With the Lakers down in the dumps in what seems like their lowest point in forever, Los Angeles fans got the chance to celebrate an age-old right of passage for all sports fans — taking their frustrations out on an ex-player. In this case it was Dwight Howard of the Rockets, who famously dissed them after one of the most frustrating seasons in Lakers history.
Upon his return in last night’s Rockets 134-108 drubbing of the Lakers, L.A. fans showered him with “Howard sucks!” chants at every opportunity. Dwight took it until he could no more, as he is wont to do when he thinks he is not getting the kind of attention he deserves, and did what any famously big kid would do. He mocked them by chanting it with them.
Oh, but his mockery did not end there. D12 took his show out of the spotlight of the Staples Center and back to the Houston team plane, where he continued to make the message clear via Instagram. Because, well, as Dwight would say, “Howard sucks!”
Knicks, Lakers or any other NBA fans know that when it’s time for some real talk — some truly serious insights — you go straight to the mouth and mind of Metta World Peace. Duh. Here’s (plenty!) more proof of that, ranging from health tips everyone should brush up on to terrible, terrible ideas no one should ever use.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’re into the NBA’s most devastating dunks, we’ve got you covered over at the new and improved Dunk HQ. But because we’re the All Ball blog and we like to look at the NBA from nontraditional angles, we will focus on the flip side of the NBA’s best dunks: Who got got?
So welcome to volume one of The All Ball Posterized Poll. We will check in from time to time and examine the worst of the best, and use a highly scientific polling method to determine which NBA player got dunked on (a.k.a. posterized) the most egregiously. And at the end of the season we will determine who it is that most belongs on a poster.
To start us off, we have four nominees from the first few weeks of the season, and we checked in with NBA.com’s own slam dunk specialist, LeMont Calloway, for his informed perspective on the matter. “What I’ll say most about these defenders is that at least they’re trying to show help-side D,” LeMont notes. “There’s a defender or two around the league who wouldn’t even dare, let alone probably couldn’t even make the proper rotation. (Calling you out Boozer!) But, it’s like Bill Walton used to say: What are big men doing trying to take charges anyway?”
1. Marvin Williams (as nominated by JJ Hickson) LeMont’s Take: “Personally, if you ask me, is this the one? This is the one! The way Marvin falls reminds me of a video game animation. Hands down, one of the nastiest falls after getting dunked on that I’ve seen in a while.” -
3. Jeff Withey (as nominated by Xavier Henry) LeMont’s Take: “I’m always going to be a fan of any dunk where the ball is cocked back. Like LeBron’s go-to dunk from his Cavs days. Whether with one or two hands, it doesn’t matter. Those dunks always signify bad intentions to me. Especially with a defender in the way. But what sets Xavier’s apart from the rest is he’s a lefty. It just gives it that added unusual flair and bang to it.” -
At this time of year, it seems like everyone’s minds are collectively on football — especially in the NBA world (with still well more than a month left until regular-season action).
So, it’s nice to see the football world give a nod back to The Association, as the USC Trojans did at halftime of their Saturday showdown at the famed Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum . And definitely when it’s to honor a legendary NBA figure like the late Dr. Jerry Buss and his beloved Lakers.
That look may be a distant memory come 2013-14 as Pau recently had to shave off his beard after losing a bet to his (equally bearded) brother,Marc Gasol of the Grizzlies. As part of Marc and Pau’s Gasol Foundation charity, the pair started a campaign called “The Healthy Competition” that ran from June 10-Aug. 2. Marc and Pau served as coaches, challenging children in L.A. and Memphis, respectively, to get healthy. The children were outfitted with Nike Fuel Bands and the coach whose team burned the most fuel would win the bet for their coach. The stakes of the bet? The loser shaves off his trademark beard, of course.
Lakers rookie Robert Sacre, the“Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2012 NBA Draft (aka the last pick), made a name for himself in the preseason with his physical play and impressed veterans Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol with his energy. He got 197 minutes of playing time in the exhibition season, was seventh on the team in scoring and was a nice little story.
As of today, Sacre has seen 19 minutes of action, mostly in mop-up duty during blowouts. Still, he’s generated quite a following for his exuberantcelebrationson the bench of his teammates’ plays. You know, of course, that it’s only a matter of time for that kind of behavior to get its own YouTube highlight and, viola!, we have one now.
No one will confuse the 2012-13 Phoenix Suns with a legit title contender, but they haven’t been as awful as some thought they’d be this season. At 3-4, they’ve beaten the teams they probably should (Cleveland, Detroit and Charlotte) and lost to the ones they probably should have (Utah, Miami) and taken losses in two others that were a toss-up (Orlando and Golden State).
