Posts Tagged ‘los angeles clippers’

The NBA on Christmas Day: Talking with Anna Chlumsky

chlumsky

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 talked to John Leguizamo and Mario Batali, and today we check in with one of our favorite actresses, Anna Chlumsky. You know her from all sort of projects, from the big screen (movies like My Girl to, more recently, In The Loop) to her current role on HBO’s hilarious “Veep.” In January she will make her Broadway debut in “You Can’t Take It With You.” What you may not know is the Chicago native-turned-Brooklyn resident loves the NBA, as well, so it was great to exchange emails with her about the upcoming NBA Christmas Day slate…

ME: You grew up in Chicago but live in Brooklyn. Which team gets the bulk of your allegiance right now?

Christmas2014ANNA: The Nets. Once the ’90s Bulls disbanded with Phil Jackson‘s leaving for L.A., I went through a long mourning period. Fast forward to Barclays being built blocks from my old apartment. The Nets fever just came over me.

ME: Your time in Chicago aligns with when the Bulls were in the midst of their dynasty. Other than Michael Jordan, who was your favorite Bulls player?

ANNA: I had a B.J. Armstrong poster on my wall. And you couldn’t be of Croatian descent in Chicago and not adore Toni Kukoč. He was our hero! Three-pointers for days, man!!

ME: You play a character running a presidential campaign on Veep. Which NBA player would be great at running for president?

ANNA: Hmmm…Bleacher Report likes Tim Duncan‘s poker face, and I’m inclined to agree. Good for debates.

ME: All-Star Weekend in New York City is a few months away. Any don’t-miss stops you have for people visiting town?

ANNA: A Broadway show, the Highline… and Rockefeller Center at this time of year can’t be beat. And be sure to get a pastrami from Katz’s.

ME: What Christmas gift would you give to the Nets?

ANNA: Cookies. I’m taking orders, fellas.

ME: What Christmas Day traditions do you and your family share?

ANNA: We usually spend Christmas in Chicago with my side of the family, so someone’s inevitably in full Bears garb. We’ll watch football and basketball, and we’ve been known to pull out our own board games. My mother has a tradition where she gives my Uncle Kenny the seasonal loud, obnoxious, animatronic toy from Walgreens (think singing snowman), but I think he’s ready to move on and just get gloves again. Ha!

ME: How does the NBA fit into those traditions (will you watch games on Christmas Day)?

ANNA: We sure will. Go Bulls.

ME: What’s your go-to snack/food to eat when watching game on Christmas Day?

ANNA: Tortilla chips are never far away during the games. And at my father’s, (he’s a retired chef), we’ve always got a paté or two he’s steamed up for the holidays.

ME: Last thing: Give us your predictions for the Christmas Day lineup. Washington Wizards at New York Knicks?

ANNA: Wizards

ME: San Antonio Spurs at OKC Thunder?

ANNA: Spurs

ME: Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat?

ANNA: Cleveland

ME: Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago Bulls?

ANNA: Bulls

ME: Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors?

ANNA: Warriors

The NBA on Christmas Day: Talking with Mario Batali

America Farm To Table_cover image

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. Today we check in with one of the world’s great chefs, Mario Batali. Mario owns restaurants around the globe, has written nearly a dozen cookbooks (his latest is America — Farm to Table) and is a co-host of “The Chew.” All Ball readers already knew Mario was an NBA fan, so it’s worth taking a moment to exchange emails with him about the upcoming NBA Christmas Day slate…

ME: Last year you told us you root for both the Knicks and the Nets. How do you feel about the state of the two franchises right now?

MARIO: Not ideal, but I am still a supporter.

ME: You told us you take your sons on an NBA road trip each year. Where have you yet to see a game that you’d like to visit?

MARIO: This year for Leo, it will be the Pelicans, because we love New Orleans.Christmas2014

ME: All-Star Weekend in New York City is a few months away. Any don’t-miss stops you have for people visiting town?

MARIO: Eataly, Pearl Oyster Bar, Buvette, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Otto, Babbo, Lupa, Casa Mono.

ME: What Christmas gift would you give to the Knicks? To the Nets?

MARIO: Bourbon to drown their sadness and linguine with clams to build them back up again.

ME: What Christmas Day traditions do you and your family share?

MARIO: Presents, brunch, NBA hoops, winter beach walk, ham and biscuits.

