ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Part of what I do each week during the season on NBA TV’s “The Jump,” is I keep a focused eye on the NBA’s Social Media scene. Tweets, viral videos, Instagram posts — all of these are things that I constantly consume in order to find the best and brightest.
Last season, Toronto forward/center Amir Johnson emerged as a force on the NBA Social Media scene, so much so that by the end of the season I was referring to him on air as the NBA’s “Social Media MVP.” It wasn’t just that Amir was active on all these different fronts, it was that he obviously put thought and planning behind his posts, in order to ensure all the content he put out on the Internet was entertaining and interesting.
A few months back I got the chance to sit down with Amir and talk about his season both on and off the floor… -
So it should come as no surprise to those of us who monitor such things that Amir’s latest viral adventure is just about perfect: It’s funny, it’s cringe-worthy, it has real drama. And it may or may not have a redemptive ending… -
While the NBA is a League that has always had its share of individuals, the one unifying feature of all players is that everyone wears uniforms. But that doesn’t make them uniform. Some franchises have opted for simple jerseys with their team name in a stylized font, such as the Knicks or the Minneapolis Lakers, other teams have gone for more interesting expressions. Check out, for instance, the New Jersey Nets, with a red/white/blue stars and stripes motif; All-Star Game jerseys, with stars literally all over them; a Toronto Raptor jersey featuring an enormous cartoon raptor. Sometimes it’s in the details, like with the trim on the throwback Syracuse Nationals jersey. And then sometimes we’re drawn to the colors, like with the gorgeous baby blue and red of the old Sacramento Kings jerseys.
Whatever you like, for many of us uniforms can be much more than just a statement of which team we’re cheering for. We picked some pics in the gallery below of uniforms that caught our eye.
What is your favorite uniform of all-time? Let us know in the comments section, and don’t forget to continue the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #NBAStyle… -
At the trade deadline in February, Jose Calderon was traded from the Toronto Raptors to the Detroit Pistons. Tonight, he visited his former digs, the Air Canada Centre, to presumably prove to old team why they shouldn’t have traded him. After a riveting tribute to his accomplishments moved him and halftime arrived, he…walked to the Raptors’ locker room?
Unluckily for us, his amnesia was short-lived. Calderon scored 19 points along with nine dimes to topple his former mates and, in a fit of irony, officially eliminate them from playoff contention.
Horry moments never come solo. They come with company.
After watching Jordan Crawfordgo on the road and finish off the Trail Blazers earlier this week on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, DeMar Derozan repeated the act across country in Orlando. And like one of his predecessors (J.R. Smith), he took a liking to that left baseline corner, rising and fading over two defenders right in front of the Magic’s bench to finish off a stellar period.
D-Roz’s shot didn’t happen in a vacuum. It culminated a frenzied night for both teams, with 12 lead changes and a lot of players getting in on the action (12 players notched double figures in scoring). The Raptors had been in a string of close games (overtime in three of previous four matchups) and had no intention of carrying this game past the regulation mark.
For those that 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.
How does DeRozan’s shot Thursday night stack up? Without further ado…
DeRozan likes the mid-range area, shooting over 100 more shots there than the paint (his next favorite spot). Even still, this was a nice shot. The high jumper safely made it through the bucket only after the Compton native took a pass from Jose Calderon, a couple dribbles to his left and launched with two defenders in hot pursuit. Glen Davis was just a shade too late, allowing a sliver of daylight to a hot shooter (more on this later) at the wrong time of the game.
This was evocative of the kind of shot Kobe Bryant makes on a regular basis.
Again, this was a back-and-forth affair. With under a minute left, DeRozan put the Raptors ahead with a jumper after J.J. Redick completed a four-point play. E’Twaun Moore scored two off an offensive rebound, tying the game, setting up the final shot with the score tied at 95 with 4.3 seconds to go.
A cursory glance says “this was just two bottom-rung teams slugging it out.” Which is true (both teams are a combined 30-56). However, for DeRozan, this was significant. For a player looking to establish himself as a 2-guard to watch, closing a game out like this is a good route to take. He had only eight points going into the fourth quarter, then erupted for 14 (7-of-8, six jumpers). What happened? Well for one, Orlando went small. For a player who eats off mid-range jumpers and getting into the paint, this is a boon.
Consequently, he got hot, obviating the Raptors’ blown double-digit lead and botched defensive coverages (including the aforementioned four-point play by Redick). Thanks to his heroics, the Raptors made a step toward closing games out, which has been their Achilles’ heel this season.