Still, the memories of Steve Nash directing coach Mike D’Antoni‘s Seven Seconds Or Less offense are still somewhat fresh. Don’t forget about that great small forward they had too … what was his name … oh yeah! Shawn Marion. In remembering those days, though, Suns fans also recall the way those peak D’Antoni-Nash-Marion-Amar’e Stoudemire teams used to routinely falter against the Spurs, Mavs and Lakers in the West playoffs.
Since those glory days, D’Antoni has been hired (and fired) by New York, Marion was traded to Miami, Stoudemire bolted as a free agent for New York and Nash skipped town, too.
All that to say: is there any fan base that’s seen more of their icons tied to different successful eras leave more often than Phoenix has?
Consider these Suns icons who left town:
Paul Wesphal, a three-time All-Star in Phoenix and the leading scorer on the Suns’ 1976 Finals runner-up team, was dealt to rival Seattle in the summer of 1980. The Sonics, at the time, were easily one of the most dominant teams in the West and had won it all in 1979. Westphal, who coached Phoenix to the ’93 Finals, also coached Seattle in the late 1990s. Double-ouch.
Charles Barkley won the MVP in 1993, led Phoenix to The Finals that season and is, perhaps, the most well-known Sun ever. He forced a trade to Houston in 1996 so he could chase a ring with Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, who were key pieces to the Rockets’ last title team in 1994-95. That ’94-95 squad ousted a 59-win Phoenix team in the West semis.
Marion, he of the great nickname (“The Matrix”), was a four-time All-Star in Phoenix before the O’Neal trade. That opened the door for his trade to Toronto, which led to his eventual signing as a free agent with the rival Mavs in 2009. Dallas won the whole thing in 2011.
You name it, Nash did it for Phoenix. Yet in the summer, the chance to be closer to his children and have a good shot at a ring made the Lakers the easy pick. Need we explain the Suns-Lakers rivalry?
D’Antoni’s Suns exploits are many, but is there any worse place he could have landed for Suns watchers than the L.A. Lakers? Sorry to break the news …
Look around the NBA’s history and every so often you’ll see an MVP (Karl Malone to the Lakers) or a Finals MVP (Chauncey Billups to Denver) or an overall franchise face (Chris Paul to the Clippers) get moved or sign elsewhere. But it’s hard to think of a team outside of Phoenix that has seen more iconic players either move on or be moved on to chase a ring elsewhere.
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.
Here’s how it looks on the morning of Wednesday, May 11.
Start planning the parade:
It’s a tale of two series in the West. The Mavs dispatched the Lakers with relative ease while the OKC-Memphis series has all the makings of a seven-game classic. A potential Game 7 in Oklahoma would be played on Sunday, meaning that the West Finals couldn’t start until Tuesday, May 17 at the earliest — giving the Mavs a whopping nine days off since they sent Kobe and Co. to the golf course.
For a veteran team (I’m fairly certain Jason Kidd’s knees appreciate the week off), having the ability to rest, regroup and focus on the second half of the playoffs will be invaluable. Hey Cubes — cue the confetti!
Give it up already:
All Ball HQ is about two miles from Philips Arena, so we’re quite familiar with the basketball stylings of the Atlanta Hawks. And as a seasoned watcher of this team, let’s just say that it’s been a fun playoff run, but that run is about to end. And here’s the reason: Joe Johnson.
In case you forgot, the Hawks doled out a whopping $119 (!!) million to Johnson over the summer — a staggering sum of money for a player who you could argue isn’t among the 20 best players in the league. To make matters worse, consider the plight of 2014-15 Hawks. That’s when a 34-year-old Joe Johnson, in the final year of his massive deal, will be making $24.1 million. And if the CBA negotiations result in a hard cap, I hope the fans of Atlanta look forward to Joe Johnson and four guys from The Varsitytaking the court each night.
This is all just a long way of saying that if the Hawks are to somehow win two straight games against the Bulls, they need Joe Johnson to start playing like he deserves that contract. Scoring only 15 points in a critical Game 5 just won’t cut it.
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He accepted in a ceremony Tuesday night at the Mirage Hotel, and in typical Artest fashion, had this to say about his newest prized possession:
“I’ll probably walk into everybody’s homes. I’ll go to Floyd Mayweather‘s house first. Put on some of his jewelry.”
You know what? At this point, Vegas residents would probably welcome him with open arms. It’s been that kind of turnaround for Artest, whose reputation in five years has gone from pariah of the league to, basically, Kramer from “Seinfeld.”
It’s a well-deserved honor, too. Even at his craziest, Artest has always been someone to give back to his community. In this case, he was being honored for his work with XCel University, a program of his that works with high-risk teens, and for doing a lot to promote mental-health awareness. (He is an advocate for the Mental Health in Schools Act, an initiative being put before Congress to provide $200 million for schools to help students with mental-health issues.)
Someday, someone is going to make one heck of a biopic about his life.