Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Teague’

Talking wrestling with Jeff Teague

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — On Friday night, I went to Brooklyn and saw the Atlanta Hawks beat the Nets, 93-88, behind 22 points from Hawks point guard Jeff Teague. After the game, reporters gathered around Teague to ask about the game. I waited, because I wanted to ask him about something completely different.

A week earlier, I’d noticed Teague tweet during Wrestlemania following The Undertaker‘s first-ever Wrestlemania loss…

So once Teague finished talking about the game, I put him in the squared circle for a brief chat about something we both enjoy: wrestling…

Me: Jeff, are you still upset about The Undertaker losing and ending his winning streak last week at Wrestlemania?

Jeff Teague: I am! I am mad about that. I can’t believe they did that, man.

Me: Was that your favorite streak in sports?

JT: Yeah! Definitely! I mean, besides Kyle (Korver) when he had the three point streak. After that, it was the Undertaker.

Me: Were you surprised Brock Lesnar was the one who ended it?

JT: Yeah, they could have picked somebody better than that. The could’ve got CM Punk, anybody. But I think it was a mistake. I don’t think it was supposed to happen like that.

Me: Did you watch Wrestlemania?

JT: Yeah, I watched it.

Me: What was your favorite match?

JT: I actually like Bray Wyatt. That’s my guy right there.

Me: Were you excited to see Daniel Bryan win the titles?

JT: I like him, he’s OK. I’m not a big fan.

Me: Did you prefer Randy Orton having the titles?

JT: I like Orton. I guess I like all the bad guys. I guess you could say that.

Me: Who’s your favorite wrestler?

JT: I like the Wyatts. And I’m a fan of John Cena, kinda. My nephew likes him a lot.

Me: Who was your favorite growing up?

JT: Stone Cold, The Rock.

Me: If you were a wrestler, what kind of wrestler would you be? A high flyer? A technical guy?

JT: I’d be like Bray Wyatt. I like how he gets the crowd going with him, singing his song.

Atlanta Hawks Players Show Off English Accents

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As the NBA has worked to expand its global reach, more and more games have been played in locations around the world. Next week the NBA returns to England, as the Hawks and Nets will play a regular season game in London’s O2 Arena. To get into the international spirit of things, the Hawks recorded a video where several players try to speak with an English accent. The key word there is “try”…


VIDEO: Atlanta Hawks English Accents

Horry Scale: Dre Delivers


VIDEO: Andre Iguodala’s Game Winner In Atlanta

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — AHHH. Of course, it happened again. After I lamented Joe Johnson rudely intruding on my vacation with his Game Winning Buzzer Beater last night, of course Andre Iguodala had to get in on this as well. You want a vacation? Suck it up, buddy! Sorry Mom and Dad!

Like I said last night, I know we usually air these posts out a bit, but this one is going to be a bit more to the point, because, you know, vacation. But 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.

And so here we are, with Andre Iguodala tearing me away from movie night with the family to write another Horry Scale post. (BTW, thanks Dre!) Let’s do this…

DIFFICULTY
It was just six weeks ago that Andre Iguodala hit a GWBB to beat the Thunder. This time Andre was the inbounds man instead of setting the pick. He got the ball in to Stephen Curry, and the Hawks immediately doubled Curry. In the circumstance, this seemed like the right thing to do, because, you know, it’s Steph Curry and draining crazy threes is the kind of thing Curry does. Curry made the smart play and hit the open Iguodala, and Dre spun around and, completely unguarded, drained the long three for the win. Jeff Teague made a late charge at him, but it was too little (literally), too late. Simple, smart basketball by the Warriors. And if the Hawks were going to double someone, they should probably have had someone ready to rotate to the shooter quicker than they did.

GAME SITUATION
I grew up a Hawks fan, so I’m used to seeing the Hawks blow close games at the buzzer. That said, with Al Horford injured and out for the season, this is the type of game the Hawks probably aren’t supposed to even be close in, much less have a chance at winning. The Warriors were down 8 heading into the fourth, but they mounted an epic comeback to not only get into the game but to win it with that long last second three. Nice road win for Golden State, tough home loss for the ATLiens.