ME: What’s your go-to snack/food to eat when watching NBA games on Christmas Day?

MARIO: Snacks will be salami and cheese from Eataly, smoked whitefish from Carlson’s in Leland, hard cider from Tandem in Suttons Bay, and Goat Cheese from Idyll Farms in Northport.

ME: Give us your predictions for the Christmas Day lineup. First up, Washington Wizards at New York Knicks?

MARIO: Knicks will give me a Christmas Day win, by 5.

ME: San Antonio Spurs at OKC Thunder?

MARIO: Spurs by 4.

ME: Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat?

MARIO: Cavs will finally have it together and win by 2.

ME: Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago Bulls?

MARIO: Bulls by 5.

ME: And finally, Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors?

MARIO: [Stephen] Curry will dust them — Warriors by 12.

The NBA on Christmas Day: Talking with John Leguizamo

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks

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. Today we check in with the multihyphenate (writer-actor, producer-director, and on and on) John Leguizamo. Though he was born in Colombia, Leguizamo’s family moved to New York soon after, and a lifelong love affair with basketball and the New York Knicks began. His latest project is the loosely-autobiographical film Fugly!, out now on demand and on iTunes.

ME: I’ve seen you at lots of Knicks games through the years. Did being a fan of the Knicks start as soon you and your family moved to New York?

LEGUIZAMO: Yeah, definitely. I love basketball — that’s what I played growing up. You know, the sport you play is the sport you end up loving to watch. Somehow, it’s reliving the childhood and the life you never had. So yeah, I was a big Knicks fan back in the day — Clyde and up to Patrick Ewing, Sprewell, Starks, LJ, and up to now, the triangle offense, I’m here.

ME: Even these days, when the franchise is rebuilding, are you still fully invested?

LEGUIZAMO: It’s tough. The triangle offense is a tough thing to figure out. I mean, I guess it worked for Phil Jackson in Chicago and L.A., but how is it going to work on these cats who’ve played so differently all their lives, man? I don’t know, it’s a tough thing to watch. It’s like…(laughing) sending troops into war without weapons. I don’t know. It’s like, “Try and use your fist this time instead of a bayonet!”

ME: Also, to be fair, Phil had Jordan and Pippen in Chicago and Shaq and Kobe in L.A. So there may be a bit of a personnel issue with this Knicks team.

LEGUIZAMO: You mean you don’t think Carmelo is Kobe Bryant? (laughs) I mean, who was Michael Jordan anyway? No athlete will ever equal the excellence of that cat, but Kobe was pretty close, man.

Christmas2014

ME: Let’s get your predictions for the Christmas Day games. First up is your Knicks hosting the Washington Wizards.

LEGUIZAMO: Aw man. I mean, the Knicks will surprise you out of nowhere man, and maybe this is the time they’ll all come together — J.R. Smith and Shumpert — and maybe they’ll still come together for that. So I’ll give it to the Knicks. I mean, they come out of nowhere sometimes and they figure it out, and somehow the triangle offense comes together and somehow they’re loose and free. Or they get totally shut down, I don’t know.

ME: Right, sometimes it’s more like the Bermuda Triangle offense.

LEGUIZAMO: (laughs) Definitely the Bermuda Triangle. I think the Aztecs used The Triangle when they fought the Conquistadores. And what happened to the that empire?

ME: Yeah, didn’t work out so well. What do you do on Christmas Day? Will you watch games, or what’s your plan?

LEGUIZAMO: Well, we travel far. Our families are gypsies, so last year we went to Peru, and this year I’m going to be in Africa on a safari, not a shooting safari but shooting with my camera.

ME: Sounds amazing. OK, next up is the San Antonio Spurs at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

LEGUIZAMO: Thunder didn’t show up the other night. I mean, Kevin Durant is back, but I’m gonna go Spurs.

ME: Yeah, it’s hard to pick against them. Cleveland Cavaliers at the Miami Heat.

LEGUIZAMO: Aaahhhhhh! Oh dear, that’s gonna be wild. I love LeBron now that he went to the Cavs; somehow he regained my respect and love. But that’s gonna be tough, Look at Dwyane who came in the other day with crazy points. I don’t know, I’m gonna go with the Heat.

ME: Two more. Lakers at the Bulls.

