Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans Pelicans’

MUSCLEWATCH 2015 (Summer Edition)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERMUSCLEWATCH traditionally makes its debut each fall as NBA teams assemble for training camp. But sometimes the muscles just can’t be ignored, as has been the case thus far this summer.

But first! What, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? Basically, it began decades ago when my friend Matt and I noticed our local paper would always report that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12 pounds, never 16, never 9, never 18, but seemed to always be 15 pounds of muscle. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. Eventually, MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thad Young and Rudy Gay.

Whenever you come across MUSCLEWATCH news, please let me know! You can either email me via the link in the header above, or you can send me a tweet, and make sure you use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH.

Anyway, with Summer Leagues happening around the NBA the last few weeks, I’ve been getting MUSCLEWATCH reports on Twitter, and I felt that today would be a good day to round them up for posterity.

Let’s actually begin a few weeks back, as prospects were preparing for the NBA Draft. Here we see Willie Cauley-Stein, days before being drafted by the Sacramento Kings, sit down for an interview with ESPN’s Henry Abbott. Early on in this interview, Cauley-Stein mentions gaining 20 pounds of MUSCLE since his college season ended, a staggering figure by any account. Ace interviewer that he is, Abbott seizes on this tidbit and tries to get some details from Cauley-Stein about this important MUSCLEWATCH moment…

My favorite moment of the interview? Probably when Abbott asks Cauley-Stein if he knows who I am, and Cauley-Stein responds with an actual shrug…

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 9.54.17 AM

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Celtics forward James Young has also made MUSCLEWATCH news, although he may be employing some fuzzy math. According to initial reports, Young had put on the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE…

That’s when the controversy starts. One report says Young apparently gained 20 pounds over the last year, with a 10-pound burst of weight coming more recently?

Or maybe it’s 15 pounds plus 5 more?

Either way, Young is clearly aiming to make a MUSCLEWATCH name for himself heading into the season.

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An early MUSCLEWATCH championship candidate is clearly Oklahoma City’s Mitch McGary, who has reportedly shed 30 pounds…

According to McGary, the weight loss is a result of several factors…

McGary credits the weight loss to cooking classes, a healthier diet and rigorous workouts. By eating better and transforming his body, McGary believes he’ll put himself in a better position to stay healthy and play the best basketball of his life.

“I’m sick of being injured and not being able to play at full strength 100 percent,” McGary said. “So this summer was really key for me. I stayed in Oklahoma City and just been working my tail off to get into shape.”

“You were always eating at your parents’ house, and then you go and start living on the pizza and wings diet in college, man,” McGary said. “It’s not cool not knowing how to cook for yourself when you go home and you’re trying to eat out every night. I’d rather just stay home, cook myself up some chicken, some fish, and have a nice dinner at home.”

After only a few months trying his hand at cooking, McGary now proudly shares his creations with fans on social media and jokingly boasts of being a beast in the kitchen.

“Man, I’m nice,” McGary said. “They call me ‘Chef.’”

I think a Mitch McGary cooking show is something the world needs. Congratulations to Chef McGary!

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Down in New Orleans, we have a few MUSCLEWATCH notes. First of all, Tyreke Evans has allegedly dropped weight, according to new Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry

Also, guard Eric Gordon is just a few pounds behind Evans…

Also, as always, thanks to the Pelicans for using the proper #MUSCLEWATCH hashtag on their official Twitter account…

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The Timberwolves may be a young team still building, but forward Shabazz Muhammad is trying to grab a MUSCLEWATCH crown right now. According to the T-Wolves, Muhammad is reuniting with a legendary MUSCLEWATCH figure…

We first met “Crazy Frank” last season, back when he was referred to as “Hell’s Trainer.” Muhammad says he’s planning to lose more weight, which seems like a foregone conclusion.

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Some odds and ends…Bulls GM Gar Forman says Jimmy Butler has put on some weight…

Lakers forward Julius Randle is shedding bad weight while adding good weight…

Anthony Bennett has done serious MUSCLEWATCH work through the years…

Dante Exum is off to a promising start…

And finally…we don’t have any concrete figures, but Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo looks like he’s putting in time in the weight room…

Anthony Davis has a pet monkey

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Having a pet can be a full-time job. I have a pet dog, for instance, and I have to feed and walk the dog several times a day. Taking care of a pet is a real commitment, but weighed against how much we love our dog, it’s well worth the effort.

Taking care of a dog is one thing, but what about a marmoset? First of all, what is a marmoset? According to Wikipedia, a marmoset is a species of monkey that is usually about 8 inches long. It is also a monkey that many people keep as a pet.

One month ago, New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis posted a photo on Instagram of a marmoset, with the caption (apparently the name of the monkey), “Meek!”

Young Meek!

A photo posted by Ant Davis (@antdavis_23) on

There was no further explanation given, however. Until now. This weekend, Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher apparently came across the marmoset at Las Vegas Summer League, and was able to reveal a little more detail…

For what it’s worth, Davis isn’t the first NBA player to have a pet monkey. Years ago when he played for the Miami Heat, Mike Miller had a pet monkey named Sonny.

