Posts Tagged ‘Thabo Sefolosha’

The All Ball Crossover Contest (Vol. 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Welcome to Volume Two of the Crossover Contest, in which we highlight the best of the best (and worst). In the same way that we look at who got dunked on in our All Ball Posterized Poll, in the crossover contest we examine which NBA players have been put in a blender. 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 …

WILL BYNUM ON DEVIN HARRIS, Feb. 22
Zettler: Devin Harris
didn’t really stand a chance. As soon as he stepped up, Will Bynum hit him with the stutter dribble. That was enough to set Devin up for the inadvertent Cupid Shuffle. Quick, efficient move by a man with an arsenal of them.


VIDEO: Will Bynum jukes Devin Harris

KYRIE IRVING ON THABO SEFOLOSHA, Feb. 26
Zettler: This was unique in that Kyrie Irving provoked Thabo Sefolosha’s (perennial All-NBA defender) fall before he performed the crossover. Irving drove hard right and stopped on a dime, which was enough to send poor Thabo sprawling on all fours and his bench off their seats for the inevitable dagger.


VIDEO: Kyrie loses Thabo

TY LAWSON ON JODIE MEEKS, March 7
Zettler: Don’t hurt ’em, Law! This was just, oh my…just pause the clip at the seven second mark. A frozen video is worth a thousand words.


VIDEO: Ty Lawson carves up Jodie

ANDRAY BLATCHE ON TYLER HANSBROUGH, March 10
Zettler (channeling his inner Hubie Brown): See, we know Andray Blatche likes to create like a guard. We’ve seen him hit fancy scoops. We know he’ll dunk it on ya. But now we see that he has the killer — slow, but killer — crossover to turn Tyler Hansbrough in circles and get the finish. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.


VIDEO: ‘Blatcheness’ takes over Brooklyn at Tyler Hansbrough’s expense

RUSSELL WESTBROOK ON PATRICK BEVERLEY, March 11
Zettler: Considering the contentious blood between these two, this is classic payback. Patrick Beverley stood too tall for a defensive stance and reached. Russell Westbrook taught with an old-school Zeke lightning cross through the legs. Speed and quickness under control.


VIDEO: Westbrook crosses by Beverley

Horry Scale: Harris Has It


VIDEO: Harris Has It

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And we’re back. Not even five weekdays since Randy Foye roused us on a quiet Monday evening, and the Horry Scale has been awakened by a rim-rattling dunk from Orlando’s Tobias Harris.

One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater. 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, everything surrounding and including the shot. So when I gave Randy Foye a 3 Horry rating, that wasn’t only a reflection of his shot, which was admittedly remarkable, as I wrote, but also the play, which was awful. Taj Gibson’s lefty layup wasn’t the toughest shot, but that inbounds play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.

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.

OK, so you understand? For our records, this is the fourteenth GWBB this season, so our record-setting pace continues unabated. for now, let’s break this shot down…

DIFFICULTY

It was an undefended dunk, the kind of dunk Tobias Harris has probably converted hundreds or even thousands of times in his life. But I doubt he’s ever put one down with literally no time left on the clock. After Kevin Durant missed his jumper that would have put Oklahoma City up 3, Victor Oladipo out-fought Thabo Sefolosha and Reggie Jackson to corral the ball, and by the time Oladipo had it and was heading up court, there were just under 4 seconds remaining. Even though they had a timeout remaining, the Magic played on and took advantage of the numbers. In the next four seconds, Oladipo dribbled the length of the court and got into the paint, where Jeremy Lamb stepped up to cut off his drive. Lamb left Maurice Harkless alone on the baseline, and Oladipo hit him with a bounce pass. Harkless caught the ball with 1.5 seconds remaining, and immediately dished it back to a trailing Tobias Harris, who dunked it home with no time remaining. It was a terrific pass by Harkless, but it was as gutsy as it was fundamentally sound — with such a miniature amount of time left, this game was pretty close to ending with Harris a couple of inches away from a GWBB. But he made it, and the Magic won in thrilling come-from-behind fashion.

GAME SITUATION

The Thunder had an 8-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Magic outscored them 23-14 in the fourth to get the W. There were two things about the situation around this particular play that stuck out to me: 1. Durant shot the ball with about 3 seconds left on the shot clock. I know he was able to get to one of his preferred spots on the court, at the free throw line extended, which is a shot he makes more often than not. But if he’d been able to wait just a second longer, the Magic wouldn’t have had the time to grab the board and do what they did. 2. The Thunder had a small lineup in at the time, and when Durant’s shot went up, Serge Ibaka was the only member of the Thunder anywhere near the rim in a rebounding position. And the long bounce from the miss then took him out of contention for the rebound.

