ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the start of the playoffs usually comes a new slew of commercials featuring your favorite NBA players. For instance, this new spot from Sprint featuring Kevin Durant as a giant version of himself who hangs outside of treehouses and takes off into the sky…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Back in January, several members of the Oklahoma City Thunder were hanging out, and Hasheem Thabeet posted a photo of them hanging out together. Thunder big man Kendrick Perkins was not hanging out with them, apparently because he wasn’t invited, and he left a comment on their picture (using NSFW language) expressing his disappointment at not being invited.
Over the weekend the Thunder participated in a community event, and Thabeet posted another photo of him hanging out with all of his teammates…
Well, almost all of his teammates. Once again, Perk seems to have not made the cut. This time, however, Perk took to his own Instagram account to register his disappointment. Why should Thabeet get all those “likes”?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — You’re an NBA player, it’s the middle of a long NBA season, and you have a day off. So what do you do? If you’re Russell Westbrook, Derek Fisher or Kendrick Perkins, over the weekend you visited the Oklahoma City Zoo to lend a hand at the sea lion exhibit. There’s a lot to like here. My favorite part might be where a sea lion kisses Kendrick Perkins and he says he’s hopeful he can get a picture of the moment to put up in his office.
When most of us think of NBA Jam of the 1990s on the old Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo, we think of the high-flying dunks, the trademark catch-phrases (“Boom shalakalaka! He’s heating up! He’s on fire!). For me, that game was all about getting on fire and seeing how far away from the hoop you could get before you’d go up for a monster jam.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Lorde is the stage name of the 17-year-old singer/songwriter from New Zealand who just recently won a couple of Grammys for her song “Royals.” Last night, while in Chicago on tour, Lorde took in the big Bulls/Thunder match-up. And while she doesn’t seem to know much about the NBA, it sounds as though a good time was had by all. (Although considering her well-documented fascination with royalty, I’m kinda guessing she’d be a Kings or a King James fan?)
i am at a bulls game this is so intense how does everyone in this room not have a stress ulcer— Lorde (@lordemusic) March 18, 2014
i am such an outsider to the world of sport but i feel very proud of all playing— Lorde (@lordemusic) March 18, 2014
the cheerleaders are doing synchronized movements to small pieces of drum-based instrumental music— Lorde (@lordemusic) March 18, 2014
in the break they rolled out a red carpet on the court and a man did some tricks with his dog— Lorde (@lordemusic) March 18, 2014
@lordemusic in the interests of balance, they should send some ballers to the VMAs and get them to live-tweet it— Rory Horne (@rorhor) March 18, 2014
they just filmed me (surprise) and my keyboardist spontaneously kissed my drummer while the cameras were on us (surprise x2)— Lorde (@lordemusic) March 18, 2014
The sports world, and especially the South Beach faithful, held their collective breath momentarily Thursday night for Mr. Miami Heat. After taking a hard shot to the face on a drive (WHICH HE STILL FINISHED WITH A HIGHLIGHT DUNK DESPITE GETTING WHACKED!!!), LeBron James lay writhing in pain amidst a puddle of his own blood.
It was so bad that he left the game, heading for the locker room during the biggest game of the Heat’s season so far — done for the night. Uh oh.
Fans, King James wants you to exhale … and laugh a bit while doing it.
Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!
Today’s TBT topic: James and Durant
By Jonathan Hartzell, NBA.com
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we look back at the careers of LeBron James and Kevin Durant before the Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Miami Heat tonight on TNT at 8 p.m. ET.
(NOTE:Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Sometimes, when an argument occurs, the only way to settle it is to take to the athletic field. Or in this case, the court.
Yesterday in Oklahoma City, where the Miami Heat were practicing in the run-up to tonight’s showdown on TNT against the Thunder, a footrace broke out between the 33-year-old James Jones and the 25-year-old Michael Beasley. Luckily Ray Allen had his phone at the ready to preserve the results on social media. As Allen noted in his caption, “Chalk one up for the old guys”…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Throughout this season, perhaps you’ve seen our ongoing series, The All Ball Posterized Poll. In those posts, we examine which NBA players have been victims of the most vicious dunks.
We are proud to continue the tradition of highlighting the best of the best (and worst) with the new All Ball Crossover Contest. From time to time, we will check in and look at some of the best ankle-breaking dribbling exhibitions we’ve seen. We want to see the greatest moves, of course, but we also want to take note of who got shook.
So who broke out the best crossover in this edition of the Crossover Contest? We culled this selection of videos, and NBA.com’s Zettler Clay is providing the written commentary to accompany what you see.
