Posts Tagged ‘Jeremy Lamb’

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.

Horry Scale: Harris Has It


VIDEO: Harris Has It

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And we’re back. Not even five weekdays since Randy Foye roused us on a quiet Monday evening, and the Horry Scale has been awakened by a rim-rattling dunk from Orlando’s Tobias Harris.

One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure 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, 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 inbounds play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.

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 our records, this is the fourteenth GWBB this season, so our record-setting pace continues unabated. for now, let’s break this shot down…

DIFFICULTY

It was an undefended dunk, the kind of dunk Tobias Harris has probably converted hundreds or even thousands of times in his life. But I doubt he’s ever put one down with literally no time left on the clock. After Kevin Durant missed his jumper that would have put Oklahoma City up 3, Victor Oladipo out-fought Thabo Sefolosha and Reggie Jackson to corral the ball, and by the time Oladipo had it and was heading up court, there were just under 4 seconds remaining. Even though they had a timeout remaining, the Magic played on and took advantage of the numbers. In the next four seconds, Oladipo dribbled the length of the court and got into the paint, where Jeremy Lamb stepped up to cut off his drive. Lamb left Maurice Harkless alone on the baseline, and Oladipo hit him with a bounce pass. Harkless caught the ball with 1.5 seconds remaining, and immediately dished it back to a trailing Tobias Harris, who dunked it home with no time remaining. It was a terrific pass by Harkless, but it was as gutsy as it was fundamentally sound — with such a miniature amount of time left, this game was pretty close to ending with Harris a couple of inches away from a GWBB. But he made it, and the Magic won in thrilling come-from-behind fashion.

GAME SITUATION

The Thunder had an 8-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Magic outscored them 23-14 in the fourth to get the W. There were two things about the situation around this particular play that stuck out to me: 1. Durant shot the ball with about 3 seconds left on the shot clock. I know he was able to get to one of his preferred spots on the court, at the free throw line extended, which is a shot he makes more often than not. But if he’d been able to wait just a second longer, the Magic wouldn’t have had the time to grab the board and do what they did. 2. The Thunder had a small lineup in at the time, and when Durant’s shot went up, Serge Ibaka was the only member of the Thunder anywhere near the rim in a rebounding position. And the long bounce from the miss then took him out of contention for the rebound.

CELEBRATION

Now that’s a celebration. With no time on the clock, the Magic players knew they could celebrate, so the bench guys rushed the court. The camera work became shaky, like something out of a movie. Harris received a trio of chest bumps, ending with a thunderous hug from Big Baby Davis. Also, you want to see what disbelief looks like? Check out the Thunder bench…

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GRADE

As I wrote above, and I hope you remember this, IT ISN’T ONLY ABOUT THE SHOT. It’s about the entire play, and the accumulated circumstances surrounding the shot. As a dunk, in a vacuum, for an NBA player it wasn’t the most difficult shot. But put everything together, including a lottery team playing the best team in the West, and making a shot while down a point to win the game, and it was a pretty epic play for the Magic. I can’t give this 5 stars, only because this is a regular season game and I have to be able to still go up from here once we reach the playoffs. So instead, I’m giving this 4 Horrys, the same grade to which I retroactively rated Jeff Green’s season-opening shot.

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What say you? How many Horrys would you give Tobias Harris’s GWBB?

NBA Rooks: Diaries … Jeremy Lamb




By Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder

When I first found out I was getting traded from Houston to Oklahoma City about a month ago, it was a shock and definitely unexpected. I played summer league and preseason with the Rockets, and when I found out I was getting traded, I knew I was going to have to learn a new system, a new coaching staff and new teammates.

I had no idea the trade was coming, and wasn’t sure how it was going to work out. But both teams talked me through it. First, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey talked to me about it. About 30 to 45 minutes later, Thunder general manager Sam Presti called me to tell me I’d be going to Oklahoma City and that they were going to fly me out the next day and get started right away. Coach [Scott] Brooks also called me that night.

I left around 4 p.m. the next day, so there was very little time to say goodbyes. I had a chance to talk to some people, including Coach [Kevin] McHale. I liked him a lot, as a coach and a player. He’s a good coach and I enjoyed talking to him. I was glad I was able to say goodbye to him, as well as to some of the other rookies like Scott Machado and Terrence Jones. I spoke to Toney Douglas, who told me, “This is a business. I’ve seen firsthand that side of the business early on in my career, too. Go ahead and do your thing, be aggressive, and work hard.”

I’ve definitely seen the business side of the NBA early, probably before any of the other rookies. But that’s not a bad thing, just something I had to go through. Everything happens for a reason, and I was blessed to play with Houston.

I am adjusting now, so everything is going good.

OKC, Here We Come!

I like it here in Oklahoma City so far. It’s a good city with real good fans and nice people. There’s not much to do, so you can really focus on basketball, which reminds me of Connecticut.

I’ve been living in a hotel since I got to OKC. About a week ago, my mom and someone from my agency came here to help me find a place, and I’ll be moving in in about a week or two. My Mom, Dad and sister are still living in Houston, but they will be moving out to here in a month or so.

We were on the road for Thanksgiving. This was not the first time I wasn’t with my family for the holiday, so I think I’m kind of used to it by now. Growing up, we used to go to my Bishop’s house in Atlanta; cook some good food and have fun. This year, we didn’t do anything as a team, but some people had Thanksgiving food before we got on the plane.

Christmas is the only holiday where I really wish I were with my family. Last year, when I was playing with UComm, we had practice on Christmas Day because we had a game the next day. This year, we will be playing the Miami Heat in Miami on Christmas Day. That will be exciting!

 Adjusting

A lot of my teammates, especially Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins and Russell Westbrook, have taken me under their wing. Right when the trade happened, KD and Perk texted me saying they were glad to have me and to come in ready to work. I’ve been putting in extra work with KD; Perk has been helping me out; and Russ has been working with me from day one. I’m playing with a lot of great players here who are really teaching me. In Houston, there were a lot more rookies and guys my age, but here in OKC, there are more veterans.

I have one rookie teammate, Perry Jones. That’s my man! I chill at his house and we eat together sometimes. He’s a cool dude, and since he and I are both rookies, I’m thankful we are going through our first season together. It’s nice that there’s another guy to look up when someone yells “Rook!” and somebody who else who has to do rookie chores.

Coach Brooks is a real good coach. He really pushes me and challenges me in practice. He has a good personality, and I like him as a coach and as a person.

It was tough learning the new system, the plays, defensive schemes and all that at first. It took some time to get used to, but I’ve been here a little while, so I’m getting used to it.

I am working as hard as I can. When the opportunity presents itself, I can come in the game and give my team a boost; play hard on defense, score, rebound.

Jeremy Lamb is a 6-foot-5 guard from the University of Connecticut. He was picked 12th overall by the Rockets in the 2012 NBA Draft, and traded to the Thunder on Oct. 27 in the deal that sent James Harden to Houston.

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NBA Rooks: Diaries … Jeremy Lamb




By Jeremy Lamb, Houston Rockets

Lamb Family Takes On Houston

This is my first time officially living on my own, which is cool. It’s good for me to have my space. And I like Houston so far; it’s an exciting place to be. I won the NCAA National Championship here in 2011 as a Connecticut Husky, so I have great memories from this city. I’ve had a chance to check out some different malls and little spots around town. I still have to use my GPS sometimes, but overall, I can find what I’m looking for now.

My Mom, Dad and sister made the move from Atlanta to Houston, too. They live up the street from me, just about five minutes away. My sister is 17, so she started going to a new high school in Houston. She was very excited about it, and didn’t mind the move at all. Having my family nearby is working out great. After practice, when I’m tired, I can just call my mom up and she’ll have a good meal ready for me. Sometimes they come over and cook at my house. I also cook for myself, though. I like making breakfast food – eggs, bacon, corned beef hash, waffles. I wake up before practice, usually around 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m., and make myself breakfast. I’m out the door by 8:30 a.m. Other than breakfast food, I don’t cook much else. When I was in college, I made myself burgers, so I’ll get around to doing that, too.

America’s Character Coach

My Dad, Rolando Lamb, is a motivational speaker, and has always been very involved in my basketball career. He is known as “America’s Character Coach – you can follow him on Twitter @coachlamb3 or go to his Website, www.rolandolamb.com. Even though I’m in the NBA now, he still gives me all kinds of advice, especially telling me to be aggressive. He also says to never get settled and work hard. My Dad is very motivating, and always has a quote that encourages me. He played professional basketball too, so he can really relate. My Mom is very encouraging too, and tells me to work hard. I know she will be at every home game. My Dad might be on the road sometimes, but my Mom, I know she’ll be there.

Team Talk

Our team is great. We all get along, and I really like the coaching staff. We had some tough preseason games, but are working hard to get better. As far as how I’ve played, I feel okay. There are things I can do better, but it’s a learning experience. I am working a lot on my ball handling, making plays for my teammates, and practicing my rebounding.

A lot of fans say they are excited to see Jeremy Lin and I play together. Most of the time we are on different teams during practice, but when we are on the floor together, it’s a lot of fun. Jeremy is a very humble guy, and a great passer and playmaker. Coach McHale is a good coach. He’s always on me because he sees potential. And he really cares about his players. As my first NBA coach, I’m really excited to be coached by him.

I’m excited and ready to get started with the regular season. I’m going to keep working hard and play as much as I can. For me, it’s a new start, and I’m going to be the best I can be.

To hear more about how my rookie season is going, follow me on Twitter @jlamb.

To see a recap from my Draft Experience, check out Draft Dreams on AwesomenessTV.

Jeremy Lamb is a 6-foot-5 guard from the University of Connecticut. He was picked 12th overall by the Rockets in the 2012 NBA Draft.

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