ALL BALL NERVE CENTER – In a recent interview on ESPN.com’s True Hoop blog, Oklahoma City Thunder main man Nick Collison made a stunning admission: NBA players have turned their culinary attention from Cheesecake Factory to Benihana. Now, we can debate whether or not NBA players should ever have cared about Cheesecake Factory to begin with, but I understood the logic behind their patronage: NBA players are constantly looking to keep weight on and load carbs, so why not eat at a restaurant that has enormous portion sizes?
But Benihana? Benihana can really be an ordeal. I can’t imagine a group of players sharing a table with a kid having a birthday party. Then again, come to think of it, there’s a lot to like about Benihana, from the signature sauces served with each meal, to the green tea at the end of each experience.
All of this brings us to JaVale McGee, the spiritual representative of the All Ball Blog and an all-around good guy. When I saw that there was a short video of McGee and some of the Nuggets eating at Benihana, I was hopeful this video would feature JaVale ordering one of those stacks of onions that the chefs turn into a volcano, or maybe one of the Nuggets players making fried rice for the table, but instead it’s a pretty low-key time. I do love that within days of Collison making his pronouncement, we immediately get actual footage of NBA players in a Benihana, led by JaVale. And from the looks of it, this video is why they hit up Benihana in the first place: Chill bros around a huge table-top grill, munching on a little surf and turf.
Ladies and gentlemen, behold! The main character of the weekly series, “Shaqtin A Fool,” has parlayed his numerous appearances and bouts of ineptitude into a television show on Oprah’s network, OWN.
That’s right, JaVale McGee and his momager, Pam, will be on the tube away from the basketball court. Don’t know about you, but this is the best news I’ve heard this month:
The new OWN series “Millionaire Mama’s Boy” explores the dynamic relationship between former WNBA basketball star Pamela McGee and her 25-year-old son, Denver Nuggets center, JaVale McGee. Famous for being domineering on and off the court, Pamela is not only JaVale’s mom, she’s also his business manager, working to build an empire while trying to keep a tight rein on the glitz and girls that come with the life of an NBA star.
Over the course of an NBA season, there are plenty of gems that go unnoticed by even the most acute of basketball eyes. Don’t tell that to Nate Timmons of SB Nation, who records and delivers this beauty from the end of the Nuggets-Jazz affair in Denver on Saturday:
Ty Lawson pulls off the perfect heist of teammate JaVale McGee, which is perfect only because of a Nuggets bench that either a) doesn’t see what’s going on or b) sees it, but pretends not to. This gives the scene a glow of childlike fun inherent in team sports since we started in the schoolyard.
Kudos to Kosta Koufos, who nails the requisite “distract mark from fact he’s being took” role. McGee had no idea and for all we know, he still might be looking for that shoe.
As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.
With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Phoenix Suns, who played three straight from Mar. 14-16.
The Phoenix Suns’ season can pretty easily be summed up by their two entries in the three for all challenge. In their first foray back in February, Phoenix went winless, part of a four-game skid that saw the team fall a season-worst seven games under .500 after a loss to the Lakers on Feb. 17.
That game must have shook something loose in the desert, because ever since the Suns have been scorching, winning 10 of 13 games and moving all the way back to .500 on the season at the culmination of their second threeplay:
Game 1: Suns 120, Jazz 111 – Part of the reason for the Suns’ success has been the production the team has been getting from up and down the roster. To wit: Channing Frye dropped a season-high 26 points (with nine rebounds), Marcin Gortat had 25, and Jared Dudley had 21 in the win over the Jazz. 1 point
Game 2: Suns 91, Clippers 87 - Home win over the Jazz? Not bad, but nothing special. Road win over the Clippers? Now that’s a nice win, despite how weird it makes me feel to write that sentence. Oh, and did I mention they did it without Grant Hill and Steve Nash, who picked up DNP-OMs (Did Not Play – Old Men)? Seriously. Sebastian Telfair started this game. Crazy season indeed. 4 points (3 for win, 1 for road)
Game 3: Suns 109, Pistons 101 - I give Bassy credit for holding down the fort while Nash took the night off against LAC, and the rest paid off for Steve as he dished out 17 dimes, tied for a season high, against Detroit. Back to what I was saying earlier about contributions from everywhere? Robin Lopez had 14 points off the bench in this one, and Michael Redd had 11. If I so much as get a hangnail from now on, I’m going to Phoenix to have the Suns’ medical staff take a look at it. 5 points
It’s not so long ago that everyone was proclaiming this a lost season in Phoenix, and up until Thursday’s trade deadline many were holding out hope that the #FreeSteveNash movement would mercifully spring Canada’s finest from his Arizona prison.
Instead, the Suns join the Heat, Bulls, and Thunder (owners of the league’s three best records) as the only teams to go undefeated in the three play, and in doing so moved into 9th place in the Western Conference playoff chase, just two games behind the Nuggets, who just traded for JaVale McGee, so good luck with that. 10 points for the Suns, and total redemption for their first effort a month ago. This could be a playoff team after all.
Up next: The Clippers take their second crack at the triumvirate, playing three straight Mar. 20-22.
Blake Griffin is arguably the most exciting player in the NBA, and here at NBA.com we’ve shown you almost nothing but BG highlights since he first set foot on the floor for the Clippers. But if we are going to poke fun at guys like JaVale McGee and … well mostly JaVale, it feels like we have to show this as well.
I’m going to go on record and say that Blake may have several of the best dunks in NBA history, but this is also probably the worst pair of FTs of all time. See what I mean:
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before in an NBA game. I have a feeling this week’s episode of Shaqtin’ a Fool will hit a little close to home for the Diesel.
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JaVale McGee. Never a meh moment. Never provoking ennui.
I’m not sure what was more noteworthy. The coaches’ hysteria? The look of mischievous stoicism on his face as he trots back down court? The apathetic resignation from his teammates? The fact that the ball went 2,332 rows in the stands?
Of course this isn’t the first time McGee’s been sent to the bench for the outlandish. On one hand, the inner Naismith wants to come out and ream the underachieving talent for the (purposeful?) bouts of ineptitude. On the other, you can’t help but be amused by the “innocent Dennis the Menace, doesn’t know any better” charm.