Posts Tagged ‘sacramento kings’

The Sacramento Kings are really into ugly sweaters

stauskas_kittys_sweater

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week while I was on vacation, my intrepid colleague Jeff Case served up a link to a story about NBA-themed “ugly” sweaters, which you can order from the NBA Store. Yes, these sweaters are ugly, but intentionally so, as they mock/pay tribute to the tradition of wearing “festive” garb around the holiday season.

One team has decided to aggressively embrace the ugly sweater. The Sacramento Kings recently announced plans for an ugly sweater night when they host the Milwaukee Bucks a week before Christmas.

The best part is how the Kings players seem to be all-in on the ugly sweaters. They produced a stunning photo gallery of their players knitted out in the sweaters, and Ben McLemore even wore his to last night’s TNT game. Take that, James Harden!

Horry Scale: Lee saves Grizzlies


VIDEO: Courtney Lee reverses a lay-in off an inbounds pass at the buzzer to defeat the Kings

Courtney Lee’s mental clock must tick smooth like a Rolex … a real one!

Because the Memphis Grizzlies swingman didn’t miss a beat with his buzzer-beating heroics in his team’s epic 111-110 comeback win over the Sacramento Kings Thursday night at the FedEx Forum.

Lee’s beautifully-timed work not only secured the Grizzlies’ rally from a 22-point first quarter deficit that sent fans onto Beale Street feeling giddy about their Grizzlies, it also landed him a prime position on the Horry Scale.

Welcome, Courtney Lee, to the pantheon of clutch shot-makers who have helped make the modern highlight (and the game-winning bucket) the staple it has become in our daily sports diet.

Around here, such plays are evaluated according to difficulty, game situation, importance and celebration. Then they get an overall grade, represented with 1-5 Robert Horry stars, in honor of the vagabond marksman who helped the Rockets (two), Lakers (three) and Spurs (two) capture seven titles in his years with them.

Again, the Horry Scale does not measure only a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a GWBB. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations … basically, the total package

DIFFICULTY

Catch and shoot. It was the only option with so little time (:00.3 to be exact) on the clock. Well, try catching it under the basket and getting a reverse layup to go in over your head with the game on the line. It helped that the Kings fell for each and every jab step and head fake from each and every Grizzlies player, thus freeing Lee up to get to his spot unabated for the game-winning shot attempt.The catch and shoot part of it all was on Lee, and that was plenty difficult, considering the body contortion necessary tor completion of the play. The getting there, however, was courtesy of the Kings … who are clearly in a giving mood this week. This was their second straight come-from-ahead-loss of the week. They led Dallas by 18 points after the first quarter Tuesday and wound up losing 106-98. They are the first team in NBA history to lose back-to-back games that they led by 18 or more points in the first quarter.

GAME SITUATION

Perhaps everyone was still in shock that the Grizzlies had come all the way back. How else do you explain them having those precious .3 seconds to work with on a do-or-die shot? If Vince Carter’s pass is off every so slightly, it’s game over. If a defender knocks Lee off course as he makes his break to the basket, there’s no way he gets his hands on the ball and gets that shot off in time. The play worked in real time exactly the way Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger scribbled it up on the whiteboard in the huddle. Marc Gasol set the perfect screen on Darren Collison. When Jason Thompson and Collison crashed into each other trying to recover, it was already too late. Lee gathered himself and was in the air with his arms outstretched. He grabbed the ball and kissed it off the glass all in the same motion. Game over.

IMPORTANCE

For a Grizzlies team trying to stay atop of and set the pace in the Western Conference standings, stealing this game was huge. No team with designs on a top four seed in the playoff chase can afford to let a game like this slip away. Coming all the way back and not finishing the deal would have been a crusher.

CELEBRATION

It’s hard to tell if the look of disbelief on Lee’s face was based on his acrobatic layup going in ahead of the final buzzer or because he got completely wide open on the play. The crowd, already on its feet, went bonkers as the ball went off the glass and through the net. Lee made the rounds from the corner of the floor all the way to the Grizzlies bench, hopping in and out of the arms of his teammates along the way. It wasn’t the nifty leap onto the the scorers table we saw from Lance Stephenson. Lee had to get to the bench and watch the review on the jumbotron. He and Tayshaun Prince looked skyward and Lee raised both hands like a boxer who had just heard his name called as the winner.

GRADE

Courtney Lee is an unlikely hero on a Grizzlies team with several more high-profile options. It’s a testament to this Grizzlies team that no one minds sharing the glory. It could have just as easily been Tony Allen or even Zach Randolph on the receiving end of that pass from Carter…

Given the early deficit, the comeback and the extreme degree of difficulty on that final play, the catch and the kiss … off the glass, it’s hard to give anything high marks to Lee and the Grizzlies for a game-winning play that makes its namesake proud. Give it four Horrys.
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Shaquille O’Neal’s new album sounds pretty bad

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Part of what made Shaquille O’Neal such a dynamic presence when he was an active NBA player was his ability and willingness to do so many different things. For instance, not only did he play in the NBA, but he also acted in films and released several hip-hop albums. Some of those albums did better than others — as Shaq has told me before, “two platinum, two gold, and two double-wood.”

