ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili may have missed out on playing with his native Argentina in the FIBA Basketball World Cup while he recovers from injury, but from the looks of his Twitter account, he’s still having a pretty nice summer. Ginobili posted a photo over the weekend of a statue of himself that was unveiled in Buenos Aires. His caption, loosely translated, reads, “Mom: I didn’t become a doctor, but I got a statue in Argentina!”
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Winning an NBA title comes with all kinds of perks, from parties to popping bottles, but here’s one perk you probably weren’t aware of: Someone might write a song about you. Here’s a video of Texas-based artist Kevin Russell, from the band Shinyribs, performing a pretty self-explanatory song called, “Manu Ginobili.” (He even ends it with a bit of a Barkley tribute.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you hadn’t noticed, the San Antonio Spurs are doing it again — quietly, efficiently, ruthlessly winning their way toward another trip to the NBA Finals. They play their system, they keep pounding that rock, and they never, ever deviate from what got them here. While this has proven to be an effective strategy in terms of winning games, it’s not always all that exciting to watch for casual fans. This video does a terrific job highlighting exactly what makes the Spurs so good and so worth your time. You don’t have to be a fan, but if you love hoops, you should respect the game…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week we looked at the regular-season Horry Scale in full. Now, with the playoffs in full swing, it took just at a week to have our first postseason Horry Scale entry.
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.
One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure only 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.
Counting the regular season, this gives us a record-setting 18 Horry Scale entries this season. Let’s take a closer look at Vince Carter‘s game-winning three in Game 3 against San Antonio from earlier today…
The corner three-pointer is supposedly the “easiest” three-pointer. Which doesn’t mean it’s easy, obviously. But it is a shorter shot than a straight-away or wing three. But what if you’re shooting from the corner and you’re fading away? And what if you’re covered as tightly as a smedium shirt by Manu Ginobili, with inches to get the shot off?
And what if you have less than 2 seconds left to release the shot? Well, add all those factors together and you’ve got a nearly impossible shot. Thing is, nobody told Vince Carter.
PLAYOFFS! PLAYOFFS! The pressure doesn’t get any higher than in the postseason. As for the play itself, Dallas had the ball down two, after Ginobili scored on the other end to give San Antonio the lead. You’d think Dallas might go either Dirk or Monta, both of whom have made visits to the Horry Scale this season. You would, however, be wrong. Because, of course, the Mavs went to Vince Carter instead…
Monta Ellis says Rick Carlisle saw how Spurs were planning on defending the last play and told Vince Carter he would knock down the shot.— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) April 26, 2014
To get Vince open on the inbound play, the Mavs stacked up Vince, Dirk and Brandan Wright, then ran Monta Ellis off the triple screen. As Ellis popped free at the top, Vince ducked to the corner, caught, spun and drained the shot. Good defense from Manu, better shot by Vince. Catch, spin, shot, bottom. Win.
Probably the best all-around celebration of the season. This is partially a function of it happening in the playoffs, when the intensity is already ratcheted up high. When the shot went through, the American Airlines Center went crazy. The Mavs all surrounded Vince and celebrated with him. Two other things that we should note? Right in the center of the Mavs celebration was owner Mark Cuban…
Hey, if I owned an NBA team and we won a playoff game on a last-second shot, I’d be up in that celebration, too.
Also, as the Mavs celebrated, we got a quick glimpse at stoic Popovich…
This is when it all counts. Heckuva situation, heckuva shot. As far as a grade, this one really had it all. I was thinking somewhere between 4 and 5 Horrys. And you know what? We’re going with 5 Horrys for this one, our first five Horry shot of the season…
Now it’s your turn! How many Horrys would you give Vince Carter’s shot?
Hey, Oscars … anything you can do, the San Antonio Spurs can do better. Tuesday afternoon, the Western Conference’s top-seeded squad took a cue from last month’s now infamous and star-studded selfie posted by daytime talk show celeb Ellen DeGeneres at the aforementioned award show, posting one of their own to kick off the team’s upcoming fan night festivities.
That brings us to Juan Rizzati and Santiago Uranga, two Argentinians who are in the midst of an Argentina-to-Alaska trek in an old Fiat 600.
Along the way up north, the duo stopped in San Antonio for a Spurs game. They told team officials of their travel plans and their ultimate goal and Ginobili was more than happy to meet the pair before a recent Spurs home game:
Well, it seems that Philly point Tony Wroten Jr. can’t get enough of the misadventures. His latest peccadillo? Like Manu Ginobili, his shoe can’t seem to stay together on a drive. Like Manu, his shoe was also made by Nike.
But one step Wednesday night in San Antonio might be as noteworthy as any he’s taken. Guarding Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey on a drive right before the half, he slipped. Trying to get up, he slipped again, before realizing that his left sneaker had become obsolete.
Who is more surprised: Manu or Nike? There are certain things that happen in life that, as grandma puts it, just don’t make no sense.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Andray Blatche may be a center for the Brooklyn Nets, but he frequently moonlights as a ballhandler for the Nets after grabbing a rebound. As such, Blatche has previously shown that mastering the Eurostep move popularized by players like Manu Ginobili is important to him. A few months ago, Blatche tried it out on some unsuspecting shoppers in Manhattan. Today, with the Nets in England to play against the Hawks tomorrow, Blatche gave his Eurostep an authentic European workout…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just in case you haven’t noticed, right now the San Antonio Spurs have the best record in the Western Conference, at 13-1. They have won 11 games in a row, are 7-0 at home, and their last (and only) loss this season was all the way back on November 2.
Hey, we get it: The Spurs do what they do. They execute, they move the ball, they defend, they win. It’s not rocket science. But they do this with such remarkable consistency that it can become almost stultifying. People start to think of the Spurs as basketball robots — they have no feelings, no emotions, they just want to make the proper passes and find the open guys and oh hey the Spurs won again.
Which is why this video clip is so valuable: During the waning moments of a recent 30-point win over Cleveland, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had his big three (Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan) resting on the bench. And here, caught on video, we see Manu pull the old “Make Tim Duncan sit on the paper cup” trick. -