CELEBRATION
The Warriors managed to piece together my favorite type of celebration, where they exit the floor as they’re cheering on the shot. Also, Dre appeared to shout out someone in the crowd as he sprinted to the opposite end of the court. (Maybe Harry the Hawk? Spirit the Hawk?) Klay Thompson was gesturing for everyone to get on their feet, even as all the Warriors cleared the floor. Also worth noting, someone in an orange shirt sprinted off the Warriors bench and narrowly missed delivering a shivering chest bump to Iguodala. I’m guessing that was Kent Bazemore, because that seems like a really Kent Bazemore thing to do.

GRADE
Clutch shot. Not an easy shot, because a three-pointer with the clock ticking down isn’t easy. But then, it was an open shot, and it was the kind of shot Andre Iguodala loves to take, even with the pressure on him. So for those reasons and more, I’m giving this shot Three Horrys…

horry-star horry-star horry-star

What say you? How many Horrys does Andre Iguodala’s shot deserve?

NBA Behind The Scenes: Highlight School

ATLANTA, GA — I stepped into the darkened soundproof booth and, with a palpable feeling of dread, pulled the door closed behind me. As it clicked shut, I surveyed my surroundings: one small light casting a dim glow in the otherwise black room; a music stand to place my notes; a flatscreen monitor embedded in the wall; a microphone and headphones, silently taunting me.

It was the day after Christmas, but there was nothing festive about this. I pulled the headphones over my ears and shuffled my notes on the stand in front of me. I could hear my own panicked breathing through the headphones, could hear my shirt and sweater ruffle with the slightest move of my arm.

Just as I began to run my eyes over the shot sheets in front of me for a final time, the voice of NBA.com associate producer Charles Staples crackled through the headphones.

“OK,” Charles said, “if you’re comfortable we can give this a go.”

“Yeah, I’m…I mean, I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” I said, resigning myself to this fate.

“Great. So you’ll hear a series of beeps in the headphones to count you down, and then you’re on.”

For better or worse, I thought.

You click an icon, you watch a fully illustrative highlight from pretty much any game in any league — that is how streamlined and simple highlight delivery has become these days. It wasn’t that long ago that the only highlights available to the sporting public were once a day during the last five minutes of local news. The arrival of ESPN made highlights more frequent, and then the advent of the internet has made highlights basically omnipresent.

But how do those highlights come about? I wanted to find out. On the night of December 26, 2013, I arrived at Turner Studios a little before 7:00 P.M., where Gerald Smith, NBA.com’s Senior Multimedia Producer, met me. Even though I work for NBA Digital, and in turn work for Turner Sports, I work out of New York City, so I don’t know the geography of the massive Turner compound in Atlanta. Gerald and I walked about eight miles from the visitor’s entrance to the Turner Sports studios, a huge building which backs up against 10th Street in Midtown Atlanta. This is effectively the NBA.com highlight factory, where entire games are logged, recorded, edited, voiced over and posted online for the world to consume.

As we walked, Gerald told me that I’d be recording the highlight for the Hawks/Cavaliers game. As a native Atlantan, I’ve followed the Hawks my entire life, so I felt pretty comfortable with doing a Hawks highlight — in theory, at least.

Once we reached the studios, we went to the Feeds area, where about a dozen people were monitoring and logging all the games happening on a plethora of screens. Once there, we met up with my main man Jared Greenberg. Jared is one of the anchors on NBA TV, and part of a rotation of guys (along with Beau Estes and Matt D’Agostino) who take turns staying late at the studio to record voiceovers on highlights.

We parked at a deserted desk to watch the Hawks/Cavs game, and of course it turned out to be one of the most exciting games of the year. We looked on in surprise as regulation stretched into overtime, and then overtime went into double-overtime. I used the bonus time to flip through some of the game previews on NBA.com and on the team websites, finding stats that might be relevant to drop into the highlight. (For instance, the Hawks had lost five consecutive road games coming in to this one.) When Al Horford injured his chest area and left the game, Jared and I quickly looked up when his previous chest injury had occurred ( and which side it had been on to make sure we had everything correct.

During a break, Gerald and I went into the Feeds room. In a cubicle off to the side, I was introduced to Matt Gaynes, the editor who had been assigned to edit the highlight of the Hawks/Cavs game. The game was midway through the third quarter at the time, and Matt said the highlight he was cutting was at that moment up to date with the game. So as soon as the game ended, we would just need to match a voiceover to the video and we’d be good to go.