CELEBRATION

Now that’s a celebration. With no time on the clock, the Magic players knew they could celebrate, so the bench guys rushed the court. The camera work became shaky, like something out of a movie. Harris received a trio of chest bumps, ending with a thunderous hug from Big Baby Davis. Also, you want to see what disbelief looks like? Check out the Thunder bench…

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 10.59.48 PM

GRADE

As I wrote above, and I hope you remember this, IT ISN’T ONLY ABOUT THE SHOT. It’s about the entire play, and the accumulated circumstances surrounding the shot. As a dunk, in a vacuum, for an NBA player it wasn’t the most difficult shot. But put everything together, including a lottery team playing the best team in the West, and making a shot while down a point to win the game, and it was a pretty epic play for the Magic. I can’t give this 5 stars, only because this is a regular season game and I have to be able to still go up from here once we reach the playoffs. So instead, I’m giving this 4 Horrys, the same grade to which I retroactively rated Jeff Green’s season-opening shot.

horry-star horry-star horry-star horry-star

What say you? How many Horrys would you give Tobias Harris’s GWBB?

Kendrick Perkins Is The Locker Room Police

Chicago Bulls v Oklahoma City Thunder

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Many athletes consider the locker room a sacred place, the one room where they come together as a team and are able to have both camaraderie and some modicum of privacy. They joke around, they have player’s-only meetings. And apparently what they do not do is go into the other team’s locker room, at least as long as Kendrick Perkins is involved.

After last night’s Oklahoma City Thunder win over Chicago, Bulls center Joakim Noah apparently showed up in the Thunder locker room in order to say hello to Thabo Sefolosha, who played with Noah in Chicago a few years ago. Now, players from opposing teams stopping to say hello following a game is nothing new — considering the amount of player movement that happens around the NBA, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t have some sort of former teammate on another team. What was different about last night, however, is that Noah went into the Thunder locker room, escorted by Noah. And that’s when Kendrick Perkins, self-styled locker room cop, went to work.

According to Oklahoman writer Anthony Slater, here’s the exchange they had…

Perkins: “They just let anybody in the locker room?”

Noah: “C’mon man.”

Perkins: “I’m just asking though.”

Noah: “C’mon man.”

Perkins: “Just let anybody in the locker room now?”

Noah: “You want me to wait outside?”

Perkins: “I’m just saying, though.”

Noah: “If you want me to wait outside, I’ll wait outside.”

Perkins: “Get your ass up outta here.”

Noah: “Aight.”

OK, then! (Rather, aight!) Being former teammates and friends is great and all that, but stay out of the Thunder locker room in OKC, you guys.


Video: The Inside the NBA crew discusses Perkin’s beef

Horry Scale: Dre Day


VIDEO: Iguodala’s Game Winner

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And now the Horry Scale nominees will come fast and furious. After Jeff Green’s game winner just a few days ago, last night’s late TNT game gave us our second nominee of the season, on a last-second shot that didn’t exactly go as planned.

Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain. 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 rules in place, let’s check out last night’s game-winner from Golden State’s Andre Iguodala at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. (By the way, we will not call him Iggy, because he hates the nickname Iggy.)

DIFFICULTY
In terms of basketball fundamentals, Iguodala was able to take a relatively normal jumper — he was moving toward the baseline with the ball in his right (shooting) hand. But we should note here that the play we saw executed was not the play Mark Jackson drew up, according to Iguodala.
Dre said he was supposed to get the ball, fake a dribble handoff to Klay Thompson, who was inbounding, and then look for his shot. And when they lined up for the play, Kevin Durant was assigned to Iguodala. But the Thunder were switching on the play, and when Thabo Sefolosha switched onto Iguodala and basically overplayed as Iguodala cut toward Thompson, Iguodala make the executive decision to cut backdoor — “I took a page out of Kobe’s book,” said Iguodala — and he found room to receive the pass. If nothing else I just love this play as an example of how much happens in an NBA game that is unplanned — these guys are constantly making plays that are based on reads and reactions, and when multiple players are in sync on something like that, it can be a beautiful thing. Sefolosha defended the shot pretty well and recovered enough to get up in Iguodala’s release, but Dre put enough arc on the ball to not only clear the defender, but also take pretty much the entire clock before it splashed home.

