ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Everything that is old becomes new again. We are always looking to the past for inspiration, and why not? Some of the best ideas are things that were popular once, and then discarded in the name of progress.
Today the Phoenix Suns debuted a new alternate uniform that takes cues from some Suns uniforms from the past. As Suns.com explains…
That iconic western font is emblazoned on the front of the new jersey in black lettering, outlined in the bold orange that has become synonymous with the Suns over the decades. The lettering is nearly identical to that used in one of the first iterations of the team’s jersey from 1973-1992.
One of the players who wore that font across his chest was Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek. His current point guard, Eric Bledsoe, is proud to be able to carry on the tradition that started so many years ago.
“It’s throwback,” Bledsoe said with a smile. “Everybody nowadays likes that throwback fashion.”
The font isn’t the only thing helping connects the past and the present. The sunburst on the bottom of the shorts harkens back to the original design worn by the likes of Dick Van Arsdale, Connie Hawkins and Paul Westphal. Don’t worry, though, these shorts are much longer than their predecessors. The entire look is tied together with the modern-day numbers on the chest and back, and the “S” mark that was introduced last season on the sleeves.
The color scheme pays homage to the history behind the name of the city we call home. Like the bird of Greek origin, the city rose from the ruins of a former civilization into a thriving metropolis earning it the name Phoenix.
To see more, check the video above. The Suns will debut these uniforms tomorrow night against the Oklahoma City Thunder on TNT.
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 Topic: Barkley Reaches 10,000-Rebound, 20,000-Point Club
On this date in 1996, Charles Barkley pulled down his 10,000th rebound to become at the time just the 10th player in NBA history to record 10,000 rebounds and 20,000 points. There are now 16 players who have accomplished this milestone, with Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan joining the club in recent years. With his 4,215 career assists, Barkley joins Garnett, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone as the only players to accumulate 20,000-plus points, 10,000-plus rebounds and 4,000-plus assists in a career.
This Throwback Thursday, we honor “Sir” Charles Barkley’s Hall-of-Fame career.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week we saw perhaps the worst inbounds play of all-time, a play that topped Shaqtin’ A Fool and was, truly and honestly, one of the strangest things I’ve seen in an NBA game.
Well, last night the Phoenix Suns seemed determined to follow the Heat’s lead, and they pulled something very similar. The big difference is the Suns did it much faster, almost as if they thought doing it quickly would hide from the fact that they were trying to inbound the ball twice. For what it’s worth, it didn’t work. Good job, good effort, though.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of my favorite segments on “Inside the NBA” is the occasional quiz show segment called “Who He Play For,” where Charles Barkley tries to guess which team an obscure NBA player is on. But the Phoenix Suns broadcast team has taken the NBA game show to a new level with their game “Make or Miss,” in which analysts (and retired Suns) Tom Chambers and Eddie Johnson watch clips of themselves and try to guess whether or not a shot that they took went in. It’s tougher than it sounds, considering these guys combined to take thousands of field goals, but it sure makes for fun watching…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The craziest shot of the season thus far in the NBA came a few days ago, when Utah took on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Utah had the ball out of bounds with 0.2 seconds on the shot clock, which is not enough time for a catch-and-shoot situation. With the Thunder defending the rim, the Jazz threw a bounce pass to the baseline, which Trevor Booker basically tapped it up and over his head and directly in the basket. Check it out in the video above.
Booker later claimed he’s been practicing this shot for years. And after seeing it go down, other people have started giving it a shot, as well. Here’s a video of the Suns trying it after practice, where TJ Warren and Zoran Dragic eventually got it to go down…
A lot of times, players blessed with height absorb the spotlight when it comes to throwing it down. Then there are times when we are completely wow’ed when a diminutive guy (in basketball terms, anyway) gets up and lets loose on the basket.
Enter Suns guard Archie Goodwin. (You mean there’s more than Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas in the Land of the Sun?)
Not to be outdone, Stephen Curry recently got in on the airborne fun and added a little bash to his splash with an open-court slam that I’m sure most of us figured was going to be a simple layup. Way to keep us guessing.
The Bucks are off to a better-than-expected start to this season, and just imagine if they weren’t on the wrong side of a pair of buzzer beaters. In the season opener, the Hornets’ Kemba Walker made not one, but two beaters — at the end of regulation for the tie and in OT for the win — and then Monta Ellis dropped a stunner a few weeks ago.
Well, the last shot finally belonged to Khris Middleton and Milwaukee in a thrilling win Tuesday in Phoenix, when the teams combined to score eight points in the final dizzying 23 seconds. Markieff Morris (25 points in a terrific game) made a layup, followed by a Brandon Knight jumper, followed by a Morris jumper from the free throw line with four seconds left, setting up the dramatics.
This was another solid showing by the Bucks who, after losing five out of six, beat the Clippers and now are above .500 after the first of a four-game Western swing.
The Bucks did the old give-and-go, with Middletown inbounding the ball to Jared Dudley, then getting it back. Middleton had a rather decent look at the rim from 28 feet and, with precious seconds ticking, took the open 3. The ball skidded off the rim, then kissed off the backboard before falling in at the buzzer. It wasn’t the prettiest, but when did style points ever gout when the game’s on the line?
