ALL BALL NERVE CENTER – Stadium Journey is a web site that is dedicated to making “every trip to the ballpark, stadium, or arena the very best it can be.” This is a noble goal, with results that can be incredibly useful to fans interested in attending NBA games in various arenas.
Stadium Journey recently released their 2012-13 NBA Arena rankings, listing the arenas in terms of the overall fan experience while attending a game. Their criteria includes “food and beverage in the arena, overall atmosphere, the neighborhood, the fans, access (which includes parking, traffic, restrooms, and concourses), return on investment, and an “extras” category for any unique or bonus points.”
You can check out the full rankings at the link, but their top five goes like this:
AT&T Center in San Antonio
Staples Center (for a Lakers game)
Amway Center in Orlando
Barclays Center in Brooklyn
Toyota Center in Houston
I have attended games in 25 of the 29 current NBA arenas, but as a media member I don’t get to have the fan experience. (Although if Stadium Journey would like details about the various arena freight elevators, utility closets and media facilities, I’d be glad to chime in.)
But for those of you who’ve been to games in various arenas, please chime in? Where’s your favorite place to experience an NBA game?
Horry moments never come solo. They come with company.
After watching Jordan Crawfordgo on the road and finish off the Trail Blazers earlier this week on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, DeMar Derozan repeated the act across country in Orlando. And like one of his predecessors (J.R. Smith), he took a liking to that left baseline corner, rising and fading over two defenders right in front of the Magic’s bench to finish off a stellar period.
D-Roz’s shot didn’t happen in a vacuum. It culminated a frenzied night for both teams, with 12 lead changes and a lot of players getting in on the action (12 players notched double figures in scoring). The Raptors had been in a string of close games (overtime in three of previous four matchups) and had no intention of carrying this game past the regulation mark.
For those that 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.
How does DeRozan’s shot Thursday night stack up? Without further ado…
DeRozan likes the mid-range area, shooting over 100 more shots there than the paint (his next favorite spot). Even still, this was a nice shot. The high jumper safely made it through the bucket only after the Compton native took a pass from Jose Calderon, a couple dribbles to his left and launched with two defenders in hot pursuit. Glen Davis was just a shade too late, allowing a sliver of daylight to a hot shooter (more on this later) at the wrong time of the game.
This was evocative of the kind of shot Kobe Bryant makes on a regular basis.
Again, this was a back-and-forth affair. With under a minute left, DeRozan put the Raptors ahead with a jumper after J.J. Redick completed a four-point play. E’Twaun Moore scored two off an offensive rebound, tying the game, setting up the final shot with the score tied at 95 with 4.3 seconds to go.
A cursory glance says “this was just two bottom-rung teams slugging it out.” Which is true (both teams are a combined 30-56). However, for DeRozan, this was significant. For a player looking to establish himself as a 2-guard to watch, closing a game out like this is a good route to take. He had only eight points going into the fourth quarter, then erupted for 14 (7-of-8, six jumpers). What happened? Well for one, Orlando went small. For a player who eats off mid-range jumpers and getting into the paint, this is a boon.
Consequently, he got hot, obviating the Raptors’ blown double-digit lead and botched defensive coverages (including the aforementioned four-point play by Redick). Thanks to his heroics, the Raptors made a step toward closing games out, which has been their Achilles’ heel this season.
For the Magic, chalk this up to another lesson for a young team still learning how to win in this league.
No jumping. No yelling. No smiling. Just a couple arms in the air and plain grit on the face of D-Roz as teammates Amir Johnson and Calderon came for the man-hugs. The dejected body languages on Redick and Jameer Nelson told the tale as much as the Raptors’ celebration.
The Raptors looked more relieved at not losing in Orlando than thrilled at ending the game in such a dramatic fashion. Coach Dwane Casey isn’t prone to histrionics. Neither is his team.
But Alan Anderson’s ball spike after the shot fell through was top notch.
*Editor’s note: Prior to DeRozan’s post-game interview, Casey did run up to give DeRozan a good smooch on the cheek. Must say, this ratchets the celebration factor up a bit. a
3 Horrys. I suppose the shot could’ve been harder, if there were three defenders on him. Only two knocks on the rating: the tie game and subdued celebration (minus the kiss from coach). I’m all for a little grit. But you sent the opposing crowd home bitter right as time expired. Live it up a little. Either way, an incredible shot to end a superb fourth quarter for DeRozan.
