ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — First of all, let’s make one thing clear: Russell Westbrook was incredible last night. Leading a Thunder team riddled with injuries, Westbrook was nearly unstoppable, finishing with 38 points and 6 assists against Portland in a losing effort.
But that performance was a bit overshadowed by his style performance off the floor, including this Mylar jacket Westbrook wore to the game.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Every year around Halloween, it seems as if we see a lot of pictures of members of the OKC Thunder in full costume, ready to go door to door for candy. I’m sure many teams do it, but the Thunder sure seems to have a high rate of participation, as we saw last year. We’re still a week away from Halloween, but the Thunder started getting dressed up early, as a bunch of Thunder players posted pics from a Halloween party on social media this weekend.
Russell Westbrook as Officer Mendez from Orange Is The New Black…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Sports mascots are, at their core, a conduit for fun. They are their team’s common denominators, a representative of every fan, from the front row to the cheap seats. But out in Denver, longtime Nuggets mascot Rocky the mountain lion made an off-court appearance this week that caught some people by surprise, apparently including his employers.
Nuggets marketing manager Graham Wincott, who handles Rocky and his appearances, said the team’s mascot showing up at the GOP event was “an unsanctioned, unpaid appearance that we had no knowledge of.”
Denver sports figures have been to political events in the past, but sports teams and organizations typically stay away from any kind of political endorsements or appearances, which is why the Kroenke brass was surprised by the appearance.
“As a sports team, we want to be apolitical,” Wincott said. “Two things we never touch on are politics and religion.”
The Nuggets’ mascot was bouncing around at the Colorado Republican Party rally Monday at Heritage High School. Top players on the Colorado GOP ticket were at the event, which included 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Wincott said the KSE management team met Tuesday “with the actor who plays Rocky to figure out exactly how it happened and what transpired and get to the bottom of how all this occurred.”
If nothing else, this gives us a chance to check out some of Rocky’s greatest hits, like his recent dust-up with Russell Westbrook or, as in the video below, a classic run-in with his longtime nemesis, Charles Barkley…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few years ago, I wrote a short profile of Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrookfor GQ magazine. At the time, Westbrook was just starting to make a name for himself off the court as a fearless dresser, a trend that has continued unabated.
GQ: But you had to know those red glasses were going to get some attention.
Russell Westbrook: Well, see, I didn’t. I don’t really pay no mind to it. I kind of just see it, and I get it. If I like it, I’ll wear it regardless of what’s going on or if somebody says something or not.
GQ: When you wear those glasses, do they have lenses in them or no?
Russell Westbrook: No, no, nine times out of ten, no. Some of them do, but not most of them, no.
GQ: Do you need glasses?
Russell Westbrook: Nah. I have the best vision.
And now, regardless of your vision, you too can wear glasses just for the style of it, as Russell Westbrook has introduced his own line of sunglasses. Westbrook has started with ten different styles at Westbrook Frames. They are high quality, and prices run from $95 up.
Perhaps they are more fashion-forward than you’re used to, but maybe they’re exactly what you need to look good. As Westbrook himself might ask, “Why not?”
