ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The holiday season is upon us, which means NBA teams and players are doing things out in the community and with kids to help make the season bright. And it’s not just for the kids — take this video from the Utah Jazz, for instance, where center Enes Kanter takes a group of kids to a Build-A-Bear Workshop and seems to get as much or more out of the experience as any of the kids. #FatSanta
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Besides being teammates on the Utah Jazz, Dante Exum and Joe Ingles have something else in common — they are both Australian. As such, they both would seem to be experts at Australian Rules Football. At least, I assume they are, because they’re Australian. I don’t really know anything about it, not because I don’t want to know, but because I just didn’t grow up watching it and even now I’m not sure when/where it’s on TV. (Holla at your boy, Leigh Ellis!)
Anyway, at a recent Jazz rehearsal in Salt Lake City, Exum and Ingles met up with a few members of the North Melbourne Football Club and found out what happens when you take an AFL ball to an NBA court.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When we last checked in with Utah coach Quin Snyder, despite it only being the preseason, we found Snyder rather unhappy with something happening on the court. We warned you: Don’t make Quin Snyder unhappy. You won’t like him when he’s angry.
Apparently someone didn’t listen. Last night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, someone on the Jazz apparently had a concentration lapse, and that was enough to push Snyder from mild-mannered coach into HULK MODE.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Knicks finally scored 100 points in a game this season. Unfortunately for them, Trey Burke and the Jazz weren’t quite finished.
Tonight’s Jazz/Knicks game presented two teams with similar journeys ahead of them. The Jazz have a young roster with a young coach and expectations bubbling. The Knicks have a superstar forward (Carmelo Anthony) and president (Phil Jackson) but have a way to go as they implement the triangle offense.
The Knicks entered the night having lost six straight, for a 2-7 record, and had yet to score 100 points in a game this season. The Jazz had a similarly sub-par record, coming in at 3-6, and in the midst of a five-game road trip. All of which culminated in tonight’s big finish by Burke.
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.
One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure only 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 last season, 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 inbound play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.
Let’s get to the game-winner…
With 2.3 seconds left on the clock, the Jazz didn’t have to rely on a catch-and-shoot. Two-plus seconds is enough time for at least a dribble, maybe even a pass.
But it looked as if the play wasn’t even drawn up for Burke to get the shot. Burke began in the far corner and set a screen for Gordon Hayward, who already had 33 points on the night. Hayward popped to the top of the key and looked to receive a pass. But Knicks forward Quincy Acy denied the look to Hayward, just as Burke flashed to the ball around the free throw line. Burke caught the ball, dribbled left into the corner, and fired up a fadeaway jumper over J.R. Smith, who was all over Burke and contested the shot well. But Burke cleared just enough space with a step-back move to release the jumper, and he drilled the shot as the buzzer was ringing.
Smith actually defended fine on the play — he went under three separate screens and stuck to Burke on the shot. Burke had to make a perfect play just to clear room for the shot. And Burke played it perfectly.
After squandering a last-second attempt earlier in the week, when J.R. Smith eschewed a pass to Carmelo Anthony to fire up a three, tonight the Knicks cleared out for Anthony, who banked in a three to tie the game at 100 with 2.3 left. Anthony finished with 46 points for the Knicks, who were without Amar’e Stoudemire, and Anthony was brilliant all night.
But Utah called a timeout after Anthony leveled the game and calmly came up with the play. A shoutout to Jazz coach Quin Snyder, who came up with a play that had multiple options; and a shoutout to inbound passer Joe Ingles, who calmly went to Burke after not being able to get the ball to Hayward.
It was big, for both teams. Yes, we’re still early in the season, but after losing six straight, the Knicks needed a win, especially at home. And Melo had put them on his back and carried them throughout the game.
The Jazz entered this season in rebuilding mode, and though they’re below .500, they’ve looked promising as they’ve tried to implement Snyder’s pace and space offense. Also, it’s worth noting that this is already Utah’s second appearance on the Horry Scale this season. So not only are they competing, but they’re giving themselves opportunities to win games (and taking advantage of those opportunities).
It was fortuitous that Burke popped the shot directly in front of the Utah bench. Because as soon as the shot went in, he was swarmed by his teammates. The Jazz couldn’t give an all-out celebration because they were on the road, so they didn’t get that awesome crowd reaction like they did at home against Cleveland. Still, the team huddled around Burke and let him have it (including a towel over the head) while Smith looked up in disbelief to check the replay.
Also, we can’t ignore Carmelo’s reaction. After such a big game, all he could do was grimace with the realization that better days are ahead. Hopefully sooner than later.
It was a great play, a great shot, and an important result for a team that needed a win. But being pragmatic, this was a regular season game between two teams under .500. And considering we gave Hayward’s previous Horry Scale entry rated four Horrys, I don’t feel like this one quite matches that one, particularly on the celebration matrix. So I’m giving Trey Burke’s game winner 3 Horrys.
What say you? How many Horrys would you give Trey Burke’s GWBB?
It’s not quite Thanksgiving yet here in the United States, but that hasn’t stopped some retailers and other folks from already busting out the Christmas decorations and such already. Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter apparently found one of the biggest gingerbread houses around and took a photo next to it. Keep in mind that Kanter is 6-foot-10 and this thing — even if it were taken off its platform — would be AT LEAST as tall as Kanter is (if not taller) …
"Catch me if you can l'm the gingerbread man" lol
First time l have seen a gingerbread house that big .
