Posts Tagged ‘Paul Millsap’

Horry Scale: CDR pays dividends

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


VIDEO: CDR’s game-winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s been three weeks since we last fired up the Horry Scale, and in the time since, we’ve been mostly focused on the playoff race. As teams fought for position, somehow we had no game-winning buzzer-beaters that would require the Horry Scale to be utilized. Tonight that all ended, in the inked-out arms of Charlotte’s Chris Douglas-Roberts, as the Bobcats knocked off the Atlanta Hawks, 95-93.

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.

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.

We all clear? OK, let’s break tonight’s shot down, our 17th Horry Scale entry of the season…

DIFFICULTY
A runner over two defenders? Tougher than it sounds. We should say here that the Hawks weren’t playing with a full deck, as they gave rotation members DeMarre Carroll, Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap the night off. (The Bobcats also limited the minutes of their key players.) With playoff berths secure for both teams, they seemed content to let some of their bench players battle this one out. That said, CDR was well defended, and his shot flew high into the air before splashing through the net.

GAME SITUATION
Gary Neal and Sekou Smith’s favorite player, Luke Ridnour, carried the Bobcats throughout the fourth quarter. But the Hawks rallied late after a 5-0 run from Shelvin Mack brought them within two, and then a jumper from Lou Williams with 2.6 to play knotted the game at 93. With the game tied, the Bobcats inbounded the ball on the side in front of their basket. With Martin Sargent-lookalike Josh McRoberts inbounding, the Bobcats sent Ridnour and Chris Douglas-Roberts running in a wide arc, as Al Jefferson set a pick and Gary Neal flashed to the corner. The Hawks covered all of this very well, and none of the initial options were open. With maybe a second left to inbound the ball, Douglas-Roberts flashed from the basline to the top of the key, and momentarily lost defender Lou Williams on a brush screen from Jefferson. CDR drove left, pulled up from just inside the free-throw line, and knocked down the game-winner over a recovering Williams and help defender Mike Muscala, with no time to play.

CELEBRATION
The celebration was mostly subdued. Gary Neal wrapped Douglas-Roberts in a bear hug in front of the Hawks bench, and even Bobcats sideline reporter Stephanie Ready got in a high five. it felt like both teams were more concerned with the playoffs starting later this week.

GRADE
I’m going to give this one two Horrys. It was a nice shot, sure, but when one team doesn’t care enough to have their best players in the game, it detracts from the fun a bit. Not that this should matter to Charlotte — they wanted to win and ran the best play possible for them to win it. Heckuva shot from CDR, no doubt. But all in all, I’m going two stars …

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What say you? How many Horry’s would you give Chris Douglas-Roberts’ GWBB?

Lance reaches into his bag of kicks

Hawks fans came into Sunday expecting a herculean effort to beat the Pacers in Indiana. Struggling or not, the Pacers have won 34 games at home (most in the NBA). Besides, Atlanta had lost 21 out of its past 29 games.

It took three possessions in to see who was the better team. A hundred or so possessions later, the Hawks unleashed droppings all over Bankers Life Fieldhouse en route to a 107-88 victory.

But the Pacers didn’t go down without a fight. Early in the fourth quarter, Lance Stephenson decided to show Paul Millsap how much he could channel Liu Kang on a basketball court.

I’m not sure if Millsap enjoyed his martial artistry as much as I did:


VIDEO: Lance Stephenson drives to the cup, but not before unleashing a kick on Paul Millsap

Horry Scale: Teague Time


VIDEO: Teague’s Winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Perhaps you thought you were done unwrapping presents, but tonight in Cleveland, the Hawks and Cavs had one last gift for you. It was one of the most entertaining games of the season, so of course it had to end (not in regulation, not in overtime, but in double overtime) with a game-winning buzzer-beater from Hawks guard Jeff Teague.

Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain: 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.

With the rules in place, tonight we look to the shores of Lake Erie, to Cleveland, where Jeff Teague could not be stopped…not even by Uncle Drew.

DIFFICULTY
To be fair, it wasn’t the toughest shot in the world — Teague drove left and pulled up for the right-handed jumper, kind of like Hawks guard Mike Bibby used to do. The simple genius in this play was the Hawks running Paul Millsap at Teague with about 6 seconds left to ostensibly set a screen. Millsap got to Teague and set what was basically a token screen, and the Cavs switched the pick. Now, we’ve talked about switching picks here previously — pretty much every NBA team switches picks in the final seconds because the last thing you want is someone who is totally unguarded. You might end up with a mismatch, but at least you’ve got someone defending everyone. On this play, that meant the Cavs went from having Kyrie Irving on Teague to having the 6-foot-9 Tristan Thompson guarding Teague. (Kyrie, by the way, was equally huge tonight, finishing with 40 points and 9 assists). This is what is known as a mismatch, and it only took Teague a few dribbles to shake Thompson and clear room for the last-second shot.

