ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of my favorite moments during last night’s Pacers/Wizards game came toward the end of the third quarter. The Wiz were trying to make a run and get back in the game, and as they started pushing, the crowd there in D.C. started getting into the game. And at one stoppage in play, as Paul George walked past the scorer’s table, a couple of bros in the front row let George have it. (I couldn’t find room to fit this into last night’s 24-Second Thoughts. :( ) George, not one to back down, went right back and them, which caused these bros to stand and redouble their efforts, and George turned away. These sports bros may have gotten the last word, but Paul George got the win…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Before the playoffs started, I was assigned to write a preview of the Bulls/Wizards series for NBA.com. Once the series was set, I stayed up all night looking at stats and game histories and writing this look at the series. As you can see at the end, I chose the Bulls to win the series in 6 games.
That did not happen. Last night the Washington Wizards beat the Chicago Bulls in Game 5 of the series to advance, 4-1. However, it turns out that I was not the only person who was wrong in choosing the Bulls to win the series. As the Wizards pointed out on Twitter last night, almost everyone at ESPN picked against them. Bet that won’t happen in the next round…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Lakers guard Nick Young has been one of the few bright spots this season for Lakers fans. The Lakers may have missed the postseason, but Young, who calls himself Swaggy P, has provided a steady stream of entertainment, both on the court and off the court.
During last night’s game against the Grizzlies, Young drove baseline and completed a 360 layup. It was an awesome shot, the kind of singular, creative, athletic move that we’ve come to expect from Young. But as we look back through Young’s history, we realized the 360 is a staple of Young’s arsenal.
So we put together a Swaggy sampler of some of Nick Young’s greatest spinning hits. Vote for the swaggiest of them all in the poll at the bottom…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat was born and raised in Łódź, Poland, which is why he’s known as The Polish Hammer. To celebrate his background, this weekend the Wizards held a Polish Heritage night hosted by Gortat. Over 500 Polish fans turned out, as well as a Polish cheerleading troupe and Poland’s ambassador to the United States.
To get his teammates involved, Gortat filmed this video where he teaches the Wizards some relevant Polish words and phrases…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’ve seen a lot of Wizards big man Kevin Seraphin this season on the All Ball Blog. He may still be developing on the court, but off the court, he’s clearly capable of producing some terrific highlights.
This latest entry comes to us courtesy of the D.C. Sports Bog, and it shows Seraphin teaming up with John Wall to play a game of $25,000 Pyramid. Which is awesome. -
There might be some cultural differences between Wall and Seraphin — for instance, Wall didn’t seem to immediately seize upon creme brulee as a clue — but the two of them obviously have a connection. For a bonus clip, check out this footage from last year of Wall and Seraphin watching a game together… -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last weekend in New Orleans, John Wall performed what was called the “Dunk of the Night” en route to walking away as the evening’s big winner. Even though it was only six years ago, the last time the dunk contest was in New Orleans was in 2008, and the winner of that dunk contest was Dwight Howard. These days Dwight’s dunks are more of the power variety, but yesterday at Rockets practice, Dwight showed that he can still get creative. James Hardengot in on it as well, but Dwight threw down a couple of nasty dunks, including this first one which left teammate Chandler Parsons speechless…
After the success of Truby’s George drawing, our colleagues at Turner Sports asked Truby to illustrate John Wall‘s winning dunk from the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest exclusively for Turner Sports/NBA Digital. Before we get to the animated image, however, I checked in with Truby this morning to find out exactly how he puts one of these animated illustrations together… - ME: How do you do/make these animated gifs? -
TRUBY: It’s actually a pretty simple — though time consuming — process. Basically I make a gif from video in Photoshop, then I look through all the individual frames and remove the ones I don’t need or are too blurry. This happens a lot when players are moving really fast or are out of focus. Then I illustrate every frame using a drawing tablet. I posted a quick Instagram video that shows a little bit of the process.
ME: How long does it take to make one of these illustrations?
TRUBY: It depends on how long the highlight is and how complicated. When there’s only one player involved, the process goes a lot quicker. If a highlight has more than one player or is from slow motion video, it can take a lot longer. It’s usually between 4 and 8 hours.
ME: Where did you get the idea to commemorate memorable dunks in this way?
TRUBY: I honestly don’t remember. I’ve been drawing for pretty much my whole life but had kind of stopped for a few years. I started an NBA drawings blog just to get back into drawing more. Then I bought my first drawing tablet about a year ago. I was probably playing around with some NBA drawings just to get used to drawing on a screen instead of paper when I realized the gifs would be a fun thing to try.
ME: Who is your favorite dunker of all time?
TRUBY: That’s a good question. I have no idea. I’m way more into great passes. I love a good bounce pass more than anything, they just take way more time to animate. For example, this is my favorite NBA play ever, and it took close to 9 hours to animate. I will say one of my favorite dunks ever is JR Smith flying over Gary Neal.
Very cool stuff. And now, here’s Patrick’s version of John Wall’s most memorable dunk from the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the biggest surprises of All-Star weekend may have been Washington Wizards point guard John Wall winning the “Dunker of the Night” award during the Sprite Slam Dunk contest. Wall, not generally known as a dunker, completed a terrific reverse dunk over Wizards mascot G-Man to clinch the award. Check the video above for a super slow-mo Phantom Cam look at Wall’s winning dunk.
But as it turns out, that dunk was just a brief portion of a momentous weekend for Wall. Also on Saturday, Wall’s former school Kentucky had a game against Florida, the former school of Wall’s backcourt mate Bradley Beal. Despite Florida being ranked second and Kentucky being ranked 18th, Wall made a wager with Beal over the outcome of the game. Wall also set some high stakes, even if Beal was unaware of those stakes. My main man Michael Lee from the Washington Post will take it from here…
Wall declared that the loser would have to wear a footed pajama onesie of the opposing school to practice.
“He know what’s up with me. He might not want to want to see me,” Wall said on Saturday morning. “You know how that is, you’ve got a big rivalry going on. He got to wear that Kentucky onesie if we win. I have to wear that Florida onesie if they win. He don’t know that yet. That’s what I made. I’m the big brother so I make the rules.”
Wall never shared those stakes with Beal, whose Gators defeated the Wildcats, 69-59, around the time that Beal was finishing second in the three-point shootout and Wall was preparing to lead the Eastern Conference to a dunk contest win.
After scoring 12 points in his all-star debut for the victorious East, Wall said he still planned to make good on his essentially self-made bet.
“I got to go buy me a onesie…and I will wear it to practice and I will wear it all day long,” Wall said. “I got to go find one. When I find one, I’ll let you know, before I walk in there. The day I get there, I won’t wear it, I’ll tell you and then I’ll wear it the next day.”
When told that he probably didn’t have to go through with it since he never told Beal about the deal or the stakes, Wall shook his head and said, “I’m the older brother, so it’s whatever I say goes. I’m a man of my word and it’s all in the newspaper now.”
If Wall was looking for any measure of revenge against the Florida Gators, he may have found it in a New Orleans restaurant, where he chowed down on some Gator. “That’s one of my favorite foods down here,” Wall noted. “Tastes like chicken.”
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Throughout this season, perhaps you’ve seen our ongoing series, The All Ball Posterized Poll. In those posts, we examine which NBA players have been victims of the most vicious dunks.
We are proud to continue the tradition of highlighting the best of the best (and worst) with the new All Ball Crossover Contest. 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 …
NORRIS COLE ON DERRICK ROSE Zettler Says: I know, Derrick Rose was only minutes into his first game back from an ACL tear. Still, as Avon Barksdale accurately summed it up, the game is the game. Norris saw an opportunity and made a quick decision. We’re rooting for a full recovery for Rose, if only for a chance at redemption, because this move is nasty.
JOHN WALL ON TERRENCE ROSS Zettler Says:John Wall hits Terrence Ross with the double. If you were to ask for defining Wall plays to teach to youngsters, this would lead the reel. A stutter step to freeze Ross, then a crisp crossover followed by another, followed by speed to the cup. Great read, timing and execution.
STEPHEN CURRY ON REGGIE JACKSON Zettler Says: There’s nobody else in the NBA that could pull this move off, save for Jamal Crawford and Kevin Durant. Curry’s ability to quickly set his feet after a move combined with his deadly deep aim gives his crossover another element. No spot on the court is safe for any Steph defender.
DERON WILLIAMS ON CHRIS PAUL Zettler Says: Classic end of half isolation clash between two of the league’s best. What gives this play flair is the stealthy rivalry between these two players since they entered the NBA in 2005, one pick behind each other (D-Will was the third pick, Paul fourth). On this night, multiple times, the third pick had the upper hand.
J.R. SMITH ON TRISTAN THOMPSON Zettler Says: This is just Earl Joseph Smith III doing his thing. Thankfully Tristan Thompson took an unnatural fall, which not only made the play pop, but saved his ankle. If he doesn’t hit the deck, his talus is broken. Believe.