ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The best way to get fans to vote for your players for the NBA All-Star Game? Use kids to get out the vote, obviously. Because everyone loves kids. The Golden State Warriors are clearly a step ahead of some other franchises when it comes to mobilizing their base.
THE HEADQUARTERS — As the Stylistics eloquently put it, payback is a dog and Russell Westbrook has packed the meanest bite of the young NBA season.
After a thrilling finish in the Bay Area a little over two weeks ago, when Westbrook and Andre Iguodala traded clutch baskets, we knew the rematch would be a battle. What competitor doesn’t crave get-back after coming up short?
Consider it a mission complete by Westbrook, who couldn’t have served a colder dish than his turnaround 3 in OT with 0.1 seconds left to lift OKC to a 113-112 win. This time, he didn’t give anybody a chance to return the favor.
He started the game hitting his first five shots, then went 4-for-19 until his victory-snatching snipe. In a game that featured 20 lead changes, 32 points from Stephen Curry, a poster dunk from Serge Ibaka, this game had “Game of the Year” written on it before you-know-who ended matters.
Best game, best shot, best celebration? Yes. Yes. Affirmative. And yes, you want to mark January 17 in your calendars.
The shot alone is enough to catapult Russ to the peak of the Top Plays mountain. What adds to it is what came directly before. Ibaka missed a foul-line jumper at the top of the key and Jermaine O’Neal was a simple rebound away from securing possession and most likely the game for Golden State. But he didn’t box out and that’s all Westbrook (who flew in from the 3-point line) needed to knock the loose ball away from a surprised O’Neal.
Thabo Sefalosha tracked down the rock andmade a blind save to a springing Westbrook, who in a flash snatched the ball out the air with his right hand, took one dribble toward the 3-point line, looked left, whirled right and launched before a scrambling Harrison Barnes could give a good contest.
(Actually, Barnes did get a hand up. Westbrook just got a clean look first).
The dejected look on Barnes (13 seconds into the above clip) is the perfect flip side to the pandemonium surrounding him.
BONUS: Luckily, a fan caught the emotional moment from an excellent courtside angle.
Which was better? Both were done in the midst of a blowout and both were completely unexpected. I’m going with Iguodala because of the original factor and the lessened margin of error of being in the corner. But Stephenson’s dime did count for three points on the board…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Over the last few years the NBA has taken more and more ownership of Christmas Day, scheduling games in what used to be a void of TV viewing. This year there will be five games on air back to back, and to make it even more of an event, the players participating will be rocking new uniforms — not only sleeved jerseys, but what the NBA and adidas are calling “big logo” jerseys. These feature team logos in reflective chrome as the focal point on the short-sleeve jerseys, paired with an ultra-lightweight short with chrome piping. The jerseys are available now online at the NBA Store.
To publicize the new looks, they’ve created a new ad, which you can watch above, featuring players involved in those games, including Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Steve Nash, James Harden and Stephen Curry. They have also dropped photos, which you can see in the gallery below. -
BONUS!Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Jingle Hoops commercial …
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Halloween may be in our collective rear view mirror, but looming ahead is Thanksgiving. And to celebrate it in their own special way, several NBA players will be popping up on Disney XD beginning today and again over the new few weeks as part of something called Pranksgiving. According to a release from Disney…
A specially drafted NBA pranking crew — Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets) and DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers) — get in the pranking game with the comedic and unpredictable puppet Crash (of the sitcom “Crash & Bernstein”) and together, they pull fun and over-the-top tricks on Disney XD’s biggest stars. Each Monday, a new fan-voted prank will be revealed on Disney XD along with new prank-themed episodes including Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets) guest starring in the new comedy series “Mighty Med.”
Curry said of his involvement, “Getting to be a part of Disney XD’s ‘Pranksgiving’ allowed me, and the other players, to connect with kids and families in a different way and show them a side of us they don’t usually see. I love to do fun things like this with fans and giving back to the community is something I’m committed to. I also loved that my family got to be there with me when we shot it, and when my daughter gets older and is watching Disney XD, I can tell her all about it.”
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the NBA’s involvement… -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — OK, I know the headline is a bit misleading — this is a commercial for Capri Sun, and of course Stephen Curry is not going to dance for thirty seconds after each made basket.
But imagine if he did…
Curry for three…yes! And now he’s…he’s…dancing? Oh, and he’s dropping it like it’s hot! Meanwhile, the other team has inbounded the ball and run down to the other end of the court. But Curry is still there at halfcourt, brushing dirt off his shoulders as the Warriors are forced to play four-on-five! As his coach used to say, Hand down, man down! -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Some people practice on the court, some people practice wherever they can get work in. We saw Andre Drummond putting moves on people in the airport, as didNate Robinson, while we found Steph Curry working on ball fakes around the house, and JaVale McGee zig-zagging around a bunch of stools.
Now we find Brooklyn C Andre Blatche putting in work in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue. (Also, kinda love that he seems to be wearing his Nets sweatsuit while out walking around Fifth Ave.) -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Mouthguards have become something of a regular thing in basketball the last two decades, as more and more players have elected to wear them, for preventative purposes as much as anything. Golden State’s Stephen Curry has made his something of an accessory, as he constantly chews on it in between plays.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the most popular NBA-related commercials this summer stars Houston’s James Harden and Golden State’s Stephen Curry in an ad for Foot Locker, where Curry tries to stop Harden from recording an R&B track that is, well, rough. (And you can check Harden’s full track here.)
Curry’s commercial success comes on the heels of his incredible postseason run with the Warriors — the Warriors, thought to be rebuilding, finished the 12-13 season a dozen games over .500, knocked out the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs and pushed San Antonio to 6 games before finally being eliminated. As great as the Warriors were, they went as Stephen Curry went. Curry, who had a 54-point game at Madison Square Garden and a 47-point game at Staples Center during the season, had several equally blazing performances through the Playoffs.
This summer, the Warriors made a surprising play for Dwight Howard, and then ended up with Andre Iguodala, adding yet another versatile option to coach Mark Jackson‘s lineup. it was the kind of move that seemed to say the future is now.
I caught up with Curry last week at Foot Locker’s flagship store in New York City to talk about all this stuff, as well as why he is the perfect person to produce Harden’s R&B record.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few days back we saw the new Foot Locker ad, which features Steph Curryattempting to stopJames Harden from recording an R&B single. In the commercial we hear a few seconds of the song. Well, now Foot Locker has released the full song performed by Harden — the song is called “Harden Soul.” And if you ever had doubts about Steph Curry’s ear for music, don’t doubt it again… -