Posts Tagged ‘Raptors’

Mamba Gives The Stare In Toronto

by Zettler Clay IV

Around here, we like to freeze-frame moments that encapsulate a pivotal moment in basketball time. From the Lakers’ camp this season, Pau Gasol already gave us the shrug. What do we have this time around? How about a peeved, er, contemplative Kobe isolated while the rest of the team is gathered:

kobe-dwight

This was early in the Lakers-Raptors contest, before Dwight Howard got himself ejected, before the Lakers’ furious late-game rally, before…another loss.

With Chicago and Memphis looming next, this still visual might get more company.

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Luol Deng, How Do You Rate On The Horry Scale?

by Micah Hart



When last we spoke around these parts, we were singing the praises of the Bulls’ Derrick Rose, one of the game’s great closers and someone we expect to see many Horry Scale entries from as the years go by.

Unfortunately Mr. Rose is currently out of the lineup for Chicago, having missed the past six games with a hamstring strain. So when the game came down to the final possession against the Raptors tonight, it brought up a quasi-philosophical question: if the Bulls need a game-winner and Rose isn’t around to take the shot, does it make a sound? (Or something like that).

Looks like we have our answer.

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 Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.

The Bulls may not have Rose, but they still have one more All-Star, and that is Luol Deng. Let’s see how his understudy did:

Difficulty

The time element was the only thing difficult about this shot. Deng set a pick for C.J. Watson at the top of the key, then immediately dove to the basket to put himself in position for exactly what was to come — a potential tip-in situation. I would give Deng credit for a nice box-out to get his hold in the lane, but the Raptors really made it easy on him. To be fair, there is always a lot of chaos in a final-shot scenario like this, it’s easy to lose your man. But Deng faces no opposition at the basket once he gets in the air, and the ensuing tip-in after Watson’s shot comes up short is a piece of cake.

Game Situation

The Raptors led 101-100 after James Johnson hit 1-2 free throws with 15.2 seconds left in overtime, then failed to extend that lead when Gary Forbes missed a pair with 6.4 on the clock. The Bulls then inbounded the ball at midcourt with 6.0 seconds left — plenty of time to get a shot off, but with no room for error since they were trailing.

Importance

Here is what I wrote after Rose’s GWBB back on March 7:

The Bulls fell to the Heat in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, and the two teams appear on a crash course to go at it again this May. With the way Miami has improved, home-court advantage could certainly play a big role in that series, and as such, every win for Chicago will matter from here until the end of the regular season.

Since that win over the Bucks, the Bulls have gone 6-2, but have gained only one game on the Heat in the standings. The sentiment still stands.

Celebration

If I had to make a list of every player in the NBA, then rank them most to least expressive, I’d probably put Deng somewhere next to Tim Duncan down near the very bottom*. So you know Deng has to be pumped to react the way he does after the ball drops — immediately pointing to the stands to celebrate with the fans. Of course by the time the camera pans in on his face the emotion is gone, but we’ll take what we can get from Lu. Bonus points for John Lucas nearly spinning like a top on Deng’s head, plus the shot of Rose watching it all unfold from the bench. By the way, someone tweeted after the game that in the Bulls’ last 82 games covering this season and last, their record is 68-14. Going to be an interesting postseason in the East, no doubt about it.

* Who would be at the top, you ask? That’s easy — Ronny Turiaf.

Grade

3 Horrys. Last-second tip-ins are always a fun sub-genre of the Horry Scale. I’m tempted to debit a half-Horry for the way the Raptors gave this one away, but I won’t. The stakes are always a little higher when you trail at the end, and Deng deserves a lot of credit for making a very difficult situation look relatively easy. Good on the Bulls for doing it all without Rose as well. And the cherry on top? The win made the Bulls the first team in the NBA to clinch a playoff berth this season.

What do you think?

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JaVale McGee Will Yield No Transition Baskets

by Micah Hart

Oh, JaVale McGee. I like you, and I want to see you succeed, but sometimes you just make it too easy:



You know the sad thing is, if Wall makes a better pass there, that’s an easy dunk for JaVale. I think he was just trying to create a diversion there … yeah, that’s the ticket, a diversion!

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DeAndre Jordan makes All-Star pitch, The Basketball Jones step up for Andrea Bargnani

by Micah Hart

We are midway through January, which means voting for All-Star starters is in full swing. Ever since Chris Bosh made a viral video to plead his case for All-Star inclusion (back when people loved Chris Bosh), it’s been de rigueur for players to tout themselves or their teammates for your vote.

Here at All Ball we’ll try to keep track of any and all videos put together by teams, players, or player advocates to help various All-Star causes.

We start off with a video from the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan:

Pretty simple stuff, nothing too exciting. Unfortunately it doesn’t hold a candle to this effort from the guys at The Basketball Jones, who made this outstanding plea on behalf of Raptors’ big man Andrea Bargnani:

Now that’s a reason to vote for someone.

If you see any others out there we should feature, drop us a line and let us know.

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Three for all: Toronto Raptors

by Micah Hart

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 Toronto Raptors, who played three straight from Jan 9-11.

Toronto doesn’t have a lot going for them this season, but maybe a nice performance in their three for all could win them some huzzahs to help keep them warm at night during this cold, cold winter?

/shakes Magic 8 Ball, gets “Not gonna happen” message

Game 1: Raptors 97, Timberwolves 87 - Andrea Bargnani put on his big boy pants for this one, dropping 31 and grabbing nine rebounds to help the Raptors earn the win, which brought them a win away from .500. 2 points (1 for win, 1 for +10 margin)

Game 2: Wizards 93, Raptors 78 - All those happy special feelings the Raptors might have been having in the previous paragraph? Dashed in D.C., where the Raptors suffered the ignominy of becoming the Wizards’ first victims this season after eight straight losses. For shame Toronto, for shame. -1 point

Game 3: Kings 98, Raptors 91 - Seems the trend is starting to return to normal, as two of the three teams finishing up their threesomes lost their final game, including the Raptors at home against the Kings. Leandro Barbosa had a season-high 24 off the bench, so that’s something. 0 points

This isn’t a playoff bound Raptors crew, so no need to get too snippy (but seriously, the Wizards?), but there were more wins to be had in this set than they ended up with. All told, Toronto moves to the bottom of the table with a season-low 1 total point.

Up next: The Charlotte Bobcats play three straight Jan. 12-14, starting in Atlanta before coming home to host Detroit and Golden State.

Three for all Scoreboard:
Chicago Bulls (13 points)
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)
Denver Nuggets (6 points)
L.A. Lakers (3 points)
Sacramento Kings (2 points)
Minnesota Timberwolves (2 points)
Toronto Raptors (1 point)

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Three for all: Minnesota Timberwolves

by Micah Hart

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 Minnesota Timberwolves, who played three straight from Jan 8-10.

The Timberwolves got off to a good start, but became the first team to lose the third game of the triumvirate in what was ultimately a disappointing stretch for the squad.

Game 1: Timberwolves 93, Wizards 72 - Minnesota becomes the first team to get max road points -i.e., winning on the road by +10 margin, but the fact that it was against (at the time) winless Washington makes it a little less exciting. Still, Ricky Rubio dished out a career-best 14 assists as he continues to impress. 3 points (1 for win, 1 for +10 margin, 1 for road)

Game 2: Raptors 97, Timberwolves 87 - Minnesota couldn’t stop Andrea Bargnani (31 points, nine rebounds) and couldn’t hit the water from a boat, shooting 34% from the field as a team. Kevin Love was 3-16 from the field as no starter scored more than 13 points. -1 point

Game 3: Bulls 111, Timberwolves 100 - Minnesota got down early in this one, and I give them credit for rallying back to make it close down the strech despite tired legs. Plus, they had this sweet alley-oop from Rubio to Anthony Randolph. 0 points

Season in a microcosm for Minnesota over this stretch, as they continue to play exciting basketball but fail to register notches in the win column. 2 total points for the Timberwolves.

Up next: Three teams are at it at the same time, as the Sixers, Bulls, and Raptors all play three straight Jan. 9-11.

