ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The NCAA Tournament is down to the Final Four, which means there are just four teams remaining with a shot at winning college hoops’ big dance. One of those teams is Kentucky, the former school of Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. The Kentucky mascot is a Wildcat, which we kind of take for granted, in the sense that I’m not sure if most people know what a wildcat actually sounds like. In this video from the Kings, a kid reporter asks Cousins (as well as Ryan Hollins, Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas a.k.a. Sauce Castillo) to impersonate their college mascots, with mixed results…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — People usually get nicknames based on either something they’re good at or, humorously, something they’re bad at. But Sacramento Kings guard Nik Stauskas has a new nickname that’s totally unrelated to anything…except it sounds pretty cool.
Tuesday night, the Sacramento Kings defeated the Philadelphia 76ers. And at some point in the game, Stauskas knocked down a jumper. Except that somehow, as noticed by Andrew Unterberger, the closed captioning credited the basket to somebody named “Sauce Castillo.”
I don’t know what it means, but it is a great nickname — mellifluous and evocative, as Clyde Frazier might say. For his part, Stauskas seems either OK with it or baffled by it, even though the Kings have embraced it…
Wait what does "Sauce Castillo" mean? Since when was that my nickname lol!! 😂😂
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Sacramento Kings had a big win last night over the Washington Wizards, with a couple of highlights plays and fantastic dunks. And I was going to do a post about some of those dunks … until I saw this video from the Kings game.
At some point during the Kings game last night, they had a baby race. Forget the dunks. This is the greatest video of the day. Maybe of all time.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A long time ago, I was sitting courtside at a Mavericks game in Dallas, keeping my head down and doing my job. But I knew that sitting courtisde, I was always at risk for a collision — with a player, with a basketball, with a referee, whatever. And sure enough, eventually the ball finally came zooming at my head. I had a split-second to make one of two choices:
1. Try to catch the ball, with the possibility of either catching the ball or the ball banging off my hands and the crowd laughing at my poor catching skills.
2. Duck and let someone else deal with it.
I chose the second option, and the ball ended up hitting someone behind me. Still, because I was paying attention, I was able to get out of the way.
The lesson here, is that when you’re at an NBA game, if you’re sitting anywhere close to the court, it’s a good idea to always pay attention. Last night in Charlotte, where the Hornets were hosting the Sacramento Kings, a pass intended for Gerald Henderson, though he ended up letting it go — I guess he thought it was tipped — and the ball instead went directly into the face of a woman sitting behind the Charlotte bench who was checking her telephone. Here’s a wide look via GIF…
For a closer look, here’s a Vine, where it becomes clear that the people around her were pretty much no help at all. Even Noah Vonleh on the Hornets bench gives the ball a little side-eye as it flies past…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — How do you celebrate a birthday? If you’re a mascot, like Sacramento Kings mascot Slamson, you invite a bunch of your mascot friends over to hang out for a game, and you all take turns entertaining the crowd.
Or, if you’re Portland Trail Blazers center (and noted mascot hater) Robin Lopez, you celebrate a mascot’s birthday with a few well-placed punches, elbows and body slams. We will continue to monitor Lopez’s reign of mascot terror…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I suppose there are two ways to look at what DeMarcus Cousins got into last night. On the one hand, Cousins has a history of expressing his temper in the wrong ways and drawing technical fouls, so it’s nice he showed he wasn’t thrilled while avoiding picking up a T. But on the other hand, maybe you don’t want to show your discontent by kicking a chair…
(BTW, watch the face of the woman just behind the bench. Such a perfect reaction.)
Then, a few minutes later, Memphis forward Zach Randolph squared off against Cousins, and accidentally caught him with not one but two elbows…
But the best news for Cousins? The Kings hung on for a 102-90 win.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There’s a saying in basketball that “you can’t teach height.” Meaning you can teach skills like shooting, passing, dribbling or defense, but size is the great equalizer and something you just have to be lucky enough to be born with. You may still be developing as a basketball player, but if you are tall enough, some team will take a chance on you and allow you to develop the other, teachable skills.
And here is where Sim Bhullar enters the discussion. The Indian-Canadian center from Toronto wasn’t the best player in his class, but he has improved each year of his basketball career, and shown enough promise to pique the interest of teams. Also, he’s seven-feet, five-inches tall, and he weighs 360 pounds.
Bhullar is a massive athlete, who has nice touch and soft hands, and while he still has a way to go before his skills translate to the NBA, he had a look with the Sacramento Kings’ summer league team, and how plays for their D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns.
Last night against the Los Angeles D-Fenders, Bhullar played a career-high 43 minutes, and he posted a monster stat line: 26 points, 17 rebounds, and 11 blocked shots. A triple-double usually involves points, rebounds and assists, but Bhullar swatted that idea and posted his own triple-dip. If he keeps producing like that, perhaps his NBA debut won’t be far away.
Check the video below for highlights of Bhullar’s big night…
Video games and basketball are pretty closely intertwined these days, what with all the excitement that bubbles up with the latest version of NBA 2K and the trash talk it inspires among fans and NBA players, too.
The Phoenix Suns can’t catch a break. They’re fighting with the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder, teams that feature two of the best players in the world, for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. And they keep getting their hearts broken.
Throw in a James Harden step-back and the Suns have lost on four buzzer-beaters this season. They’re 2-10 in games determined by three points or less or in overtime, a brutal mark when that playoff spot could come down to a game or two.
Cousins’ shot was a leaning, contested jumper from 19 feet out. But with 2.5 seconds on the clock after the Suns had missed their own opportunity to go ahead, he had time to get Markieff Morris in the air and get himself a clear look at the basket.
The Suns had come back from 14 down to start the fourth quarter and, behind Isaiah Thomas, had taken the lead with just over a minute to go. But Cousins tied it back up quickly and Phoenix went away from Thomas on their final two possessions, both of which came up empty.
The score was still tied and Cousins, for once, wasn’t in foul trouble. So they still had a good chance to win in overtime had he not made the shot.
The win doesn’t do much for the Kings, but the loss was huge for Phoenix — and New Orleans and Oklahoma City. The Suns need every win they can get, and if they fall short of the playoffs with 45-plus wins for a second straight year, we’ll remember this game, as well as the others they lost in similar fashion.
It was delayed as Cousins and his teammates had to wait for the ball to bounce around the rim for a while. A fist pump and some jawing at no one in particular.
The game was tied, the play design wasn’t all that special, and Cousins needed a friendly bounce (or five) to get the Taco Bell. One Horry.