes to show, to me, that it doesn’t matter how tall you are. He has the heart of a basketball player and he’s so good. I’m sad to see him with the Nuggets, but again, you lose some and we’re training these awesome players. Like Jeremy Lamb, he’s a baby, but in five years what’s he going to be doing? I’m excited to see.

ME: So do you feel like this is the year for the Thunder to finally break through and win a title?

KRISTIN: Well, that’s a tough one. Because I’m always going to want to say yes. I think there’s still time to prove ourselves, yes, I do. I think that we have to overcome a lot. I think we have to overcome injury. If we can do that, and we don’t lose anybody, then yeah, I think we have a shot. The Spurs are making me nervous. Of course, any team that LeBron plays on makes me nervous. Two years ago was really painful. And I was on tour and they had said if we make it to the Finals will you sing the National Anthem? And I had said, ‘Hell yeah! I’m in the middle of tour but I’ll move a show.” I might have cried, I’m not going to say. But I have these really high heels, these Oklahoma City Thunder pumps, but I wore them on stage, just to show my love. I think like three of my shoes could fit in Kevin Durant’s shoe.

ME: So let’s get your Christmas Day picks. First game is Washington Wizards at New York Knicks.

KRISTIN: I’m gonna have to go with the Knicks.

ME: Second game is Oklahoma City Thunder at the San Antonio Spurs. No contest here, I’m guessing.

KRISTIN: The Thunder all the way. We’re gonna kick San Antonio’s [butt]. I predict it. Take that, San Antonio [laughs].

ME: Cleveland Cavaliers at the Miami Heat?

KRISTIN: Oh man, you know I’m watching that game. Um, I’m gonna have to go with the Cavs. A) I’m not a fan of the Heat, and B) LeBron’s on the Cavs.

ME: Two more. The Los Angeles Lakers at the Chicago Bulls?

KRISTIN: The Bulls, they’re gonna win. They’re having a good year, I forgot about them.

ME: And then the last one is the Warriors against the other team from Los Angeles, the Clippers.

KRISTIN: I like the Clippers, I like the Clippers. By the way, the first game you mentioned…

ME: Wizards at the Knicks?

KRISTIN: The Wizards are better than I thought they would be. Is that new this year?

ME: They were pretty good last season, made the second round of the Playoffs, but this season they’re better than they’ve been in a long time.

KRISTIN: I know, right? I caught a little bit of their game and I forget who they were playing, but I was like, What the hell is going on here? They’re not bad, not bad. Well, let’s see how close I get, I may have just called all five games.

ME: You did pick the Knicks.

KRISTIN: I know, I know, but I did that out of loyalty.

ME: Understood. Last thing: On Christmas Day will you actually sit at home and watch the games?

KRISTIN: I’ll watch the Thunder because I’m going home to Oklahoma, and everything stops in Oklahoma when the Thunder play, as well it should. So I’ll be watching with my Dad and my cousins and everybody. And I really want to see the Cavs/Heat game.

James Harden makes bold NBA Style choice

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Houston Rockets took on the Los Angeles Lakers last night on ESPN, and James Harden was not about to let the opportunity slide. With a nationally televised game against one of the NBA’s marquee franchises, on the same day as the debut of his hilarious Foot Locker commercial, Harden decided to show off his NBA Style with a bold sweatshirt.

And as often happens in matters of NBA Style, some people on Twitter were willing to share their opinions…

(more…)

Duncan, Rose, Harden welcome Week of Greatness at Foot Locker

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Foot Locker is kicking off their Week of Greatness, in which each day they release different highly anticipated sneakers and apparel. And to get the word out, they’ve released a series of terrific commercials. Two of the spots don’t feature NBA players (Manny Pacquiao and John Cena), but two other spots star NBA players and are genuinely great. Check out Tim Duncan being excited (well, for him) when he gets a call from Derrick Rose, and James Harden playing on his rep for not being defensive…


VIDEO: Duncan excited


VIDEO: Harden defensive

OKC hosts block party for Houston


VIDEO: OKC get three rejections in one possession against the Rockets

There was a brick fair of enormous magnitude in Oklahoma City on Sunday and it was all in Chesapeake Energy Arena. James Harden missed 12 of 17. Dwight Howard missed 10 of 14 — 19 of 27 if you count free throws. Houston’s stars weren’t the only culprits. In fact, nobody shot 50 percent from the field. Nobody.

The Rockets shot 28.7 percent from the field, undoubtedly helped to that figure by the ridiculous rim protection from the trio of Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. Fourteen blocks combined, they threw six offerings from Howard. Credit the Rockets for continuing to challenge the Thunder, but their intrepidity in the paint was likely necessitated by their abysmal launching from deep (7-for-35 out there).

Despite Houston’s shooting woes, it got the 69-65 win (read that score again slowly) because OKC wasn’t much better (29.4 percent). It was a physical affair, replete with four technical fouls, a Pat Beverley sighting and more trash talk than a little bit. Win or no win, the Thunder, particularly young big man Adams, gave the Rockets a rim party to remember.


VIDEO: OKC swats 15 shots in Sunday’s narrow loss to the Rockets

Kevin Durant coaches a blindfolded James Harden

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and James Harden have reunited since their conscious uncoupling in a commercial for BBVA, the Spanish banking company. But this new ad starring the duo is a doozy. In it, Harden faces off against three defenders, while blindfolded, inside a cage atop the BBVA building in Madrid, while Durant coaches him from a command center in Oklahoma City. It’s a little like a fight scene from a movie — why don’t all three defenders just attack the ball at once? But at the same time, it sure is fun to watch…


VIDEO: Harden Durant

Buzzer-beaters take over the night

Last night featured the biggest slate of NBA games since April, with 15 teams in action. The usual wonders of athleticism were on display from the usual suspects: James Harden, Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, et al. Equally on display were the abnormal number of buckets swished right before end-of-the quarter horns.

Everybody who has put up shots alone has done it. “5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 …” Launch. In the Bulls-Pistons overtime affair, there were four buzzer-beaters to close a frame. And on and on it went, an endless loop of dramatic finishes, celebrations and dejection.

Another night like this and I don’t know if I can wait another three weeks for opening night.


VIDEO: It was buzzer-beaters galore Tuesday night

Beat James Harden in H-O-R-S-E


VIDEO: Harden Horse

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’ve seen some of the hilarious ads James Harden has made for Foot Locker, but now he’s teamed up with Foot Locker for something a little more serious. And with this project, you can challenge James Harden.

Yesterday, Harden and Foot Locker challenged the internet to a game of H-O-R-S-E. The way this works is simple: You take (and make) a crazy shot, and make sure you film yourself doing it with your phone or GoPro or whatever. Upload your video and hashtag it #HorseWithHarden at @footlocker, and on October 1, Harden will attempt to match the shots. And if he loses, we all win!

Since this was announced yesterday, a few contenders have already popped up on Twitter…