The Bucks and Suns played a fairly tight second half and the basket-swapping in the game’s final half-minute was fun to watch. Interestingly, the Suns looked for Morris, whose offensive game is growing steadily, and he responded. Even more interesting: Phoenix was ready to inbounds the ball with 4 seconds left but quickly called timeout when the Suns’ defense proved to be alert. Jason Kidd drew up a completely different play and instead of using Knight as the inbounds passer, switched to Middleton.
The Bucks are testing the always dangerous West Coast waters and so far, so good for a team that’s trying to see where it stands and how much further it needs to go. The only blight on the victory over the Suns was a knee injury to rookie Jabari Parker, who had to be carried off the floor. Fortunately, it was initially diagnosed as a sprain. Meanwhile, Phoenix is one of those West teams that sure wishes it played in the East.
As you might have expected, there was joy from a Bucks’ team that had lost a pair of games to buzzer beaters this season. Middleton was mobbed at mid court by the bench and then the players sprinted off the floor while the shot was being replayed by officials. The Bucks didn’t care. They already knew the result.
The execution by the Bucks was solid and Middleton’s shot was sure, although it did require some friendly bounces off the rim and glass. We’ll give it three Horrys.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We know Russell Westbrook is one of the most athletic, explosive guards in the NBA today. But sometimes it’s hard to get a handle on just how incredible that athleticism is. There was a pretty good example, however, in the Thunder’s win yesterday over the Phoenix Suns. Westbrook, who is listed at 6-3, faced off for a jump ball against the 7-1 Alex Len. And yeah, I know we can parse this play and say Westbrook may not have technically “won” the tip — i.e. the ball didn’t go exactly the way Westbrook was trying to tip it — but at the very least it’s clear that Westbrook was right there with Len meeting the ball at its apex. Impressive either way…
In the history of lucky basketball bounces, none can touch Don Nelson‘s late shot in Game 7 of the 1969 Finals, helping the Celtics secure their 11th title. The ball hit back rim, went straight up and then dropped through the basket and into the hearts of the Lakers.
That happened at the Forum, which is now closed. But roughly 25 minutes from that site (or 30, depending on L.A. freeway traffic), Blake Griffin had a similar brush with lucky fate when he put the final touch on a 121-120 overtime Clippers win over the Suns in what could be the No. 1 thriller of the NBA season thus far.
The contest was what you’d expect from a pair of high-scoring teams that love to play freestyle, free-wheeling basketball. The guard-heavy Suns thrive in the open floor and the Clippers, blessed with point guard Chris Paul, favor the fast break as well. The contest was back-and-forth all night, and five extra minutes were tacked on after regulation. As a fan at Staples Center, could you ask for anything more?
Well, yes. A Clippers victory. Which was in doubt until Griffin took an inbounds pass from Paul with the Clippers down a pair and the clock ticking.
But we’ll get to the winning sequence in a minute. First, about Griffin. He had a monster night with 45 points, two shy of his career high. If these teams meet in the playoffs, the Suns might want to watch video of this game (minus the last few seconds) and figure how to keep Griffin from getting to the line (he made 15 of 17 free throws) and how to keep a body on him.
OK, on to the details.
After taking the inbounds pass from Paul, Griffin faked a pass back to Paul, then faced the basket, took a step-back and let it fly from the right elbow beyond the arc. The ball bounced off the rim, then the top of the glass, then fell in. He had to do all of that in 2.6 seconds, which he managed to pull off without a hitch. But not without a few bounces. Hey, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Blake was only in position to take that shot partly because Jamal Crawford was ejected for the first time in his career in the fourth quarter after arguing a foul call. Normally, Griffin would not get the ball to launch a 3-pointer; he’d attempted only nine all season prior to the shot. Also, the game went into overtime because Paul had his game-winning attempt blocked by Eric Bledsoe (27 points, 16 assists, 11 rebounds) at the fourth-quarter buzzer. Also, the Clippers had the ball because the Suns committed a shot-clock violation. Finally, with a foul to give, the Suns grabbed Griffin just before his game-winner. But instead of shooting while getting fouled, Griffin passed off. He could’ve put himself at the free-throw line with a chance to tie instead of the Clippers being forced to inbound the ball. But it turned out okay for him.
The Clippers stumbled out of the gate to start the season, drawing the ire of coach Doc Rivers and perhaps having owner Steve Ballmer wonder what in the heck he was getting for his $2 billion. But all is well now. The Clippers have won eight straight and are clearly on the rise. Teams in the West have no choice but to see the vortex from L.A. heading their way (hint: It’s not the Lakers). It was the second straight loss for the Suns, whose only real issue is they don’t play in the East.
After the swish, er bounce, Griffin took off sprinting down the floor, followed quickly by Paul. As you might also might have expected, Staples was in bedlam. Speaking of Staples, Rivers said he wants the building to be a home-court advantage like it has been (or rather, was) for the Lakers. If the Clippers intend on playing like this, Rivers won’t have any reason to worry about the crowd or the noise level.
Look, we realize Griffin got a little lucky. OK, a lot lucky. Still, the shot was the cherry on top of a tremendous performance for him, so we give it three Horrys.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night’s Clippers/Suns game had a little bit of everything — comebacks, blocked shots, ejections, charges, dunks, even a Horry Scale entry (coming shortly!). How good a game was it? It was so wild that at one point in overtime, Clippers big man Big Baby Davis literally could not believe how great it was.
Davis was reacting to a call that he (obviously) didn’t agree with, but this reaction shot could apply to any number of things. Let us know in the comments, what do you think he was reacting to?