As the game stretched on, with each crazy make and crucial miss, I wondered how I should describe that particular play. The major part of my problem was that I had no signature style or experience to fall back on. When I have to write a sentence, there are certain words and phrases I like to use and am comfortable grabbing out of my brain on short notice. But talking over a highlight is a completely different animal, an animal I was rather uncomfortable wrestling with. If anything, I felt like it must feel to be a stand-up comedian who climbs onto the stage in front of a rowdy crowd and has no material. Even worse, I knew I had no material. It wasn’t that I don’t know basketball, or the Hawks or the Cavaliers, or even a little bit about the art of broadcasting, but I’m pretty sure that for most people, their very first try voicing a highlight probably doesn’t get posted on a website that averages tens of millions of video streams each week.

As the buzzer sounded to end the second overtime, Hawks guard Jeff Teague fired up a long jumper that caromed off nearly every portion of the rim before finally dropping through as the buzzer howled. Game over. Hawks win, 127-125 in double OT.

Maybe five minutes later, someone came by and handed Jared and me copies of the shot sheet. This is a piece of paper that lists, in order, every clip that made it into the final highlight, with the accompanying score and game time remaining for each clip. This would be the road map Jared and I would use, albeit it seemed to be a decidedly text-heavy map for a primarily visual journey. The first shot on the sheet was a Jeff Teague runner at the end of regulation. This meant that all the work Matt had done when I met him earlier had been left on the cutting room floor in order to make room for all the overtime exploits and preserve this as a roughly two-minute clip.

Jared graciously sat with me and walked me through the shot sheet, helping me figure out at which point we should note, for instance, that Jeff Teague had finished with a career high, or when to point out that Kyrie Irving was trying to avenge his only scoreless pro appearance. As a writer, I tried to put some thought into crafting an interesting lead to the highlight, and decided to make some sort of reference to it being the day after Christmas and this game being a gift. I also knew that with the Hawks win, I wanted to throw an “#ATLshawty” into the highlight, referencing the Twitter hashtag I frequently use whenever Atlanta teams notch a victory.

Perhaps five minutes after we’d been given the shot sheet, Jared strolled to the voiceover booth and disappeared inside. I stood at Charles’s desk and listened to Jared record his take, the take NBA.com users would hear. Jared did it without having actually seen the highlight, but he managed to make it work smoothly, and even got the catchphrase he likes to use (“You betcha!”) in there. It was a nice mix of stats, descriptions and fun. Just seconds after Jared stepped out of the booth, the video you see below was live on NBA.com…


VIDEO: Hawks at Cavs Real Highlights

As I watched Jared’s take go down flawlessly, my own trepidation increased in equal measure. When he finished and I walked toward the booth, the overwhelming feeling I had was one of fear, mainly because I knew if I stopped talking while on the mic, there would just be dead air in the background. And while there is an occasional time and place for silence on a sports broadcast — maybe on a live telecast after a game-winner, for instance — a fast and furious highlight did not feel like that place. I also realized a moment like that should probably happen intentionally, not as a result of the announcer’s inexperience.

Soon enough I was in the room, alone with my insecurities. The series of beeps I’d been warned about began counting down the time until the highlight started. I said later that it felt like the beeps were counting down until the firing squad went to work, and in a way this was correct: When the beeps ended, the video came at me, and like it or not I had to start talking. So I did.

You could argue that I have a voice for print, meaning I don’t have the same golden pipes many of the more iconic broadcasters of all-time possess. This would likely be a winning argument on your part. But the way I chose look at it, there’s a thin, fragile line between being an anchorman and Anchorman. And I am in no danger of getting anywhere near that line.

In the end, we recorded two takes, the second nominally better than the first mostly due to trial and error and error and error. It didn’t take me long to figure out that paying attention to the highlight was more important than keeping my eyes glued to the stat sheet. And talking to fill the dead air wasn’t a problem as long as I could talk about what was happening on the screen in front of me. But at this point I felt like I was running wind sprints with a twenty-pound weight tied to my leg. I was doing my best, but I knew as I was doing it that my best was just not good enough. Doing highlights was infinitely harder than it seemed.

