ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Memphis Grizzlies have taken the NBA postseason by storm, winning eight of their last nine games and grit-and-grinding their way right into the Western Conference finals. And, of course, no good postseason run by a sports team is complete without a theme song to go along with it.
The Grizz’s new song comes courtesy of a couple of Memphis-born hip-hop luminaries: Rapper/producer Drumma Boy, teaming up with Three 6 Mafia co-founder DJ Paul. The song is titled “We Don’t Bluff,” which has a dual meaning: It’s a nod to the city of Memphis’s longtime nickname, “The Bluff City” — Memphis was settled on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. But it also references Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, who after an altercation with Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins back in November, said, “There’s a lot of bluffin’ going on the court, that’s all, you know. And I don’t bluff.”
And as we’ve seen this postseason, neither do the Grizz. -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As part of our continuing hard-hitting series celebrating the best in local advertising, let’s take a moment to say farewell to the Oklahoma City Thunder. After losing star PG Russell Westbrook in the first round to injury, the Thunder soldiered on without him, even winning a game against the Grizz in dramatic fashion, but eventually, the Grit-N-Grind Grizz sent the Thunder fishing.
But before they go home, let’s take a moment to recognize the Thunder supporting cast who did their best even if it wasn’t quite enough — guys like Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison and Reggie Jackson. They may not be headliners like Kevin Durant and Westbrook, but that doesn’t mean they can’t move product, as we see from their performances here in this ad from a few months back for Norman Chrysler Jeep and Dodge.
And hey, I’d like to see you try to get Perk to sing “that goofy song.” Good luck with that. -
Hey…it’s not everyday when a company gets a billion views on its YouTube page. To celebrate such a milestone, my colleagues at NBA Digital compiled some of the best NBA moments of the digital age (or at least since YouTube became relevant).
Shaq and the Jabbawockeez. A Kobe playoff game-winning buzzer-beater. Blake Griffin Mozgov-ing Timofey Mozgov and Perkins-ing Kendrick Perkins. And a White Mamba sighting?
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!
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.
Follow All Ball all season for more NBA Rooks: Diaries …
Here is Blake Griffin, doing what Blake Griffin does best, even while recovering from knee surgery, on Oklahoma Sooner Buddy Hield:
I love the guy in the background who shouts out “Why would you do that?” at the end.
Umm, why wouldn’t you do that? Haven’t you seen all the photos of people pretending to get hit by Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali? I would LOVE to get dunked on by Blake Griffin. I would stand in line for 45 minutes and shell out $50 for the opportunity if he’d let me.
By now, you’ve seen the Dunk Heard ‘Round The Internet World. A month from now, the praise surrounding Blake Griffin’s recent aerial attack may seem hyperbolic, downright silly and just like a group of capricious basketball nerds getting ahead of themselves.
There will be plenty of prose and soundbites that offers perspective later. In the meantime, there was this immediate reaction from the man formerly known as Kendrick Perkins after the play:
But Blake’s work wasn’t done, as Kevin Durant and his 36 points later found out:
Or if you prefer the freeze frame version:
The Thunder might want to stay away from the social networks for a day or two.
I was thinking about this in the wake of last week’s dust-up between the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi. Hawks beat writer (and friend of the podcast) Mike Cunninghammentioned in a blog post that it was interesting that Bianchi was so down on the Hawks at the time, especially given that after Game 5 of the series he wrote:
“The Magic are now down in this series 3-1 and it’s all but over. Does anybody out there really, honestly believe the Magic can rally back from 3-1 against a talented and athletic Hawks team?”
I come here not to bury Bianchi though, nor to praise him, but merely to point out that in the NBA Playoffs, the tide can turn very quickly. A team is left for dead (Dallas after blowing a 23-point lead in Portland), then suddenly they are unbeatable (topping the two-time defending champs on their home court — twice — will do that for you). It’s more volatile than the stock market.
So 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 their jerseys.
Start planning the parade:
John Schuhmann pointed this out yesterday in a column on NBA.com – Celtics fans can complain about missing Kendrick Perkins all they want as they watch LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sashay to the basket, but in 240 minutes over the last four years the duo has shot 67% from within five feet of the basket with Perkins on the floor.
I know the Mavericks are up 2-0 on the Lakers, but they’ve still got some emotional baggage to overcome. If there’s a favorite today, it’s gotta be the Heat.
Give it up already:
In the history of the NBA, only three teams have ever rebounded from 0-2 where both losses came on their homecourt: Lakers over Warriors in 1969, Rockets over Suns in 1994, and Mavs over Rockets in 2005. So, it is doable, but if it’s to be done, it’s going to have to happen in part without Ron Artest, who was suspended for Game 3 for his hard foul on JJ Barea in the waning moments of Wednesday night’s Game 2.
Peace out, L.A.
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The Lakers beat the Celtics in the Finals last year to become the 2009-10 NBA champions. Most of you are probably aware of that fact, but there is a certain segment of the population that thinks the Lakers are fake titlists, and that had a certain someone not gotten hurt in Game 6, then the final results would have been different. I’m not going to tell you who this segment is, but it starts with a B, ends in an S, and has Oston Celtics fan in the middle.
That certain someone, a.k.a. Kendrick Perkins, made his return to the Celtics lineup last night after missing the first half of the season recovering from a torn ACL, chipping in seven points and six rebounds in a 112-95 win over the lowly Cavaliers.
With Perkins back, the Celtics are now whole again (though I am skeptical they’ll remain so through the rest of the season), and ready to prove to the basketball world that last season should have had a different ending — or so they claim. Whether that’s the case or not, we won’t know until the playoffs.
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