You gotta feel a little bad for Zaza Pachulia last night … sure he finished with seven points and nine boards in Atlanta’s 86-80 win against Orlando. Pachulia, you see, is 0-for-16 lifetime from 3-point range (and 0-for-17 if you include the playoffs). Yet there the Hawks were at the end of the third quarter, inbounding the ball with 1.2 seconds left. Josh Smith passes to Pachulia. He takes one dribble and then heaves the ball from a little bit longer than halfcout. It sails through the air and … swish!
Back to last night’s Pacers-Lakers game and the similarities are striking. Close game? Check. Is the reigning dance champ involved? Check. Call that could swing the game either way? Check. Animated and memorable call of the foul (this time actually by an NBA official)? Check. Bonus: the Pacers were involved again!
All that said, the above-shown dance-off set to Soulja Boy’s “Crank That” (which Duhon dances to) vs. Psy’s “Gangnam Style” made us chuckle. Hope it does the same for you.
On Monday night, the Magic traveled to Boston after a day off to face the Celtics. The Celts, who played Sunday in D.C., were without their star two-guard Ray Allen. The Magic boasted an 11-4 record and were rolling. The writing was on the wall.
Some writing. The Magic shot 25 percent from the field (16 of 65) and the highly anticipated return of Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis to Boston was overshadowed by Brandon Bass‘ 19 points and eight boards in a molly-whopping in Boston’s favor.
But that wasn’t even the most absurd occurrence of the night:
Attaboy J-Rich! Nothing like a little subterfuge to throw the winning team off track.
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As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.
With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the Orlando Magic, who played three straight from Jan. 16-18.
I’ll be honest. I haven’t paid that much attention to Orlando’s on-court product so far this season, as I assumed like most of you the only thing anyone cared about with the Magic is if and/or when Dwight Howard gets traded. However, wouldn’t you know they decided to play their games anyway and remind everyone they can still play this game a little?
Game 1: Magic 102, Knicks 93 - Also drowned out by the speculation over Howard’s potential whereabouts? Ryan Anderson‘s impressive start. Anderson knocked down seven 3′s on his way to a career-high 30 as the Magic knocked off the Knicks at MSG. 2 points (1 for win, 1 for road)
Game 2: Magic 96, Bobcats 89 - 25 and 17 for Superman, but Orlando leaves points on the board (for our purposes) in what should have been a much easier home win over the hapless Bobcats. 3 points
Game 3: Spurs 85, Magic 83 - Oooooh, this one had to sting a little. The Magic came justthisclose to becoming the third team (after the Bulls and Thunder) to sweep their three-play, but J.J. Redick‘s three-pointer came a split second after the final buzzer sounded. Can’t fault Orlando for running out of gas in an overtime game at the tail end of the trip. Also of note: It was the first road win of the season for the Spurs. 0 points
The Magic are having a nice season so far despite all the distractions, but they fall to the bottom half of the table with 5 total points.
Up next: The L.A. Clippers also played three straight Jan. 16-18.
The basketball public is probably still a little skeptical as to how far this Hawks can team can go in the playoffs, but one thing is for sure, they are the champs (the CHAMPS) of postgame smack talk. And for this, we salute them.
First, we had Josh Smith with a little “In yo’ face!” comeuppance to an Orlando sportswriter and now comes word that Hawks VP of Public Relations Arthur Triche left a pair of tickets to last night’s Hawks-Bulls Game 1 for Magic guard Jameer Nelson, who famously told Derrick Rose a few weeks back that he’d “see you in the second round.” Um, or not.
Last night, the Washington Wizards – owners of NBA’s worse road record – visited Disney World. The outcome of the game didn’t come as any surprise (Magic won handily) but this sight might.
Either a foul was called, causing play to stop while J.J. Redick got his freebie in or Redick delivered a Tim Hardaway-like crossover and finished with a left hand flush over the interested Wizards’ D.
The body language of the three Wizards – John Wall (l), Kirk Hinrich (c), Andray Blatche (r) – says more than I can. Well actually, Hinrich could give us a little more on the apathy end.
However, he did manage to exact some get-back on the former Blue Devil later in the game.
(For sake of time, forward to the 1:50 mark.)
J.J., hardwood. Hardwood, meet J.J. And that smothered laughter you hear… is not from Stephen Curry.