GAME SITUATION
It is in this category that this shot really soars. To begin with, Teague missed a floater with seconds left in regulation that would have broken the tie at 95. Not long into the first overtime, Hawks All-Star center Al Horford had an injury to what appeared to be his right shoulder/chest that took him out of the game, and forced the Hawks to use a variety of makeshift lineups down the stretch. With about 7 seconds left in OT and the Hawks down three, Teague drained a long three-pointer to tie the game at 108. Then with 2.4 seconds left in overtime, the Hawks had a shot at a GWBB from the baseline that Teague couldn’t connect on, sending the game into double OT. In the second OT, Teague had a huge drive-and-one to give the Hawks a 125-123 lead, and then with the game level at 125, Teague ended it. Basically, the situation couldn’t have been much more dramatic. And Teague put the bow on top.

CELEBRATION
I’m going to lump the ball going through the rim as part of the celebration, because it doesn’t really fit anywhere else (it’s not “difficulty,” it’s just lucky) and that was a huge part of what made this such a great shot. The ball hit the rim five times, I believe, and it may have even kissed the glass somwhere in there, all while the buzzer was sounding in the background and you wondered, “It’s not going to…no way…that can’t…ohmygoshhemadeit!” And then after the ball drops, you see Teague laying flat on the ground celebrating — not only the GWBB but also a career-high 34 points — with Kyle Korver pounding on his chest. This was the first prone Horry Scale celebration of the season, I believe.

GRADE
For reasons that will become evident in the next week or so, I watched this game intently from the Turner Studios in Atlanta, and the deeper the game went, the more sure I was that we’d have a GWBB. It was an exciting, close game, and it had an equally exciting finish. So for all the reasons detailed above, I’m giving this Four Horrys. I thought seriously about giving this a Five just because it was such a great game, but I felt the actual shot could have had a bit of a higher degree of difficulty.

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What say you? How many Horrys would you give Jeff Teague’s GWBB?

The All Ball Posterized Poll (Vol. 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’re into the NBA’s most devastating dunks, we’ve got you covered over at the new-and-improved Dunk HQ. But because we’re the All Ball blog and we like to look at the NBA from non-traditional angles, we will focus on the flip side of the NBA’s best dunks: What we want to know is, who got got?

So welcome to Volume Two of The All Ball Posterized Poll. We will check in from time to time and examine the worst of the best, and use a highly scientific polling method to determine which NBA player got dunked on (a.k.a. posterized) the most egregiously. And at the end of the season all of our winners will battle it out to determine who it is that most belongs on a poster.

The winner of Volume One was New Orleans’ Jeff Withey, who was placed on a poster by Lakers’ wingman Xavier Henry, his college teammate. (You can see the offending dunk at this post.) Voting at Volume One is now officially closed.

But can anyone top Withey? We have four new nominees. We checked in with NBA.com’s own slam dunk specialist, LeMont Calloway, for his informed perspective on the matter. “What I’ll say most about these defenders is that at least they’re trying to show help-side D,” LeMont notes. “There’s a defender or two around the league who wouldn’t even dare, let alone probably couldn’t even make the proper rotation. (Calling you out Boozer!) But, it’s like Bill Walton used to say: What are big men doing trying to take charges anyway?”

1. Chris Bosh (as nominated by Josh Smith)
LeMont’s Take: “It’s got to be fun for Brandon Jennings to play with several front-line bangers on his team. He’s dropped a few passes behind to his big men on fast breaks, and this time it’s J-Smoove’s turn to finish it off.”


VIDEO: Josh Dunks On Bosh

2. Al Horford and Paul Millsap (as nominated by Victor Oladipo)
LeMont’s take: “Any dunk that can get this kind of response out of announcer Dominique Wilkins, one of the godfathers of the dunk, has to be something special. On his visit to the Hawks, I guess Vic wanted to pay tribute to Atlanta rapper Future. Two at the same time indeed.”


VIDEO: Oladipo Dunks On Hawks

3. Carlos Boozer (as nominated by Rodney Stuckey)
LeMont’s Take: “Booz, you brought this one on yourself. One more of these and maybe he’ll consider playing actual NBA-caliber defense.”


VIDEO: Stuckey Dunks On Boozer

4. Darren Collison (as nominated by Ben McLemore)
LeMont’s Take: “This is my pick for the new bunch. You’ve got Big Ben flying with authority and a competent attempt to make a defensive play. Just not enough lift for Collison. The rook’s making me a fan, that’s for sure.”