Being my own worst critic is a trait that is both annoying and, occasionally, helpful, as it drives me to give my best and strive to meet my own high expectations. Which in some ways made recording the voiceover pretty frustrating: Could I do better? Yes. Would I do much better on this evening? No, that would only come with at least a few weeks of reps. On this evening, at least, it was what it was. The entire experience will definitely go down as a highlight of my professional career. You just might not want me to be the one recording the voiceover on it.

You can watch the video below to see what I went through that evening, and stay tuned to the end for my version of the highlight…


VIDEO: Lang Goes To Highlight School

Horry Scale: Teague Time


VIDEO: Teague’s Winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Perhaps you thought you were done unwrapping presents, but tonight in Cleveland, the Hawks and Cavs had one last gift for you. It was one of the most entertaining games of the season, so of course it had to end (not in regulation, not in overtime, but in double overtime) with a game-winning buzzer-beater from Hawks guard Jeff Teague.

Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain: 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.

With the rules in place, tonight we look to the shores of Lake Erie, to Cleveland, where Jeff Teague could not be stopped…not even by Uncle Drew.

DIFFICULTY
To be fair, it wasn’t the toughest shot in the world — Teague drove left and pulled up for the right-handed jumper, kind of like Hawks guard Mike Bibby used to do. The simple genius in this play was the Hawks running Paul Millsap at Teague with about 6 seconds left to ostensibly set a screen. Millsap got to Teague and set what was basically a token screen, and the Cavs switched the pick. Now, we’ve talked about switching picks here previously — pretty much every NBA team switches picks in the final seconds because the last thing you want is someone who is totally unguarded. You might end up with a mismatch, but at least you’ve got someone defending everyone. On this play, that meant the Cavs went from having Kyrie Irving on Teague to having the 6-foot-9 Tristan Thompson guarding Teague. (Kyrie, by the way, was equally huge tonight, finishing with 40 points and 9 assists). This is what is known as a mismatch, and it only took Teague a few dribbles to shake Thompson and clear room for the last-second shot.

GAME SITUATION
It is in this category that this shot really soars. To begin with, Teague missed a floater with seconds left in regulation that would have broken the tie at 95. Not long into the first overtime, Hawks All-Star center Al Horford had an injury to what appeared to be his right shoulder/chest that took him out of the game, and forced the Hawks to use a variety of makeshift lineups down the stretch. With about 7 seconds left in OT and the Hawks down three, Teague drained a long three-pointer to tie the game at 108. Then with 2.4 seconds left in overtime, the Hawks had a shot at a GWBB from the baseline that Teague couldn’t connect on, sending the game into double OT. In the second OT, Teague had a huge drive-and-one to give the Hawks a 125-123 lead, and then with the game level at 125, Teague ended it. Basically, the situation couldn’t have been much more dramatic. And Teague put the bow on top.

CELEBRATION
I’m going to lump the ball going through the rim as part of the celebration, because it doesn’t really fit anywhere else (it’s not “difficulty,” it’s just lucky) and that was a huge part of what made this such a great shot. The ball hit the rim five times, I believe, and it may have even kissed the glass somwhere in there, all while the buzzer was sounding in the background and you wondered, “It’s not going to…no way…that can’t…ohmygoshhemadeit!” And then after the ball drops, you see Teague laying flat on the ground celebrating — not only the GWBB but also a career-high 34 points — with Kyle Korver pounding on his chest. This was the first prone Horry Scale celebration of the season, I believe.

GRADE
For reasons that will become evident in the next week or so, I watched this game intently from the Turner Studios in Atlanta, and the deeper the game went, the more sure I was that we’d have a GWBB. It was an exciting, close game, and it had an equally exciting finish. So for all the reasons detailed above, I’m giving this Four Horrys. I thought seriously about giving this a Five just because it was such a great game, but I felt the actual shot could have had a bit of a higher degree of difficulty.

horry-star horry-star horry-star horry-star

What say you? How many Horrys would you give Jeff Teague’s GWBB?