He may have another wood album on his hands. Check out this (fake, of course) commercial from the Kings, where O’Neal is a co-owner, for an album of Shaq singing pop hits. Don’t worry, you will not want to buy it…


VIDEO: Shaq pop

DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi share a moment

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In the waning minutes of tonight’s Kings blowout 131-109 win over Denver, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi shared a moment on the bench. This is what being teammates is all about…

Kings, Nuggets pioneer innovative “triple flop”

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’ve seen some quality flopping around these parts, but what happened in last night’s Kings/Nuggets game was truly inventive. Late in the game with the score close, the Kings’ Rudy Gay set a pin-down screen against Kenneth Faried to try and free up DeMarcus Cousins. Faried barreled into the screen, and, well, basically everyone went flying…


VIDEO: Bowling Pins

Sacramento Kings troll Golden State Warriors during pregame introductions

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When an NBA team goes on the road, they know better than to expect a friendly welcome. I mean, sure, the home teams may offer a smile and handshake, but the road team is there to beat the home team, so the home team will certainly attempt to create some sort of advantage. The Celtics under Red Auerbach famously fluctuated the temperature in the visitor’s locker room. Even today, many visiting teams are given much smaller locker rooms than the home teams, with just the essentials provided.

So let’s credit the Sacramento Kings with coming up with a novel way to troll the Golden State Warriors. During their home opener on Wednesday night, while the Kings went through a perfunctory pregame introduction of the Warriors players, they cue’d up the theme song from “Full House,” the saccharine-sweet ’80s sitcom that, like the Warriors, was set in San Francisco.

It didn’t seem to have much effect — the Warriors won by 18 — but it was highly enjoyable. Let’s hope the Kings keep this up all season with city-specific music for each opponent.


VIDEO: Kings troll

(via TNLP)

Ben McLemore is Sacto’s new pizza guy

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the joys of watching games via League Pass is seeing local commercials you might not otherwise come across. As such, it was fun last season watching Kings guard Isaiah Thomas star as the Pizza Guy.

But alas, Thomas left this summer and found a new home in Phoenix, meaning the coveted Pizza Guy slot in Sacramento was vacated. To fill it, the Pizza people looked no further than Ben McLemore, who apparently used to actually order the pizza.

And now he’s not just a customer, McLemore is the new pizza guy…


VIDEO: McLemore Pizza

(via HP)

Sixers, Kings debut cool court projection systems

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last season during the retirement ceremony of Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the Cleveland Cavaliers showed off a nifty court projection that appeared to make the static hardwood come alive. This year a couple of other teams have run with the same idea, using a court projection system to give their floor a 3-D look.

• The Atlanta Hawks have announced they will have one, though they’ve yet to release any footage.

• Here’s the projection the Sacramento Kings plan to introduce…


VIDEO: Kings Court

• And here’s the one the Sixers will use (no, not during games)…


VIDEO: Sixers Court

(via Deadspin)

DeMarcus Cousins sets goal for this season


VIDEO: Kings T’s

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the surprise inclusions on this summer’s U.S.A. Basketball for the FIBA Basketball World Cup squad was Sacramento’s DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins. It wasn’t because of his talent — Cousins is one of the most versatile and skilled big men in the NBA. If anything, people we surprised Cousins made it because in the past, his attitude had worked against him.

But Cousins was terrific in Spain, even at times showing restraint. (That’s two for flinching, Valanciunas.) Now, with the Kings back together in Sacramento and prepping for a new season, Boogie has apparently set a new goal for himself. As we see in this Instagram picture from Reggie Evans, Cousins is hoping to cut down on the league-leading 16 technical fouls he received last season, by a significant amount.

As Evans noted, “Myboi @boogiecousins goal for this year. 5 Technical this season. I feel like he can do it.”

NBA People Throwing First Pitches (Pt. 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — All summer long, we’ve seen NBA players throwing out the ceremonial first pitches at baseball games. Not just major league games, and not just from active NBA players, but from NBA-related folks (coaches, retired players) all over the place.

I’ve been collecting these videos for a few months, and now we present them, all of them, in several parts, because there’s a lot to get through.

And so, here are a bunch of NBA people throwing out the first pitch at baseball games…

PART ONE | PART TWO | PART THREE

ZACH LAVINE
Timberwolves rookie Zach LaVine threw out the first pitch at a Twins game before they played his (former) favorite team, the Angels. I like how fired up he is after meeting Mike Trout


VIDEO: LaVine pitch

ANDREW WIGGINS
Staying in Minnesota, just last night, Andrew Wiggins took the hill to give it a shot. Have to say, I think he threw a strike…
(more…)