Check out the videos below and vote at the bottom of the post …
NORRIS COLE ON DERRICK ROSE Zettler Says: I know, Derrick Rose was only minutes into his first game back from an ACL tear. Still, as Avon Barksdale accurately summed it up, the game is the game. Norris saw an opportunity and made a quick decision. We’re rooting for a full recovery for Rose, if only for a chance at redemption, because this move is nasty.
JOHN WALL ON TERRENCE ROSS Zettler Says:John Wall hits Terrence Ross with the double. If you were to ask for defining Wall plays to teach to youngsters, this would lead the reel. A stutter step to freeze Ross, then a crisp crossover followed by another, followed by speed to the cup. Great read, timing and execution.
STEPHEN CURRY ON REGGIE JACKSON Zettler Says: There’s nobody else in the NBA that could pull this move off, save for Jamal Crawford and Kevin Durant. Curry’s ability to quickly set his feet after a move combined with his deadly deep aim gives his crossover another element. No spot on the court is safe for any Steph defender.
DERON WILLIAMS ON CHRIS PAUL Zettler Says: Classic end of half isolation clash between two of the league’s best. What gives this play flair is the stealthy rivalry between these two players since they entered the NBA in 2005, one pick behind each other (D-Will was the third pick, Paul fourth). On this night, multiple times, the third pick had the upper hand.
J.R. SMITH ON TRISTAN THOMPSON Zettler Says: This is just Earl Joseph Smith III doing his thing. Thankfully Tristan Thompson took an unnatural fall, which not only made the play pop, but saved his ankle. If he doesn’t hit the deck, his talus is broken. Believe.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And we’re back. Not even five weekdays since Randy Foyeroused us on a quiet Monday evening, and the Horry Scale has been awakened by a rim-rattling dunk from Orlando’s Tobias Harris.
One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure 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.
Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain why we’re here: 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.
OK, so you understand? For our records, this is the fourteenth GWBB this season, so our record-setting pace continues unabated. for now, let’s break this shot down…
It was an undefended dunk, the kind of dunk Tobias Harris has probably converted hundreds or even thousands of times in his life. But I doubt he’s ever put one down with literally no time left on the clock. After Kevin Durant missed his jumper that would have put Oklahoma City up 3, Victor Oladipo out-fought Thabo Sefolosha and Reggie Jackson to corral the ball, and by the time Oladipo had it and was heading up court, there were just under 4 seconds remaining. Even though they had a timeout remaining, the Magic played on and took advantage of the numbers. In the next four seconds, Oladipo dribbled the length of the court and got into the paint, where Jeremy Lamb stepped up to cut off his drive. Lamb left Maurice Harkless alone on the baseline, and Oladipo hit him with a bounce pass. Harkless caught the ball with 1.5 seconds remaining, and immediately dished it back to a trailing Tobias Harris, who dunked it home with no time remaining. It was a terrific pass by Harkless, but it was as gutsy as it was fundamentally sound — with such a miniature amount of time left, this game was pretty close to ending with Harris a couple of inches away from a GWBB. But he made it, and the Magic won in thrilling come-from-behind fashion.
The Thunder had an 8-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Magic outscored them 23-14 in the fourth to get the W. There were two things about the situation around this particular play that stuck out to me: 1. Durant shot the ball with about 3 seconds left on the shot clock. I know he was able to get to one of his preferred spots on the court, at the free throw line extended, which is a shot he makes more often than not. But if he’d been able to wait just a second longer, the Magic wouldn’t have had the time to grab the board and do what they did. 2. The Thunder had a small lineup in at the time, and when Durant’s shot went up, Serge Ibaka was the only member of the Thunder anywhere near the rim in a rebounding position. And the long bounce from the miss then took him out of contention for the rebound.
Now that’s a celebration. With no time on the clock, the Magic players knew they could celebrate, so the bench guys rushed the court. The camera work became shaky, like something out of a movie. Harris received a trio of chest bumps, ending with a thunderous hug from Big Baby Davis. Also, you want to see what disbelief looks like? Check out the Thunder bench…
As I wrote above, and I hope you remember this, IT ISN’T ONLY ABOUT THE SHOT. It’s about the entire play, and the accumulated circumstances surrounding the shot. As a dunk, in a vacuum, for an NBA player it wasn’t the most difficult shot. But put everything together, including a lottery team playing the best team in the West, and making a shot while down a point to win the game, and it was a pretty epic play for the Magic. I can’t give this 5 stars, only because this is a regular season game and I have to be able to still go up from here once we reach the playoffs. So instead, I’m giving this 4 Horrys, the same grade to which I retroactively rated Jeff Green’s season-opening shot.
What say you? How many Horrys would you give Tobias Harris’s GWBB?