ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — While most people thought Team USA would struggle in the FIBA Basketball World Cup without players like Kevin Love, Kevin Durant and Paul George, Team USA managed to mostly sail through the competition behind strong performances from the players on the perimeter, from James Harden to Kyrie Irving to Klay Thompson.
And then there was Stephen Curry. We already knew he was one of the best shooters in the NBA, and Curry cemented that status in Spain, shooting 44 percent on threes. Check out this video below from the NBA’s Youtube channel, in which we see one of Curry’s off-day workouts in Madrid. There’s a reason why he never seems to miss…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the reasons USA Basketball has people around with cameras filming everything is just in case a situation like the one below breaks out. At a Team USA practice in Barcelona, an impromptu shooting contest happened between Kenneth Faried, Stephen Curry and James Harden. That in and of itself isn’t all that rare. But in this case, their shooting station was the bench.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — At practice yesterday for USA Basketball, Sacramento big man DeMarcus Cousins decided to show off his outside shooting range, while declaring himself a candidate to join Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as members of the sweet-shooting Splash Brothers. Luckily, Curry was nearby to witness Cousins’ audition…
Coaches are fond of telling their team that whoever plays with the most physicality will win nine out of 10 times. The Pistons of the late 1980s took that to heart and it led to a dynasty and adulation many years later.
It didn’t work as well for the early to mid-90s New York Knicks, who boasted a trio of imposing bruisers — Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason — but couldn’t get out the East. Throughout the years, plenty of teams followed the rough and tumble blueprint. While it doesn’t always result in a championship, a physical brand of basketball does make things competitive…which is ultimately what we want to see.
Sunday night at ORACLE Arena, the (current) Knicks discovered what a bit of nasty could do. First Tyson Chandler got demonstrative on Jermaine O’Neal, capped off by a searing stare-down:
Gotta love how Stephen Curry just helped himself to his feet, wiped his mouth off with his jersey and trotted up the court. As fierce as any competitor in the NBA, he dropped a cool 32 points and single-handedly almost led Golden State to a dub. But for another night at least, the bullies captured the flag.
It was a little too close for comfort in Oakland, Calif., Thursday night as the Warriors edged the lowly Bucks 115-110. As per usual, though, Stephen Curry did near-superhuman things to lift Golden State to a win. He scored 31 points. He dished 11 dimes. He grabbed three boards and a steal.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few weeks back, Warriors guard Stephen Curry went to New Orleans for All-Star Weekend, and played in his first NBA All-Star Game. But that doesn’t mean he took the weekend off. Besides the game, there were media obligations, meetings, dinners, even basketball clinics for area kids. Under Armour followed Curry every step of the way and released this video of Curry’s All-Star experience…
If you didn’t see Sunday’s contest between the Warriors and Trail Blazers, cue up League Pass and grab some popcorn. It was a basketball game, folks.
Things got really good in the fourth quarter. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shined for 51 points in the second half and in the last five minutes, their beam was almost blinding. Thompson hit two dagger treys in the final minute to finish off a fantastic effort by Damian Lillard and Rip City, as Golden State escaped with a win.
But this play by Steph is worth the price of admission. He outbattles Wesley Matthews for the steal, races down court with the pill, then goes to work on Wes…and the always spunky Portland crowd.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — NBA practices frequently devolve into shooting contests — from halfcourt, from full court, between teammates, whatever. And when your team’s coach is a former NBA point guard, it just gives the players one more competitor to go up against in any shooting contest. That’s what happened yesterday in Indianapolis, where the Golden State Warriors had practice on an off day, and where Steph Curry and coach Mark Jackson got into a post-practice shootout.
Even though Curry is arguably the best shooters in the game today, Coach Jackson gave him all he could handle. Hand down, man down.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Throughout this season, perhaps you’ve seen our ongoing series, The All Ball Posterized Poll. In those posts, we examine which NBA players have been victims of the most vicious dunks.
We are proud to continue the tradition of highlighting the best of the best (and worst) with the new All Ball Crossover Contest. From time to time, we will check in and look at some of the best ankle-breaking dribbling exhibitions we’ve seen. We want to see the greatest moves, of course, but we also want to take note of who got shook.
So who broke out the best crossover in this edition of the Crossover Contest? We culled this selection of videos, and NBA.com’s Zettler Clay is providing the written commentary to accompany what you see.
Check out the videos below and vote at the bottom of the post …
NORRIS COLE ON DERRICK ROSE Zettler Says: I know, Derrick Rose was only minutes into his first game back from an ACL tear. Still, as Avon Barksdale accurately summed it up, the game is the game. Norris saw an opportunity and made a quick decision. We’re rooting for a full recovery for Rose, if only for a chance at redemption, because this move is nasty.
JOHN WALL ON TERRENCE ROSS Zettler Says:John Wall hits Terrence Ross with the double. If you were to ask for defining Wall plays to teach to youngsters, this would lead the reel. A stutter step to freeze Ross, then a crisp crossover followed by another, followed by speed to the cup. Great read, timing and execution.
STEPHEN CURRY ON REGGIE JACKSON Zettler Says: There’s nobody else in the NBA that could pull this move off, save for Jamal Crawford and Kevin Durant. Curry’s ability to quickly set his feet after a move combined with his deadly deep aim gives his crossover another element. No spot on the court is safe for any Steph defender.
DERON WILLIAMS ON CHRIS PAUL Zettler Says: Classic end of half isolation clash between two of the league’s best. What gives this play flair is the stealthy rivalry between these two players since they entered the NBA in 2005, one pick behind each other (D-Will was the third pick, Paul fourth). On this night, multiple times, the third pick had the upper hand.
J.R. SMITH ON TRISTAN THOMPSON Zettler Says: This is just Earl Joseph Smith III doing his thing. Thankfully Tristan Thompson took an unnatural fall, which not only made the play pop, but saved his ankle. If he doesn’t hit the deck, his talus is broken. Believe.
Doc Rivers recently said that his starting center DeAndre Jordancarries qualities of legendary center Bill Russell. Though it’s no surprise for coaches to veer into the realm of hyperbole to unlock potential of their players (think of Mark Jackson’s declaration of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson being the best shooting backcourt in NBA history), Rivers isn’t wrong. DJ is springy, he lives on the glass and deters weak and strong forays to the basket alike.
There was another element about Russell. The Lord of the Rings is praised for his ability to turn a block into a turnover, making defense offensive and piling on assists from the defensive end. More than anybody, in the process of altering shots his own way, Russell altered the way practitioners and fans viewed defense on the hardwood.
On Monday night, there were plenty of stout rejections, but it was the Pistons’ young pivot Andre Drummond who demonstrated to a new generation the art of turning a block into a quick two: