ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I was at the Heat/Bobcats Game 2 last night in Miami to write about it for NBA.com, and as one does, I was checking Twitter throughout the game. While I was on Twitter, I kept seeing tweets about Nick Young throwing out the first pitch at a Dodgers game in Los Angeles (along with Lakers teammate Jordan Farmar). Coming so close on the heels of his great adventure at the NHL playoffs, I knew this was tailor-made for All Ball.
Because of the angle of this video it’s a little hard to tell exactly where the pitch ends up. But whenever the catcher stands and turns around and starts looking for the ball, that’s never a good sign…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the Steves — Nash and Blake — as well as Jordan Farmar all injured, the Lakers signed free agent point guard Kendall Marshall. Marshall had spent last season with the Suns and a short time this season in the D-League, and in just 14 games with the Lakers, Marshall is averaging 10 points and 9 assists per game.
If Marshall looks like he’s met some of these Lakers before, it turns out that’s because he has…a really long time ago. Check out the photo Marshall posted on Twitter today, from a moment at the 2003 All-Star Weekend in Atlanta when he met a 22-year-old Pau Gasol. As Gasol tweeted in response, “Time flies!!”
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’re not already in the holiday season, here’s video of a reporter (apparently from the ABC affiliate in Los Angeles) asking members of the Lakers if they can name all nine of Santa’s reindeer. Some players do pretty well, some have a little more trouble with the question. I agree with Pau Gasol — Rufus has always been one of my favorite reindeer.
Almost had two Horry Scale entries tonight, but sadly Jordan Farmar‘s game-winner for the Nets left a measly 0.4 seconds left on the clock for the Clippers to salvage a win. A great shot no doubt (though where was the Clippers’ D on that play?), but twasn’t a buzzer-beater, so it fails to qualify. Fortunately, we still have Derrick Rose to take care of us.
For those that 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 Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.
Rose is one of the ultimate closers in the NBA, so it’s a bit of a surprise to me this is his first appearance on the Horry Scale. How did the league’s reigning MVP stack up? Let’s find out:
Not terribly difficult for Rose, who created some space for himself against Brandon Jennings before knocking down the step-back jumper from the top of the key to win the game. However, I am going to complain just a little here. I won’t argue with the outcome, but with as much time as Rose had to work with in a tie game, I want him to get to the basket there. I’ll give him a pass, though, because that’s typically what he does in game-winning situations. But a lesson to the kids — never settle for the J.
Potential trade bait Ersan Ilyasova scored on an offensive rebound to tie the game at 104-104 with 24 seconds left to play, which gave the Bulls all the time in the world to set up a play for the win. Chicago cleared it out for Rose, who went mano-a-mano with Jennings for the final shot.
The Bulls fell to the Heat in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, and the two teams appear on a crash course to go at it again this May. With the way Miami has improved, home-court advantage could certainly play a big role in that series, and as such, every win for Chicago will matter from here until the end of the regular season. The Bulls remain two games ahead of the Heat with this win.
Watch the clip again, and listen for the crowd’s reaction (go ahead, I’ll wait). What city was this game played in again? I had to look a few times to remind myself it was played in Milwaukee because judging by the crowd’s reaction, you might have thought it was the Windy City. Look how much red is in that crowd! I realize Chicago is a short distance from Milwaukee, but that’s embarrassing. Bonus points for the skyward finger-point celebration from Brian Scalabrine.
1.5 Horrys. A tie game, plenty of time to work with, and a more-difficult-shot-than-necessary from Rose makes this one fairly standard. But I’m giving an extra half-Horry in honor of the Bulls fans for turning the place into United Center North.
What do you think?
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In between ruling the asphalts and hardwood, Durant is making appearances around the country at various summer basketball camps. He was in Chicago earlier this week. Today, he was at his basketball camp in Oklahoma City, talking to reporters about the state of the NBA.
Seems obvious as to why right? I mean, he is Kevin Durant. But there’s another practical reason. He is OKC’s union representative. Being abreast of the minutiae of bargaining agreements and traveling to as many as four cities in a week schooling (physically and pedagogically) on the rudiments of basketball pretty much confirms what we know about Durant: that he’s pretty much a freak of nature.
But even nature has its hiccups.
Like most of us, he’s hopeful that an agreement can be made. Also like most of us, he “lost track of time” and didn’t realize the Collective Bargaining Agreement was set to expire tomorrow.
One one hand, he’s the team’s union face. In times of crisis, he is the face that mans the fort in the meetings. To let him completely off the hook would be coddling. However, there is a reason why only four All-Stars and names such as Jordan Farmar, Jared Dudley and James Jones (no offense to the latter three) represent their teams. Stars generally don’t have the time , desire, patience or incentive to lend toward the intricacies of an “billionaires vs. millionaires” caucus.
Even though it’s odd that KD would forget something this important, this scenario is refreshing in the sense that a horde of players exist to play ball and not worry about the rest. And really, isn’t unmitigated focus (enthusiasm?) for basketball what we want to see from professional athletes?
If you want, this is probably a perfect time bust out a “didn’t he have it written on a stone tablet in his backpack” joke. No? Cool.
For the complete Bragging Rights rules and to vote for other matchups, click here. We continue the Sweet 16 in the West region, where two towers of college basketball power square off for a chance to move on to the Elite Eight.
Missed the cut: Matt Barnes, Lakers; Darren Collison, Pacers; Jordan Farmar, Nets; Dan Gadzuric, Nets; Ryan Hollins, Cavaliers; Jason Kapono, Sixers; Trevor Ariza, Hornets; Earl Watson, Jazz; Arron Afflalo, Nuggets
Team synopsis: As the school with the most current players in the NBA, the UCLA Bruins will be a tough out. Several different players could make the starting lineup, but I went with Mbah a Moute’s all-around contributions over those of rising studs like Collison and Afflalo. When Davis is nearly left out of the starting five, you know you’ve got some firepower to work with. Love’s per-48 rebounding stats are absurd, and Westbrook’s scoring is only a few ppg behind his scoring-champion teammate, Kevin Durant. (more…)