For the Magic, chalk this up to another lesson for a young team still learning how to win in this league.
No jumping. No yelling. No smiling. Just a couple arms in the air and plain grit on the face of D-Roz as teammates Amir Johnson and Calderon came for the man-hugs. The dejected body languages on Redick and Jameer Nelson told the tale as much as the Raptors’ celebration.
The Raptors looked more relieved at not losing in Orlando than thrilled at ending the game in such a dramatic fashion. Coach Dwane Casey isn’t prone to histrionics. Neither is his team.
But Alan Anderson’s ball spike after the shot fell through was top notch.
*Editor’s note: Prior to DeRozan’s post-game interview, Casey did run up to give DeRozan a good smooch on the cheek. Must say, this ratchets the celebration factor up a bit. a
3 Horrys. I suppose the shot could’ve been harder, if there were three defenders on him. Only two knocks on the rating: the tie game and subdued celebration (minus the kiss from coach). I’m all for a little grit. But you sent the opposing crowd home bitter right as time expired. Live it up a little. Either way, an incredible shot to end a superb fourth quarter for DeRozan.
Then comes Wednesday night and, once again, we’ve got the Raptors involved and a player at the free throw line. This time it’s not a Raptor at the line, but an ex-Raptor: Kris Humphries. Humphries, as you’ll see above, is all set to shoot the first of two shots with 7:42 left in the fourth quarter. But just as he gets the ball up, in comes referee Courtney Kirklandlike Tayshaun Prince on Reggie Millerfrom the 2004 East finals and grabs the ball out of Humphries’ hands.
As The Brooklyn Game blog points out, Kirkland was trying to stop Humphries from shooting while subs were attempting to enter the game. Sure, there’s that whistle around your neck that can be used … but this was clearly a creative way to stop a free throw.
Hard to say what we like most about this video: the pasted-on faces and reactions of Jonas and Bargs, that Slovenian former Raptors big man Primoz Brezec is listed as a co-star or the whole LSUFreek-ish style of it all. At any rate, we hope this gave you the kind of good laugh it gave us today.
End of quarter buzzer-beating heaves are a staple of the game. Some clank off the back of the rim. Some hit nothing but air. Some even go in. They are generally uncontested because no one wants to pick up a stupid foul while the ballhandler is careening wildly for an angle to get an impossible shot off.
Then the Raptors’ John Lucas III comes Monday night against the Bucks and hit as difficult a buzzer-beating 3-pointer as you’re gonna see.
Despite the effort of Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Beno Udrih, Lucas III was not to be denied.
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The 2010-11 season is almost here, and the Heat hate is starting to ramp up accordingly. When Dwyane Wade was lost for the preseason, there was some rejoicing. When LeBron James tweaked his hamstring, there was a little more. And after Mike Miller rolled his ankle in Tuesday night’s preseason game against Charlotte (UPDATE: Miller now has a hand injury as well that may cost him several weeks), a question flashed across my mind:
“What if Miami’s season gets derailed by injuries?“
How would you, the Miami misanthropes out there, feel about that?
Some would say that seeing the team injured and having to rely on the minimum-salaried players they assembled to complement the Superfriends would be somewhat poetic justice; that the gamble of spending such a huge portion of your allotted salary on just three players deserves to fail.
On the other hand, some might argue that the last thing they want the Heat to have are excuses — ask Lakers fans how much they enjoy hearing Celtics fans pin last year’s title loss on the absence of Kendrick Perkins in Game 7. If Miami fails, and injuries play a large part in that failure, apologists will have the “if only they’d been healthy”-card to play. I say that’s too easy.
There is a scene in the movie The Count of Monte Cristo (presumably it’s in the book as well, I just never read it) where the Count, having escaped from prison and bent on revenge against the people who put him there, has the option put before him to have his enemies killed swiftly. He forgoes that option, saying “Death is too good for them. They must suffer as I have suffered.”
If I am a Cleveland or Toronto fan (but more Cleveland), I don’t want to see Miami struggle through injuries and flame out in the first round because they are at less than full strength. I wouldn’t complain, but it’d still be a disappointment.
If you really want to be spiteful and vindictive (and really, isn’t that what hatred is all about?), you don’t want Miami’s success to be curtailed by a collection of rolled ankles and twisted knees. You want the Heat to be awesome. Devastate the league. Win 70 games. Cruise to the Finals. THEN lose. That is revenge, my friend.
At least, that’s how I see it. What say you?
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