LEGUIZAMO: Bulls. Derrick Rose. That’s all I gotta say, two words: Derrick Rose.

ME: Last one, Los Angeles Clippers at maybe the surprise team of the season, the Golden State Warriors.

LEGUIZAMO: Wow, that’s a tough one. I mean, I love the Clippers, man, I love CP3, and after all they went through, I’m going to do the emotional choice instead of the smart choice (laughing), I’m going to go Clippers.

Horry Scale: Blake’s lucky bounce


VIDEO: Blake’s bouncing winner

In the history of lucky basketball bounces, none can touch Don Nelson‘s late shot in Game 7 of the 1969 Finals, helping the Celtics secure their 11th title. The ball hit back rim, went straight up and then dropped through the basket and into the hearts of the Lakers.

That happened at the Forum, which is now closed. But roughly 25 minutes from that site (or 30, depending on L.A. freeway traffic), Blake Griffin had a similar brush with lucky fate when he put the final touch on a 121-120 overtime Clippers win over the Suns in what could be the No. 1 thriller of the NBA season thus far.

The contest was what you’d expect from a pair of high-scoring teams that love to play freestyle, free-wheeling basketball. The guard-heavy Suns thrive in the open floor and the Clippers, blessed with point guard Chris Paul, favor the fast break as well. The contest was back-and-forth all night, and five extra minutes were tacked on after regulation. As a fan at Staples Center, could you ask for anything more?

Well, yes. A Clippers victory. Which was in doubt until Griffin took an inbounds pass from Paul with the Clippers down a pair and the clock ticking.

But we’ll get to the winning sequence in a minute. First, about Griffin. He had a monster night with 45 points, two shy of his career high. If these teams meet in the playoffs, the Suns might want to watch video of this game (minus the last few seconds) and figure how to keep Griffin from getting to the line (he made 15 of 17 free throws) and how to keep a body on him.

OK, on to the details.

DIFFICULTY

After taking the inbounds pass from Paul, Griffin faked a pass back to Paul, then faced the basket, took a step-back and let it fly from the right elbow beyond the arc. The ball bounced off the rim, then the top of the glass, then fell in. He had to do all of that in 2.6 seconds, which he managed to pull off without a hitch. But not without a few bounces. Hey, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

GAME SITUATION

Blake was only in position to take that shot partly because Jamal Crawford was ejected for the first time in his career in the fourth quarter after arguing a foul call. Normally, Griffin would not get the ball to launch a 3-pointer; he’d attempted only nine all season prior to the shot. Also, the game went into overtime because Paul had his game-winning attempt blocked by Eric Bledsoe (27 points, 16 assists, 11 rebounds) at the fourth-quarter buzzer. Also, the Clippers had the ball because the Suns committed a shot-clock violation. Finally, with a foul to give, the Suns grabbed Griffin just before his game-winner. But instead of shooting while getting fouled, Griffin passed off. He could’ve put himself at the free-throw line with a chance to tie instead of the Clippers being forced to inbound the ball. But it turned out okay for him.

IMPORTANCE

The Clippers stumbled out of the gate to start the season, drawing the ire of coach Doc Rivers and perhaps having owner Steve Ballmer wonder what in the heck he was getting for his $2 billion. But all is well now. The Clippers have won eight straight and are clearly on the rise. Teams in the West have no choice but to see the vortex from L.A. heading their way (hint: It’s not the Lakers). It was the second straight loss for the Suns, whose only real issue is they don’t play in the East.

CELEBRATION

After the swish, er bounce, Griffin took off sprinting down the floor, followed quickly by Paul. As you might also might have expected, Staples was in bedlam. Speaking of Staples, Rivers said he wants the building to be a home-court advantage like it has been (or rather, was) for the Lakers. If the Clippers intend on playing like this, Rivers won’t have any reason to worry about the crowd or the noise level.

GRADE

Look, we realize Griffin got a little lucky. OK, a lot lucky. Still, the shot was the cherry on top of a tremendous performance for him, so we give it three Horrys.

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Why was Big Baby Davis so surprised?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night’s Clippers/Suns game had a little bit of everything — comebacks, blocked shots, ejections, charges, dunks, even a Horry Scale entry (coming shortly!). How good a game was it? It was so wild that at one point in overtime, Clippers big man Big Baby Davis literally could not believe how great it was.