Jeff Teague Finishes Insane Dunk That Doesn’t Count

by Zettler Clay IV

At the Highlight Factory in Atlanta on Friday, all eyes were on James Hardenand rightfully so. But early in the game, Jeff Teague compiled a highlight that will live on in video archives, among hoop junkies and Teague family dinners.

Just not on the stat sheet in the points column.



I’m going to go on record and say that Teague will record a few more fouls in his career. I doubt any of them will be as impressive as this.

Jeff Teague makes a new enemy

by Zettler Clay

Maybe “enemy” is too strong, but whatever the appropriate word ends up being, it’s safe to say that the Hawks’ Jeff Teague will get no Christmas card from Kevin Garnett. In the midst of a snail-fest in Philips Arena, there was a sudden dose of excitement of the aerial variety:



Predictably, Garnett didn’t care much for the post-dunk theatrics (which we here at All Ball thoroughly appreciate; things aren’t the same without a provoked KG).

The Big Ticket’s reply, when asked about the dunk that seemed to energize the Celtics?

“I don’t even know who you talking about. That guy’s a nobody.”

Well, then. Maybe a glimpse into the old flippant Garnett is just what this Celtics team I need.

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Frye invents a technique

by Zettler Clay

Apparently, Channing Frye came up with a new way to defend baseline drives — and by “new way,” I mean jump at the offensive player with your arms glued to your ribs. Or something like that.


Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Conventional wisdom: May 16th

by Micah Hart

Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Monday, May 16.

Start planning the parade:

Chicago Bulls

Pretty impressive show by the Bulls last night in Game 1. Derrick Rose continues to show why he’s the league’s MVP, getting into the lane at his choosing, and hitting several shots from the perimeter to boot. Honestly, if Rose is hitting 3-pointers, you might as well just hand the trophy to Chicago now and save the other teams the embarrassment, because he is literally unguardable when his jump shot is falling.

Here’s a question for you: Who has been the breakout young talent of these playoffs? You could say Atlanta’s Jeff Teague, or OKC’s James Harden, or perhaps Dallas’s J.J. Barea, but you’d be wrong. The answer is Chicago’s Taj Gibson, who, much like Nuke LaLoosh, announced his presence with authority last night:

The Bulls shot the ball exceptionally well last night, and that in and of itself is perhaps a little fluky, but the defensive effort (holding Miami to 82 points in 83 possession) and the offensive rebounding numbers (19 boards, leading to 31 second-chance points) are not. Those are huge advantages Chicago holds in this series, and they will carry them to a surprisingly easy series win and onto the NBA Finals.

Give it up already:

Miami Heat

The problem the Heat have, and there is really no way to avoid it, is that they are playing three-on-five in the best of situations in this series. And that’s when their starters are on the court. What about when they need a rest?

The Heat are quality-not-quantity, and matched up against the Bulls, who had the NBA’s best bench during the regular season, they are going to be in trouble any time any of the Super Friends is off the court.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all pretty much need to play 48 minutes every night for the Heat to even have a prayer against the Bulls. And even that probably isn’t enough.

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Bragging Rights Bracket: No. 1 Wake Forest vs. No. 4 Memphis



by Micah Hart

For the complete Bragging Rights rules and to vote for other matchups, click here. We move now to the East region, with No. 1 seed Wake Forest taking on Memphis, fresh off a win over Marquette in last week’s play-in game.

VS

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Starters (all stats per 48 minutes):

Chris Paul, Hornets: 21.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 13.1 assists, 0.1 blocks, 3.3 steals
Josh Howard, Wizards: 17.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.6 blocks, 1.5 steals
Tim Duncan, Spurs: 22.5 points, 15.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 3.3 blocks, 1.2 steals
Al-Farouq Aminu, Clippers: 15.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 blocks, 2.0 steals
James Johnson, Raptors: 15.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 2.9 blocks, 2.4 steals

Missed the cut: Darius Songaila, Sixers; Jeff Teague, Hawks; Ish Smith, Grizzlies

Team synopsis: Wake Forest may not seem like much, but they do have the best point guard in the NBA and the greatest power forward of all time, which makes them pretty dangerous no matter who else is on the court. Howard may not be the All-Star he was in Dallas, but he can still be pretty dangerous. Aminu and Johnson are youngsters with talent who don’t get a ton of minutes, but their per-48 stats suggest that could change down the road.

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