ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — James Harden is one of the best offensive players in the NBA. His defense, however, has sometimes left something to be desired.
So who better to joke about coordinating the Dallas Cowboys defense, the team that yesterday gave up four touchdowns to the San Francisco 49ers? Someone online created an image of Harden wearing a Cowboys headset, and Denver’s Ty Lawson posted it to Instagram with the caption, “Cowboys defensive coordinator”…
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.
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.
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.
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.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With All-Star voting drawing to a close, teams are trying harder than ever to get out the votes for their players. Just last week we saw the Wolves release a Kevin Love promo video, and now the Nuggets are trying to get Ty Lawson some last-minute support.
The new Nuggets’ video lives over on Facebook, plays off of ESPN’s “This is SportsCenter” campaign, and makes the point that the speedy Lawson is a pretty handy guy to have around the office.
Over the course of an NBA season, there are plenty of gems that go unnoticed by even the most acute of basketball eyes. Don’t tell that to Nate Timmons of SB Nation, who records and delivers this beauty from the end of the Nuggets-Jazz affair in Denver on Saturday:
Ty Lawson pulls off the perfect heist of teammate JaVale McGee, which is perfect only because of a Nuggets bench that either a) doesn’t see what’s going on or b) sees it, but pretends not to. This gives the scene a glow of childlike fun inherent in team sports since we started in the schoolyard.
Kudos to Kosta Koufos, who nails the requisite “distract mark from fact he’s being took” role. McGee had no idea and for all we know, he still might be looking for that shoe.
Cleaning up the rest of my to-do list on a Sunday, I was on vacation last week for this Horry Scale entry from the Magic’s Jameer Nelson.
Once again, the Horry scale examines a shot in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.
The shot is from deep, but otherwise, not all that difficult of a shot. Ty Lawson is defending him close, but at the same time is primarily guarding against the drive, so when Nelson rises up, he’s got more than enough room to get a clean shot. In fact, if anything Nelson should be penalized for taking such a low-percentage shot when he had time to create something much much better.
Tie ballgame, and Nelson gets the ball unobstructed in the frontcourt with 5.9 ticks on the clock, so he has plenty of time to make his move.
Denver has been playing well of late so it’s nice to beat a good team, but the Magic are pretty much set as the 4-seed in the East. All in all, not a win that will move the needle in 2010-11.
Of course, don’t tell Nelson’s teammates it wasn’t a big deal. Ample celebration from the Magic, including the team dance circle at midcourt usually reserved for much bigger occasions.
1 Horry. I don’t mean to be stingy, but all in all there’s not a lot to recommend in this one (other than the celebration). It was a pretty terrible shot by Nelson, and if it hadn’t gone in I imagine he’d have heard a few words from Crankypants McMustache, aka Stan Van Gundy. Still, the shot dropped, and the Magic won, so I’m sure they’ll happily settle for the one.
What do you think?
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Missed the cut: Ed Davis, Raptors; Wayne Ellington, Timberwolves; Brendan Haywood, Mavericks; Antawn Jamison, Cavaliers (injured); Brandan Wright, Nets
Team synopsis: With Jamison hurt, Hansbrough rides his recent hot streak into the starting lineup for the Tar Heels, which is a good thing for UNC because this team lacks an inside presence otherwise. Lawson and Felton take turns at the point in Denver, but share the backcourt here. Vinsanity may not be the force of nature he once was, but North Carolina will still need him to be the go-to scorer on this team.