GAME SITUATION
It’s worth noting that just seconds before Iguodala’s shot, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook drained a long three-pointer on a broken play to give OKC the temporary 115-114 lead. And frankly, I was a bit surprised Iguodala’s shot was a game-winning shot, because when the ball was inbounded there were 2.3 seconds left. And in the NBA, 2.3 seconds can be an eternity — enough time to catch the ball and run a quick play, or make a few moves even. As the Warriors were inbounding the ball, TNT’s Reggie Miller noted, “A lot of time left for a dribble or two for the Warriors, to get this shot off.” Watching the replays, I’m still not convinced there shouldn’t have been a few tenths of a second added back on after this shot. That is barely any time, I know, but hey, Derek Fisher is on the Thunder, isn’t he?

IMPORTANCE
Let me say this here: I am not perfect. In my breakdown of Jeff Green’s game-winner, I discounted my rating of the shot because I felt like it was such an early-season game that it wouldn’t really have ramifications down the line. And in the comments, you guys upbraided me for not accepting that for the Celtics, beating the defending champs at home was a big deal. Looking back, I probably should have given the Green play a 4. There, I said it. But we don’t choose these things, they choose us, and we just have to move on. So before I go and discount this shot for taking place so early in the season, let’s realize that beating Oklahoma City meant a lot to the Warriors, regardless of the point in the season.

CELEBRATION
Hitting a dagger at home means built-in celebratory upgrades, such as confetti and a raucous crowd. After the shot connected, Iguodala instinctively sprinted to halfcourt, and the Warriors bench rushed the floor. We also got a shot of a calm, grinning Jermaine O’Neal, surveying the action from the sideline like the old man who’d seen it all and felt proud for these kids. And you think the Warriors weren’t excited? Check out the celebration from owner Joe Lacob

LacobGoesNutsGSWOKC

Fist pumps in a blazer, you guys.

GRADE
As stated earlier, I caught flack for giving Jeff Green three Horrys, and I have publicly reconsidered my position on that one. For a while I wondered if my legacy here at All Ball would be as the Simon Cowell of the Horry Scale, the tough judge nobody could impress. But nobody likes a meanie, and it’s no fun to have a heart two sizes too small. So for this shot, for reasons outlined above that go above and beyond what was basically a fadeaway jumper, I’m going with four Horrys.

horry-starhorry-starhorry-starhorry-star

That’s my take. How many Horry’s would you give Andre Iguodala’s game winner?

(GIF via @CJZero)

Down Goes Gortat

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’ve been on the basketball court, you’ve been there: There’s a switch on defense, and you end up defending someone you probably shouldn’t be defending. In this case you have two options: 1) You back down and basically concede defeat, letting your guy score. 2) You buckle down and go all-in on defense, even with getting embarrassed as a likely result.

So it speaks well to Washington center Marcin Gortat‘s guts that he was willing to try and stick with Oklahoma City guard Thabo Sefolosha when the two ended up paired on the wing during their game on Sunday night. And to be fair, it looks like Gortat’s teammate Martell Webster trying to play help defense may have had a part in this, when his feet tangle with Gortat’s.

Either way, down goes Gortat…

1blC8wP

(via SBNation)

NBA Players Celebrate Halloween

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — NBA players are just like anyone else, and end up celebrating Halloween by dressing up in wacky costumes. Here’s a sampling of images they’ve shared of them in costume via various social media thus far…

Serge Ibaka as Coming To America‘s Prince Akeem, and girlfriend Keri Hilson as Lisa McDowell…

(more…)

Local Ads: The OKC Thunder Has A Car For You!

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As part of our continuing hard-hitting series celebrating the best in local advertising, let’s take a moment to say farewell to the Oklahoma City Thunder. After losing star PG Russell Westbrook in the first round to injury, the Thunder soldiered on without him, even winning a game against the Grizz in dramatic fashion, but eventually, the Grit-N-Grind Grizz sent the Thunder fishing.

But before they go home, let’s take a moment to recognize the Thunder supporting cast who did their best even if it wasn’t quite enough — guys like Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison and Reggie Jackson. They may not be headliners like Kevin Durant and Westbrook, but that doesn’t mean they can’t move product, as we see from their performances here in this ad from a few months back for Norman Chrysler Jeep and Dodge.

And hey, I’d like to see you try to get Perk to sing “that goofy song.” Good luck with that.