ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night’s Rockets/Thunder game was a scrappy, physical affair that was reminiscent of playoff basketball. It wasn’t the only entertaining game last night, but it also didn’t provide the lone potential Shaqtin’ A Fool moment. Dwight Howard, Corey Brewer, Taj Gibson, come on down!
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’re into the NBA’s most devastating dunks, we’ve got you covered over at the new-and-improved Dunk HQ. But because we’re the All Ball blog and we like to look at the NBA from non-traditional angles, we will focus on the flip side of the NBA’s best dunks: What we want to know is, who got got?
So welcome to Volume Three of The All Ball Posterized Poll. We will check in from time to time and examine the worst of the best, and use a highly scientific polling method to determine which NBA player got dunked on (a.k.a. posterized) the most egregiously. And at the end of the season all of our winners will battle it out to determine who it is that most belongs on a poster.
The winner of Volume One was New Orleans’ Jeff Withey, who was placed on a poster by Lakers’ wingman Xavier Henry, his college teammate. The winner of Volume Two was Atlanta’s Al Horford, who was posterized by Victor Oladipo.
But can anyone top Withey? We have five brand new nominees. We checked in with NBA.com’s own slam dunk specialist, LeMont Calloway, for his informed perspective on the matter. “What I’ll say most about these defenders is that at least they’re trying to show help-side D,” LeMont notes. “There’s a defender or two around the league who wouldn’t even dare, let alone probably couldn’t even make the proper rotation. (Calling you out Boozer!) But, it’s like Bill Walton used to say: What are big men doing trying to take charges anyway?”
Now, to the latest nominees …
1. Terrence Ross on Kenneth Faried
LeMont’s Take: “Not only does this one have all the qualities needed to make it a great posterizer (elevating over a jumping, contesting defender, finishing tough), but the still shot of the play makes for an amazing visual. From Faried’s honest attempt at defending to Ross’ acrobatic cock-back wind-up, you have to appreciate both players’ intensity.” -
VIDEO:Ross on Faried - 2. Kevin Martin on Tayshaun Prince
LeMont’s Take: “No shots fired, but has Kevin Martin ever had a play like this in the NBA? Wanna know what sticks out to me the most about this banger? It’s the fact that Martin’s swagged-out slow walk after the dunk suggests that Kevin Martin posterizers, like a LeBron jam, for instance, are household plays. It’s like Martin is saying, ‘This is what I do.’ Love it!” -
VIDEO:Martin on Prince - 3. Taj Gibson on Bismack Biyombo
LeMont’s Take: “Bulls announcer Stacey King knows a poster when he sees it. And if there’s one Bull who has a pretty good resume of big facials, it’s Taj Gibson (ask Nikola Vucevic or a 2011 D-Wade about their Gibson experiences). Game film is key in this game, and if Bismack Biyombo was paying any attention, he’d know that Gibson usually means serious two-handed business at the rim.” -
VIDEO:Gibson on Biyombo - 4. Anthony Davis on Big Baby
LeMont’s Take: “I feel pretty confident calling it right now: Anthony Davis may turn out to be one of the best big man to utilize the pick and roll. A lot of his dunks and alley-oops this season have come in this manner, and he’s only going to keep learning and getting better at it. It just so happens that his play-cousin Glen Davis is part of the education.” -
VIDEO:Davis on Davis - 5. Lance Stephenson on referee Ed Malloy
LeMont’s Take: “No man is safe from getting dunked on. Not kids on Nerf hoops, not unsuspecting rookies, not even referees. How many people can say they dunked on an official and got away with it? Lance Stephenson can, and he’s probably the envy of many a player in the NBA. (I’m sure there are plenty of guys who’d love to dunk one on Joey Crawford.) The Pacers’ spark plug may be ticked off that he didn’t make the All-Star team, but hopefully he was able to unleash some of that anger here, even if it was at the expense of a ref.” -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — After a flurry of Horry Scale entries around the winter holidays, we went into a long slumber, with no game-winning buzzer-beaters since January 3, when Andre Iguodala last made an entry. But now, after a long day of NBA action, thanks to Taj Gibson and the Chicago Bulls’ 102-100 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, we have yet another GWBB to break down.
Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain why we’re here: What is the Horry Scale? For those who are new around these parts, the Horry Scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.
With the groundwork laid, let’s do this, shall we?