Three for all Scoreboard:
OKC Thunder (12 points)
Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
Houston Rockets (7 points)
Denver Nuggets (6 points)
L.A. Lakers (3 points)
Sacramento Kings (2 points)
Minnesota Timberwolves (2 points)

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A look back: Top Horry Scale moments from 2010-11

by Micah Hart

With the regular season behind us and the playoffs set to tip off this weekend, it’s the perfect time to do a little looking back at some of the fun we had during the past six months.

One of our favorite things to write about on All Ball has been the Horry Scale breakdowns of every GWBB (game-winning buzzer-beater) from the season, of which, in the end, there were 16 during 2010-11. Let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable:

Best Executed Horry

One of the most unlikely endings to a game all season, as Nic Batum scores four points in the last 0.9 seconds to beat the Spurs, the last two of which came on this picture-perfect lob off the inbounds pass from Andre Miller to ring up the Horry Scale breakdown. Portland’s Rose Garden would be my choice for where all GWBBs would take place, if I had my druthers. Where does one get druthers, I wonder?
Runner-up: Andrew Bogut – really this should be a tie, I just love Portland celebrations.

More Horry highlights after the jump.

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Ed Davis: You got got

by Micah Hart

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a good rookie prank around these parts. And though most rookies are nearly finished buying donuts and carrying luggage, it’s good to see some veterans are trying to finish the year strong.

Ah, styrofoam peanuts in the car – classic sports prank. I can only assume Davis will strike back by changing someone’s computer screensaver.

UPDATE: Shaq got the same treatment in Phoenix a couple years back.

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Al Jefferson, how do you rate on the Horry Scale?

by Micah Hart

There have been several nice game-winning shots the last few days that I would love to have written about here on All Ball. Zach Randolph‘s corner shot to beat Dallas. Carmelo Anthony‘s first game-winner as a KnickChanning Frye‘s repeat performance against the Nets. Alas, those shots all occurred with time left on the clock, and the Horry Scale rules are hard and firm. I am nothing if not slavishly obedient to the rules of my own creation.

Fortunately, Al Jefferson‘s tip-in at the buzzer against the Raptors last night fits snugly without our criteria for Horry inclusion, so let’s dispense with the intro and get to it.

Once again, the Horry scale examines a shot  in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.

How did Big Al do? Let’s investigate:

Difficulty

Tough to rate. After all, a tip-in like this is pretty much all luck. Unlike, say, Mike Dunleavy‘s GWBB from earlier this season against the Hornets, where he was clearly in position to try to tip the ball directly into the basket, Jefferson’s touch on the ball is almost like a volleyball set that just happens to take the right trajectory into the hoop. He’s obviously trying to tip in the game-winner, but you rarely see a shot go four feet in the air from 10 inches in front of the basket.

Game Situation

Tie ballgame, but it almost doesn’t matter with a tip because there is no time to consider alternatives.

Importance

Ever since the Jazz traded Deron Williams to New Jersey, most people have written off Utah in the Western conference playoff race. It’s not an entirely unfair assertion considering they were 2-5 without him before last night’s win. However, there is still talent in Utah, and though it is still struggling, the Jazz are just 1 1/2 games behind Memphis for the No. 8 spot. The playoffs are still a possibility, which makes wins like this one immensely important.

Celebration

Too muted. Am I right? I suppose Jefferson could feel a little sheepish for getting the winning points on a shot that wasn’t 100 percent intentional, but a game-winner is a game-winner. I’m not demanding the Jazz players pile on top of him, but would a nice group hug be too much to ask?

Grade

2 Horrys. It certainly was an unusual buzzer-beater, and a much-needed win for Utah, but between it being a tie game and a somewhat listless celebration, I just don’t think I can go any higher than two.

What do you think?

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Last night in … futility

by Micah Hart

Rough night for the Raptors. Not only did they lose 100-98 to the Grizzlies, their eighth straight defeat, but their NBA-record streak of 986 straight games with a made 3-pointer came to an end after an 0-13 performance from deep.

986 games! That’s a long time.

The last time the Raptors failed to make a trey was in February 24, 1999, almost 12 full years ago, when hating Vince Carter was just a gleam in a young Toronto fan’s eye.

Sorry, T-Dot.

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