Pretty cool pic.twitter.com/BeGkd7uiXP
Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!
Today’s TBT topic: Jerry Sloan
Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan forged a legendary career after a standout career as a member of the Chicago Bulls in the 1960s and ’70s. Although Sloan briefly coached the Bulls from 1979-82, Sloan forged his reputation as the Utah Jazz’s coach from 1988-2011. In that time, he led Utah to two NBA Finals, multiple division championships and several lengthy playoff runs in the 1990s behind the Hall of Fame duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone.
On this date in 2008, Sloan became the first coach in NBA history to record 1,000 wins with the same club as the Jazz beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-97. In honor of his accomplishment six years ago, we look back on Sloan’s career:
(NOTE:Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)
One minute it seemed LeBron James was going to pull the rug out from under all those excited fans at EnergySolutions Arena, not to mention the Jazz, with some clutch play of his own. A clutch corner 3 and then three free throws inside the final 14 seconds.
But in the next minute LeBron was taking LeTumble to the floor and Hayward stepped into the hero’s role with a 23-footer as time expired to give the Jazz a roaring 102-100 win.
Since it’s still opening night in Horry World, let’s repeat the ground rules. The Horry Scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation, importance and celebration. Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the master of avoiding last-second disaster.
Remember, the Horry Scale does not measure only 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, the whole magilla.
It was the kind of shot Hayward probably made a zillion times in the back yard while growing up in Indianapolis and he definitely made his share in the clutch during a celebrated career at Butler. But the truth is they’ve been hard to come by in four seasons in the NBA. Last season was his first in the starring role and he struggled, shooting just 41 percent from the field. That made a lot of Jazz fans struggle to accept that four-year, $63 million contract Hayward signed last summer after getting a free-agent offer sheet from the Hornets.
But here was Hayward in all his glory, doing it against the best player in the game. He took the inbounds pass from Joe Ingles at the top of the key and moved immediately to his right when LeBron slipped to the floor after making contact with Derrick Favors. It was the opening Hayward needed, taking two dribbles and letting fly before the Cavs’ defense could recover, burying the step-back fallaway over the desperately reaching arm of Tristan Thompson.
It was a game that might have stuck in the Jazz’ craw past Thanksgiving and Christmas if they had let it slip away. Utah held a 96-90 with 1:29 left to play and was still on top 98-94 with 17.9 seconds to go. But LeBron is LeBron and, on a night when he finished with 31 points, he was just really getting warmed up. First he drilled a trey from out of the left corner. Then after Alec Burks made two free throws for a 100-97 lead, the veteran James got Favors to go for a pump fake and leaned in himself to draw three free throws. He nonchalantly made them all to tie it up at 100-all. That set the stage for Hayward and the ex-Butler Bulldog sank his teeth in to the bone. Tough spot, tough shot.
From the way the crowd reacted, the streamers fell from the ceiling and all of Hayward’s Jazz teammates went bonkers, this is what it might have been like in the 1998 NBA Finals — if Michael Jordan’s shot over Bryon Russell in Game 6 rimmed out. It was that kind of wild and crazy. Hayward himself was virtually speechless in a post-game TV interview.
The bigger the profile of the opponent, the higher the score and there’s nobody bigger in the game these days than LeBron. Even if his getting-to-know-you Cavs have now sagged to a 1-3 start and are cranking up the sirens of early season overreaction-to make-your-ears-bleed level. The Jazz, under rookie coach Quin Snyder, are a young team that needs confidence. And nobody needed a shot of adrenaline more than Hayward. This was Uma Thurman sitting bolt upright in “Pulp Fiction.”
I’m giving it four Horrys for all those reasons and also for sheer early-season fun.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Utah Jazz got their lone win of the early season on Saturday night against the Phoenix Suns. But they also scored a big win over the Suns in an animated mascot version of Donkey Kong…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night in a preseason game, the Utah Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 119-86. The Jazz won easily, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. Here is a GIF from the game, courtesy of CJ Fogler, of new Jazz coach Quin Snyder giving his very best angry look. Keep in mind, the Jazz were up by 24 at the time!
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Whenever an NBA player is asked if he believes he is better than another player, there’s no graceful way to answer the question. If the player says that yes, he’s the best, then people accuse of him of unbridled egotism. If he says he’s not the best, then people wonder why he doesn’t have enough confidence.
This latter scenario won’t be an issue for Utah’s Gordon Hayward, who in a post on his official website comes right out and announces that he’s “the best in the game.”
Well, almost. Here it is in Gordon’s words…
I know this sounds like bragging. That’s because it is. I’m so confident in my abilities that I would put money on myself, hypothetically speaking.
One on one versus LeBron James? He would get crushed. We would all be witnesses to a straight up annihilation.
The reigning MVP, Kevin Durant? I’m LOLing. Go ahead and put him with Russell Westbrook. Throw Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard in there, just for kicks. They’d still have no chance.
Honestly, take any five NBA players you want and put them on the same squad. It doesn’t really matter. I’d beat them all. It would be like playing a bunch of kindergartners.
I repeat: I’m the best in the game. And probably in all the other major sports, too.
No athlete on earth is as good at League of Legends as I am.
Just so you didn’t miss it, Hayward is saying no NBA player is as good as he is…at the video game League of Legends.
Gordon Hayward addressed his blog today after practice. Said the whole thing was tongue-in-cheek, was shocked to see the site crash