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.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — This morning, via Reddit, I came across this cool video of an inbounds play the Warriors use frequently. It’s so simple that it’s genius — basically, they just stand a man in the corner and throw him the ball before anyone else is ready…
Last night against the Kings, the Warriors pulled off an inbounds play that was even simpler, thanks to the defensive efforts, or non-efforts, of DeMarcus Cousins, who set up on the wrong side of Marreese Speights and then had no choice but to just let him go to the basket.
Not sure if Cousins thought they were on offense, or was trying to anticipate helping on a screen, or what. Either way, add another play to the Warriors inbounds arsenal…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Sacramento Kings rookie guard Nik Stauskas is not only a terrific outside shooter, he’s apparently also an expert when it comes to all things “Friends.” How well does he know the show? The Kings decided to try and find out by having Stauskas take a quiz on Buzzfeed about the show. (You can play along with Stauskas at home here.) One thing we know for sure about Nik Stauskas: He’ll be there for you…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When the Sacramento Kings fired coach Mike Malone a few weeks ago, there was talk that under new coach Ty Corbin, they might attempt something rather bold: Attempting to play 4-on-5. This has been buzzed about for a while, and it would certainly be something to see. It also would probably not work very well against NBA offenses, but hey, it showed an owner and a franchise willing to think outside the box, to zig where everyone else zags.
Last night against Brooklyn, however, they actually ran the 4-on-5 defense…by accident. After a turnover in the second quarter, Sacramento’s Reggie Evans walked to the bench and appeared to take a seat, thinking that play was stopping for a timeout. But play continued, and the Nets had a 5-on-4 possession. They ended up missing the shot, and the Kings pushed the ball back and got it an open Evans under the basket. Sure, he missed the shot, and it was accidental instead of planned, but for one shining moment, we had 4-on-5 hoops.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — “Never have I ever…” is a game people play at parties, where friends and strangers end up revealing fun and interesting facts to each other. But when the Sacramento Kings decided to play a few rounds of the game, they did it on the arena scoreboard, for all to see. And of course, it’s always fun to find out that DeMarcus Cousins once dressed up as a woman, or that Darren Collison has no problem taking multiple pieces of candy from an unattended bowl on a porch on Halloween…
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 TBT topic: Peja Stojakovic
On Dec. 16, 2014, the Sacramento Kings retired the No. 16 jersey of former All-Star and fan favorite Peja Stojakovic. He ranks first in Kings franchise history (1948-current) in 3-pointers made (1,070) and attempted (2,687), and in free throw percentage (.893). He’s also ranked second on the Kings all-time scoring list with 9,498 points scored, third in field goals made (3,352) and attempted (7,269), and fifth in steals (543).
To honor Stojakovic’s days in Sacramento, we look back at the career of this sharp-shooter:
(NOTE:Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)