VIDEO: McLemore Dunks On Collison

These are your nominees for Volume Two. Vote for the winner below…

THE POSTERIZED POLL

Horry Scale: Williams Saves Jazz

by Jeff Case




Nothing better than more entries on the Horry Scale. Or, in this case, Mo entries.

The Jazz have been hovering around .500 all season, but a recent stretch of wins against the Lakers (in L.A.) and a nice rally against Toronto has Utah finding its rhythm. Being in a flow hasn’t been a problem for the Spurs, who — surprise!! — have been in and out of the No. 1 spot in the West all season. A nationally televised date between San Antonio and Utah in Salt Lake City wouldn’t seem to be a thriller in the making, especially given the Spurs’ defensive rating (6th) and the Jazz’s propensity for poor defense (20th in defensive rating). Yet down the stretch, we were treated to a Jazz-Spurs game that brought back memories of their 1990s rivalry, with Mo Williams putting on the hero cape this time.

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, and gives it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.

How does Williams’ shot Wednesday night stack up? Let’s take a look.

Difficulty

We’ll detail the play itself below — which the Spurs defended well twice — but overall the shot wasn’t too, too difficult for an NBA player of Williams’ caliber. San Antonio’s Danny Green was all over Williams on two different inbounds plays the Jazz tried to run and played him well once he got the ball. Williams wasn’t having a pretty night at this point — he was 3-for-8 from the field and 0-for-3 on 3-pointers. But Utah traded Devin Harris (a career 31.4 percent 3-point shooter) and picked up Williams (a career 38.6 shooter) in the offseason in separate deals because of Williams’ ability to make big 3-pointers. He came through this night.

Game Situation

Utah rallies from a 90-83 hole with 4:50 left to eventually tie the score off Paul Millsap‘s short jumper in the paint with 40 seconds to go. After a missed jumper by Tony Parker — which Williams rebounds and brings up court — Williams takes a 3-pointer that goes off the front of the rim. Millsap rebounds it and the Jazz call timeout and set up a play, but Gordon Hayward struggles to find an open man and calls another timeout. Hayward is the trigger man again and Williams tries to work off an Al Jefferson screen with Green right on his hip, but eventually gets the ball. Williams dribbles out near the wing, gets about two feet behind the 3-point line and lets fly with Green closing out nicely. All net and buzzer, though.

Importance

As we mentioned above, the Jazz have been up and down all season, nearly matching a bad win with a good win game by game. But thanks to a West-leading 9-1 mark in front of the always-faithful Jazz fans at EnergySolutions Arena, Utah is No. 6 in the West and staying in the thick of things. San Antonio, as mentioned, is as elite as ever and came into the game having won 10 of its last 11 and sporting the best record in the NBA.  It’s hard to imagine either team swapping positions once May comes around, but for both teams, wins and losses against playoff-level/elite-caliber opponents are what can build (or break) confidence, especially in the case of the youthful Jazz.

All that said, this one probably had a little more importance for the Spurs. They’re in a dogfight with Memphis and OKC for the No. 1 spot in the West and, in case you forgot, the third tiebreaker for playoff seeding is better winning percentage against teams in the conference.

Celebration

Say what you want about Jazz fans, but those folks know how to celebrate a moment. Williams basks in the glory of the home crowd’s adulation as he runs to the opposite end of the court and is mobbed by Hayward, Enes Kanter and others. Exactly what we’ve come to expect from Jazz players in Utah, but nothing too over the top.

Grade

3 1/2 Horrys. We gave the Parker-over-OKC shot 3 1/2 and this one fits many of the same criteria. Early-season matchups between playoff teams from 2012? Check. A game that — depending on your point of view — will help or harm a playoff case a few months from now? Check. Great celebration in front of an always-loyal home crowd? Check. This is prime 3 1/2-star territory.

Much like our last Horry Scale participant, J.R. Smith, Williams shows the calmness and mental toughness to shake off a rough shooting night and be the hero when his team needed it.That’s something ol’ Mr. Horry used to do. That’s what we like about this one.

What sayeth you?

Last night in…money well spent

by Micah Hart

When Portland signed restricted free-agent Wesley Matthews to an offer sheet this past offseason, I wasn’t sure if they really liked him, or if they just liked to stick it to the Jazz. After all, this is the same team that signed Utah’s Paul Millsap to a large offer sheet the year before, forcing the Jazz to match (and paving the way for Carlos Boozer‘s exit from Salt Lake City).

Regardless of their intent, the signing is working out well for the Blazers. Matthews, playing in place of the injured Brandon Roy, dropped 30 points on the Grizzlies last night, every one of them needed in a 100-99 win in Memphis. With Roy’s status up in the air (Is there a more injury-cursed franchise in all of sports than Portland?), the Blazers are going to need Matthews to continue to play at this level if they want to keep up in the loaded Western Conference.

Last night, he was worth every penny.

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