Kevin Durant‘s season ended without him leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals, but 2013-14 was by no means a disappointment individually for the wiry forward. He claimed his first NBA MVP and showed time and again he could lead OKC as his All-Star teammate Russell Westbrook dealt with a myriad of injuries all season.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Nobody said being an NBA ballboy was an easy job. Just two months ago we saw a ballboy in Brooklyn show great hustle when he nearly got run over by Tyler Hansbrough. Yesterday in Los Angeles, during the Clippers/Thunder game, a similar situation almost came to pass. As you can see in the GIF below from @JDonSports, after Russell Westbrook ripped the ball from Chris Paul, he took off to the other end of the floor, where a Clippers attendant was still mopping up the court. She noticed in time and managed to get out of there, dragging the mop behind her. Again, great hustle. (Also, check out the sneaky shove DeAndre Jordan delivers to his teammate CP3 to get him out of the way in case there’s a rebound to grab.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — You’re an NBA player, it’s the middle of a long NBA season, and you have a day off. So what do you do? If you’re Russell Westbrook, Derek Fisher or Kendrick Perkins, over the weekend you visited the Oklahoma City Zoo to lend a hand at the sea lion exhibit. There’s a lot to like here. My favorite part might be where a sea lion kisses Kendrick Perkins and he says he’s hopeful he can get a picture of the moment to put up in his office.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Here at the All Ball Blog, we like to recognize whenever someone makes a game-winning buzzer beater (GWBB) by breaking out something we call the Horry Scale to try and give each shot some perspective. I’ve taken my lumps from you guys this season, as I’ve tried to figure out just how many Horrys to dole out for each shot, but that’s fine: What I love about the Horry Scale is that you, our readers, love these shots as much or more as we do. You understand how improbable and how exciting they are, and you like celebrating them along with us.
That said, Horry Scale shots have to be game winners with 0.0 remaining on the clock. Which is why some last-second shots this season have not qualified — I think Russell Westbrook has made two shots to win games, but both times there were fractions of a second remaining.
The other rule that is not explicitly stated but clearly implied, is that Horry Scale entries have to be NBA game winners. Otherwise I’d be over here writing about high school and college games all day and night.
With that stated, the following shot does not qualify for the Horry Scale, since it took place in a Euroleague game between Anadolou Efes Istanbul and EA7 Emporio Armani Milan. But it was a former NBA player, ex-Nets point guard Zoran Planinic, who took the incredible shot. Anadoulou Efes Istanbul was down 2, with about 2 seconds left when Planinic launched from three-quarter court. And, well, check it out… -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s late at night, I’ve got one full day of vacation staring me in the face, and before I drift off to bed, I’m thinking about the last few things I’d like to accomplish (a long nap tomorrow, not doing chores, etc.) before heading back to the blizzard in NYC. And then Joe Johnson does it again. The Brooklyn Nets needed a win in the worst way, and who better to turn to than Joe Cool?
I know we usually air these posts out a bit, but this one is going to be a bit more to the point, because, you know, vacation. But 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 other thing before we move on: I’ve received a few emails from Blazers fans and Thunder fans wondering why I had not done Horry Scale posts for their teams when Lillard and Westbrook have hit game-winners. My reasoning is sound: Those guys have hit game-winners, yes, but they both left tenths of a second on the clock. And as we all know from reading the rules above, we are looking for shots with 0.0 remaining on the clock.
Which leads us to Joe Johnson…
The toughest part of Joe’s game winner was having the 6-10ish Serge Ibaka guarding him. But the rest of the shot was the same kind of shot Joe’s been knocking down his entire pro career. He inbounded the ball to Kevin Garnett, who handed it back to Joe, and then you can see all the other Nets clear out of the way and just let Joe do his thing. I’ve often said that if Joe Johnson were in a one-on-one contest against any other NBA player, I think he’d fare pretty well, because he’s terrific at using his dribble and his size to nearly always get his shot off. And this instance was no exception.
More like season situation. The Nets have famously been something of a mess this season, and the recent season-ending injury to Brook Lopez led to many thinking it was time to put the final fork in the Nets (if we hadn’t already). So to say they needed a win not just on this night but to give life to their season is no understatement. And I’m pretty sure nobody thought that win would come on the road, against the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder.
Rowdy. Even moreso than on Johnson’s previous game-winner this season. Of course, even though this isn’t an overtime finish, the Nets probably have more at stake now than they did a few weeks back. They’ve been knocked down, but they got up again.
We’ve had a run of 4 Horry scores of late, and I think it’s time to break that streak. While the shot over the bigger defender was impressive, it was a basic jumper in a one-on-one setting. So I’m giving this three Horrys…
What say you? How many Horrys does Joe Johnson’s GWBB deserve?