ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As Kobe Bryant preps to play his final home game with the Los Angeles Lakers tonight against the Utah Jazz (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), the tributes just keep coming. And this new commercial from Nike — with guest spots (and singing!) from Phil Jackson to Rasheed Wallace — manages to convey one interesting aspect of the Kobe experience: Win or lose, love or hate, Kobe always found fuel to thrive.
For 37 years, Ralph Lawler has been the voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. For many years, he plied his craft in a form of NBA anonymity as the Clippers were routinely one of the worst teams in the league. But since Blake Griffin’s debut season in 2010-11, the Clippers have risen in profile and many of Lawler’s trademark calls (such as “the lob … the jam!” and “Bingo!” after made 3-pointers) have become more popular.
The Clippers paid tribute to Lawler on what was called “Ralph Lawler Day” and, as such, Griffin and teammats such as Paul Pierce, J.J. Redick, DeAndre Jordan and Cole Aldrich did a few Lawler-isms …
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Los Angeles Clippers recently introduced their new mascot, Chuck, so they don’t need a new mascot. NBA teams are always in the market, however, for someone with slick passing skills. And as the Clips and Paul Pierce recently found out, Mickey Mouse knows how to make an assist…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — So we’re now a few weeks into the NBA season, and we’ve reached a critical mass of dunks and, more importantly, people getting dunked on. So let’s take a look at the best instances of people getting #POSTERIZED over the last week and, at the bottom of the post, place your vote for a winner…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — After a long NBA career, playing for teams along the Eastern seaboard, Paul Pierce recently returned home, signing with the Los Angeles Clippers. And to celebrate his return, Pierce threw out the first pitch last night for his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers. Great form, but could probably aim a little higher…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In Game 3 of their series against the Washington Wizards, the Atlanta Hawks mounted a furious fourth quarter comeback, only to lose on a game-winning buzzer-beater from Paul Pierce. And not only was it a game-winning buzzer-beater, it was a game-winning buzzer-beater off of the glass. As Pierce said later, he didn’t call glass, he called game. Pierce joined Chicago’s Derrick Rose, who also hit a game-winning buzzer beater, also off the glass, to beat the Cavaliers.
How to deal? Well, the Hawks suggested perhaps we should just ban using the glass on buzzer-beaters altogether. If you’re a Hawks or Bulls fan, you can support this movement by signing their iPetition. OK, so it’ll never work, but still, as coping mechanisms go, this one is rather humorous.
Did you call bank? Paul Pierce was asked after putting the dagger in the Hawks.
“I called game,” he responded.
Perfect. And clutch. And another part of his Hall of Fame legacy. And a funny summation.
Pierce hitting the 21 footer — off glass — to give the Wizards a 103-101 win Saturday in Washington and a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals was everything, delivering in the moment and also the emotional boost of a close victory, or any victory, with All-Star John Wall sidelined by a broken left hand.
Pierce supplying a much-needed veteran presence in the wake of the emotional hit of losing Wall would have been plenty. It really would have been a big contribution as the Hawks charged back from a 21-point deficit with about 10 minutes to play. The shot, though, was a highlight moment even for a player who has had so many through the years.
It wasn’t just a clutch shot. It was a tough shot, slightly fading away and under defensive pressure from Dennis Schroder. Pierce was near the top of the free-throw circle, took a one-bounce dribble to his left and elevated with the additional clearance at 6 foot 7 over the 6-1 Schroder. Kent Bazemore came over for the double team, but it was too late. The ball was away.
Pierce shouldn’t have been needed to play the hero. The Wizards were up 21 early in the fourth quarter, until the Hawks went on a 17-0 run to close within three points with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining. When Mike Muscala connected from behind the arc with 14.1 seconds left, Atlanta had erased the entire deficit. It was 101-101, setting the stage for Pierce.
Rhetorical question, right?
Pierce’s momentum took him backward and to the court, where he stayed, on his back with his arms up and outstretched. Bradley Beal, the first teammate to get there, stood over Pierce and delivered a series of soft punches to the gut and chest — right, left, right, left, right. The other Wizards charged over to mob him, including Wall in suit and tie, as the crowd exploded in delight. The shot was the thing, but high marks for the reaction as well.
Five Horrys, because five is the limit. This should break the scale, though. Five isn’t enough. Ten wouldn’t be enough. Maybe 34 would be.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Paul Pierce is on a roll. The Washington Wizards may have underwhelmed in the regular season, but Pierce and the Wiz swept the Toronto Raptors in four games in their first round series, which gave Pierce the chance to troll our neighbors to the north.
And now, with some time on their hands before the next round of the playoffs, Pierce and his Wizards teammates went to last night’s Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders hockey game. And since they were in the front row, when given the chance to taunt the visiting Caps Islanders, Pierce couldn’t help himself…
And whether it was Pierce’s influence or not, the Caps won and advanced to round two, the first time the Caps and Wiz have both been in the second round in the same season.