Davis was reacting to a call that he (obviously) didn’t agree with, but this reaction shot could apply to any number of things. Let us know in the comments, what do you think he was reacting to?

AdventurousNimbleGermanspitz

(via r/NBA)

Austin Rivers attempts novel defensive strategy against Blake Griffin

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We all know that Blake Griffin is one of the toughest players in the NBA to stop — his size, speed, and ability to either knock down outside shots or take the ball to the basket present a host of problems for defenders. We’ve seen opponents try and get physical with Blake, usually to no avail. But over the weekend, New Orleans guard Austin Rivers got tangled with Blake on a pick-and-roll and ended up “pantsing” Blake. Hey, that’s one way to stop him.

GreatGloriousFritillarybutterfly

(via r/NBA)

Chris Paul just wanted to talk to his guinea pig

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When Chris Paul was a kid, all he wanted to do was to fly. At least, that’s apparently what Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul would tell you if you asked. Just don’t ask him in front of his mom, Robin, who in this new ad for Kids Foot Locker, is only too willing to snitch on Chris and admit in actuality, what CP3 really wanted was the ability to talk to…Mr. Peeps the guinea pig?


VIDEO: CP3 Fly

Blake Griffin inspires circular photobomb

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes something new. The Miami Heat have given us dozens of variations of the photobomb, but last night the Clippers came up with a totally new innovation on the photobomb. After defeating the Magic, 114-86, while Blake Griffin was doing the postgame interview, Clips players Matt Barnes and DeAndre Jordan came out and photobombed Griffin with what appears to be an orbital photobomb. They circled him several times as he spoke, leaving me to wonder if perhaps this was a tribute to NASA’s impending Orion launch, or maybe it’s just whatever they thought of in the moment. Whatever it is, your move, Miami.

MixedInsistentBream

(via r/NBA)

Chris Paul pays tribute to fan’s late mother

Los Angeles Clippers v Charlotte Hornets

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S., a time to give thanks for the things we have and the loved ones both in our lives and formerly in our lives. And in that spirit, there’s a story today out of Los Angeles about Clippers point guard Chris Paul that shows why he’s not only an All-Star on the court, but off the court as well.

Tonight in Detroit, the Pistons will host the Clippers. In the stands, Paul will play host to Jack Gallagher, a 13-year-old fan from Pennsylvania who lost his mother, Lisa, in September to an aggressive form of brain cancer. Paul will play tonight with Lisa’s initial, L.E.G., written on his sneakers.

After seeing a video on Twitter about the family, Paul reached out and formed a bond. As Ben Bolch writes in the Los Angeles Times

The family videotaped and photographed nearly every moment so that Lisa could savor her final days with those who mattered most. A video of Jack discussing his mother’s devotion to his basketball career and of his desire to have Paul write Lisa’s initials on his shoes for an NBA game left Paul wanting to make his own gesture, however small.

“To know that someone cares about me that much to where his mom did that for him and to know he put that on his mom’s grave,” Paul said, “I got goose bumps, I got chills.”

Paul has wowed Jack since the boy started watching him on television three years ago. “I liked how he threw the alley-oops and everything and his ballhandling and his great vision,” said Jack, 13.

Jack had been a point guard until recently sprouting to 5 feet 9, a growth spurt that prompted his coach to start playing him at shooting guard and forward. He wears No. 3 this season — Paul’s number — in addition to a new pair of CP3s purchased by his father.

Jack may never want for shoes again after receiving the care package Paul intends to give him. But Paul will take possession of the more meaningful gift: a framed montage of photos showing Jack and Lisa along with a cutout of the tongue of the CP3s the mom had given her son.

Doug McDermott photobombs CP3, Blake Griffin, Kid Ink


VIDEO: Kid Ink

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’ve seen plenty of stars at Lakers games through the years, but don’t forget about the Clippers, who get their share as well. Last night, for instance, with the Clippers hosting the Bulls, rapper (and Clippers fan) Kid Ink was at the game. In the video above, he talks about being a Clippers fan and how much that means to him. And at the very end of the video, you can see him pose for a photo with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and…Bulls rookie Doug McDermott?

Above is video evidence of McBuckets’ epic photobomb. If you look at the group photo, McDermott seems perfectly happy to be involved…

But look at the photo taken just seconds later, and you can see Blake giving him the business…