DIFFICULTY With 0.9 left on the clock, the Bulls most likely had to run a play where the guy who caught the ball was heading toward the basket. If you watch closely, even before the ball is inbounded to Gibson, every Bulls player is streaking toward the rim, ready and able to get off a last-second shot. Jimmy Butler acts as sort of a bulldozer, moving Lakers guard Nick Young out of the lane. And as Gibson cuts to the basket, he manages to pin his defender, Lakers wing Manny Harris, behind him, basically creating a Taj-Gibson-sized target moving toward the rim. Yet with all seven-feet of Pau Gasol defending Mike Dunleavy, who was there to make the pass, Dunleavy had to resort to a bounce pass to get the ball to Gibson. Gasol spun around and ended up running at Gibson, nearly blocking the shot. But Gibson made a smooth catch and lefty layup (he shoots his jumpers righty), all in less than a second. If all that wasn’t enough, according to Bulls announcer Chuck Swirsky, Gibson said he’d never even made a game-winner before …
Post game interviews coming up shortly on bulls TV Taj Gibson told me just moments ago that was his first ever game-winning shot amazing
Since trading away Luol Deng and waiving Andrew Bynum, the immediate future of the Bulls — or at least their intentions — has been somewhat murky. Their roster may not be what we thought it would be at the start of the season, but Tom Thibodeau teams always play hard, and Monday night was no exception. Even after taking a three-point lead in overtime, which Nick Young erased via free throws with four seconds to go, these Bulls don’t know when to say when.
One of the problems endemic to GWBB’s is that often the players involved aren’t even sure whether or not the shot actually beat the buzzer, which can lead to some subdued celebrations. Still, the Bulls players were pretty excited, including a leaping chest/shoulder bump between Jo Noah and Gibson. But if there was an image that summed up how great the Bulls felt about the win, it was the shot of all-business Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau smiling and giving Gibson five as they left the court.
Lefty layup. Contested shot. Slick inbounds play. Overtime. Thibs smiling. Thibs smiling! I have been criticized in the past for being too tough on some shots, but the only thing I discount about this game/play is that it was a .500 team (Chicago) against a team 10 games under .500 (L.A.). If this was a playoff game I’d go five Horrys. But for now, I’m going four Horrys …
What say you? How many Horrys does Taj Gibson’s shot deserve?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We are deep into training camp and media days, which can mean only one thing: MUSCLEWATCH 2013 is fully upon us. And even as I am knee-deep in MUSCLEWATCH reports, coming in from around the NBA, imagine my surprise last week when I flipped on NBA TV and found MUSCLEWATCH reaching its largest audience yet:
Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.
Here’s how it looks on the morning of Monday, May 16.
Start planning the parade:
Pretty impressive show by the Bulls last night in Game 1. Derrick Rose continues to show why he’s the league’s MVP, getting into the lane at his choosing, and hitting several shots from the perimeter to boot. Honestly, if Rose is hitting 3-pointers, you might as well just hand the trophy to Chicago now and save the other teams the embarrassment, because he is literally unguardable when his jump shot is falling.
Here’s a question for you: Who has been the breakout young talent of these playoffs? You could say Atlanta’s Jeff Teague, or OKC’s James Harden, or perhaps Dallas’s J.J. Barea, but you’d be wrong. The answer is Chicago’s Taj Gibson, who, much like Nuke LaLoosh, announced his presence with authority last night:
The Bulls shot the ball exceptionally well last night, and that in and of itself is perhaps a little fluky, but the defensive effort (holding Miami to 82 points in 83 possession) and the offensive rebounding numbers (19 boards, leading to 31 second-chance points) are not. Those are huge advantages Chicago holds in this series, and they will carry them to a surprisingly easy series win and onto the NBA Finals.
Give it up already:
The problem the Heat have, and there is really no way to avoid it, is that they are playing three-on-five in the best of situations in this series. And that’s when their starters are on the court. What about when they need a rest?
The Heat are quality-not-quantity, and matched up against the Bulls, who had the NBA’s best bench during the regular season, they are going to be in trouble any time any of the Super Friends is off the court.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all pretty much need to play 48 minutes every night for the Heat to even have a prayer against the Bulls. And even that probably isn’t enough.
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For the complete Bragging Rights rules and to vote for other matchups, click here. In this matchup the UConn Huskies, a top seed with 11 NBA players to choose from, take on the USC Trojans. Veal Scalabrine for everyone!
Missed the cut: Caron Butler, Mavericks (injured); Charlie Villanueva, Pistons; A.J Price, Pacers; Hilton Armstrong, Hawks; Hasheem Thabeet, Rockets; Jeff Adrien, Warriors
Team synopsis: Wow. A dynamite scoring team for the boys from Storrs. This team is sort of the anti-LSU — all guard play with only Emeka there to patrol the paint. No real headaches in trying to determine their best lineup, though I suppose one could argue a spot for Charlie V due to UConn’s lack of size. Caron Butler would be in over Ben Gordon if healthy, but he’s missed too much time this year to be eligible. How you would stop Allen and Hamilton, two of the best shooters of all-time coming off screens, is anyone’s guess. (more…)