26 Jul 2001:  Mike Miller #50 of the Orlando Magic poses for a portrait with his pet monkey Sonny in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: It is expressly understood that the only rights Allsport are offering to license in this Photograph are one-time, non-exclusive editorial rights. No advertising or commercial uses of any kind may be made of Allsport photos. User acknowledges that it is aware that Allsport is an editorial sports agency and that NO RELEASES OF ANY TYPE ARE OBTAINED from the subjects contained in the photographs.Mandatory Credit: Fernando Medina  /NBAE/Getty Images

Fernando Medina /NBAE/Getty Images

I don’t know whether or not Sonny is still part of the Miller household, but once upon a time, as the Washington Post reported, Sonny did provide a classic NBA story

Sonny had his own bedroom, but “I didn’t have no kids, so he got to post up wherever he wanted,” Miller said. He would get food from the fridge whenever he was hungry; grapes were a particular favorite. He loved playing billiards, though “he wouldn’t use a pool stick, he’d just throw the balls,” Miller said. “He had a nice jumper, too,” he added, though he said he was joking about that. But at this point, I wasn’t totally sure what was a joke or what wasn’t. Like, the oft-told tale about when Miller got a phone call saying his monkey was on the loose?

“Oh yeah, that was a trip,” Miller said. “You would always put him in his room, and then we’d lock the door, and then we’d put the dogs out, and then we’d lock the front door. Well, he found out how to unlock doors, unlocked his door, went downstairs, let the dogs in the house and opened the front door. About an hour later we got a call from our neighbors, saying, ‘Your monkey is riding your dogs around the neighborhood.’…I said, ‘C’mon y’all, y’all got to get in the house.”

Memphis Grizzlies ask if Warriors are ready to come out and play

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Golden State Warriors had an incredible regular season, finishing 67-15 and losing just twice at home all season long. After dispatching the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round, they matched up against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round, and received a jolt in Game 2 when the Grizzlies snatched a win in Oakland, thanks largely to the defensive efforts of Tony Allen.

The series shifts to Memphis this weekend, and the Grizzlies took to Twitter and used a scene from the classic film “The Warriors” to make sure Golden State is ready to come out and play…

Warriors fans give Monty Williams some help

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The fans at Golden State Warriors games have long been known for creating one of the loudest in-game environments in the NBA. Opposing players and coaches are well acquainted with this, as nobody seems to relish having to play in Oracle Arena, a.k.a. Roar-acle Arena.

But it was still stunning to hear Pelicans coach Monty Williams admit this yesterday before Game 2 of the Pelicans/Warriors series. As Williams said

“I’m not so sure that the decibel level is legal there, and I’m serious. They’ve done studies on that. Being on the competition committee, there’s got to be something to that because it does get a little out of hand. I’ve talked about it for years, they’ve got some of the best fans in the league here, and they show up early. The music before the game, they’re playing old school music, and it’s right above your locker room. And you’re like, ‘These people are crazy, man. This is pretty cool.’ So I’m sure it has an effect, but after a few minutes, it’s just basketball.”

If Williams was looking for a way to further motivate Golden State’s already rabid fans, he found a proper avenue: Last night the fans were louder than ever, cheering on Golden State in their Game 2 victory.

But Warriors fans didn’t forget about Williams. To make sure he was properly protected, some helpful Warriors fan left a little gift on the scorer’s table right next to the Warriors’ bench…

(via B/R)

Inside the Pelicans locker room celebration

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It took them almost every minute of every game, but last night the New Orleans Pelicans beat the San Antonio Spurs and qualified for the NBA playoffs. This was cause for celebration, and while the Pelicans celebrated on the court, they were able to cut loose a bit more in this video from inside the locker room, which also includes coach Monty Williams’ congratulatory speech as well as their postgame prayer. Great stuff…


VIDEO: Pelicans celebrate

Remember when Hakeem Olajuwon posted a quadruple-double?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the most exciting players in the NBA this season has been New Orleans big man Anthony Davis, who has one of the most versatile games the NBA has seen in years. Davis may be able to do many different things, but one thing he hasn’t done — yet, at least — is post a quadruple-double: racking up double figures in points, rebounds, assists and blocks or steals in the same game.

This is has only happened four times in the NBA since the league began tracking blocks and steals in 1973. Twenty-five years ago tomorrow, one of those instances happened, when Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon went for 18 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and 11 blocks against the Milwaukee Bucks. How dominant was Hakeem back then? Earlier that month, he had a game with 29 points, 18 boards, 11 blocks and 9 assists.

So while Hakeem’s old Houston Rockets franchise plays a national TV game tomorrow against the Washington Wizards (12:30 p.m. EST on ABC), and we can watch Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat man the middle for these teams, but check out these highlights of Hakeem dominating twenty-five years ago…


VIDEO: Hakeem quadruple-double

Phoenix Suns go with 8-bit intros

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Tonight in Phoenix, the Suns host the New Orleans Pelicans in something they’re calling #TBTSuns, a nod to Throwback Thursday. Tickets are available for $8, which is what they cost back when Suns coach Jeff Hornacek was playing for the Suns. And to celebrate the late-’80s/early-’90s vibe, the Suns dropped an NBA Jam-inspired lineup introduction video…


VIDEO: Suns ’80s

The New Orleans Pelicans pump up the jam

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Tonight in New Orleans, for their game against the Boston Celtics, the New Orleans Pelicans will celebrate ’80s Night. I’m not sure how this will be manifested during the game — slower tempo? worse statistical analysis? — but they Pelicans are getting people fired up for ’80s Night with this video showing some of the players, including Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis, getting their ’80s on to the smooth sounds of Technotronic’s “Pump Up The Jam”…


VIDEO: Pelicans 80s

Pelicans bring back nightmare King Cake Baby

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We obviously love mascots here at the All Ball blog, but I’m not sure the Pelicans’ King Cake Baby qualifies as a mascot. I mean, it’s obviously inhuman and constructed of non-organic matter, which would seem to mark it as a mascot. But at the same time, the Pelicans have a Pelican as their mascot, so I guess the King Cake Baby is just some kind of secondary, seasonal thing they bring out for a few weeks year during Mardi Gras, when people bake miniature plastic babies into cakes as a means of finding good luck.

Whatever the Pelicans’ gigantic King Cake Baby mascot thingy is, it is undeniably creepy and terrifying to see a huge, wide-eyed, wild-eyed zombie baby walking around, particularly in your office. There’s one scene in this video where an unsuspecting gentleman exits the office kitchenette and is scared by King Cake Baby, and I think that right there would have been it for me. Do you, King Cake Baby mascot. Just stay away from me, King Cake Baby.


VIDEO: Office Cake baby

Horry Scale: Brow Beater lifts Pelicans

VIDEO: Anthony Davis shocks the Thunder with a buzzer-beating 3

Anthony Davis has done it all for the Pelicans in this very impressive breakout season … well, almost everything, until Friday night. Scoring, rebounds, blocked shots, steals, assists? The only thing missing from his resume in 2014-15 was a buzzer-beater, and that was signed, sealed and delivered in the nick of time to bail out the Pelicans and, more importantly, keep the Thunder at bay in the race for one of the final playoff spots in the West.

Yes, it was only fitting that his first buzzer-beater happened in a big moment and a big game. The Pelicans came to OKC with a one-game lead over the Thunder for ninth place, and this was designated, at least by folks in OKC, as the game in which the Thunder would make their move in the standings. They used much of the last two months digging out of a tough start this season caused mainly by injuries to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. With the season nearly two-thirds over, time is of the essence, not only for OKC but New Orleans, since both are sitting on the playoff bubble.

Something had to give … and did with no time left on the clock.

DIFFICULTY

Davis isn’t the first player you’d choose to shoot the ball from 3-point range. Actually, what was he doing so far away from the basket, with the score tied? A more reasonable spot for Davis would be near the basket for a tip-in off the inbounds pass. Oh, well. He was checked closely by Durant, but wiggled free and took the pass from Tyreke Evans with 1.2 seconds left. Davis was moving to his left from the top of the key, then leaped in the air, hanging about a split-second longer than Durant. He double-clutched just to make sure and created just enough air space to release a shot beyond the reach of Durant. Not many big man are athletic enough to pull off the mid-air gymnastics that Davis did. The game-winner was Davis’ first made 3-pointer since March of last season and only his third career make in 24 tries. You know what’ll happen this March? Davis turns 22.

GAME SITUATION

The Pelicans nearly choked this game away. Evans missed a pair of free throws on New Orleans’ next to last possession that could’ve iced the game. And then, up three points, Quincy Pondexter ran out to guard Westbrook beyond the three-point stripe, which is really a defensive sin. Pondexter couldn’t stop his momentum and made contact with Westbrook, who released the shot quickly, on the way down. Westbrook had a monster night with a career-high 48 points with 9 rebounds and 11 assists (after scoring 45 points against these same Pelicans his previous game), and calmly hit all three free throws to tie the game with 1.2 ticks left.

IMPORTANCE

Davis finished with 41 points and 10 rebounds in the 116-113 win and, as we already mentioned, the Pelicans are in a fight with OKC and the Suns for the eighth spot, which Phoenix is clinging to at the moment. OKC and the Pelicans met two nights earlier in New Orleans and Westbrook torched the home team in the win. And so: Westbrook scored a combined 93 points in back-to-back games against the Pelicans and OKC only managed a split. The Pelicans are on their best roll of the season, losing only twice since Jan. 19. In their next 12 games, they’ll only see teams with winning records three times. With a soft schedule, it’s the best time for New Orleans to make a strong move. The Pelicans also now hold a 3-1 head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder, who have have lost five of their last eight and no doubt hear the clock ticking.

CELEBRATION

Davis was mobbed by his teammates, with two potential goats, Evans and Pondexter, leading the charge. Seriously, had that shot missed, it would’ve been a long flight out of OKC for two players who only needed to do the right thing to avoid the last second drama.

GRADE

This shot wasn’t exactly heavy on theatrics, but it did involve Davis, and it was a rare three-pointer from him, and the game carried a fair amount of importance for February. Therefore, the Brow Beater was better than most. We’ll give it four Horrys.

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