It didn’t matter that Carlos Boozer had been dominating all night. Luol Deng’s favorable matchup on the wing was inconsequential. Hell, if Michael Jordan was in his prime and standing unguarded at the free throw line, he still wouldn’t have passed. As soon as he stole the ball, there was no doubt that Nate Robinson was going to take the last shot.
On Thursday night, Robinson’s rushed, contested floater went in, capping off a tremendous Chicago comeback against the Brooklyn Nets. But for every successful moment of brilliance that Nate produces, there are at least five, head-scratchingly awful ones. It’s what has caused him to bounce between five teams in the last six years. It’s also what has led to him becoming a fan-favorite during each of these stints.
Nate Robinson’s confidence outweighs his composure. His talent is often overshadowed by his immaturity. He can make you jump for joy and shake your head in disappointment within the same offensive set. He’s a 5’ 9” representation of the dichotomy of man.
On February 8, 2012, millions were watching the biannual clash between storied rivals North Carolina and Duke. As per usual, both teams came into the game ranked amongst the top 10 in the nation, and the winner would more than likely clinch the regular season ACC title.
Down by two on the road, Duke inbounded with less than ten seconds left in the second half. As always, Duke had a number of weapons that they could turn to, but the ball wound up in the hands of then-Freshman, Austin Rivers. With his father, Doc, watching from the stands, Rivers drained a contested, step-back three at the buzzer to upset No. 5 UNC. It was a play that dominated the sports’ world for weeks afterwards, and ultimately guided the narrative of Rivers being a “clutch” player that led to his being drafted 10th overall by the New Orleans Hornets.
As a fan, the events of February 8, 2012 seem like they were yesterday. For Austin Rivers, it must feel like an eternity ago.
Larry Sanders plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. I just wanted to get that out there, because if you had been out of the loop this season, you probably wouldn’t know who he was. Before this year, Sanders had played two largely forgettable seasons in Milwaukee since being drafted 15th overall out of VCU. Nobody was paying much attention.
All of that has changed this year. After impressing with his contributions on the defensive end, Sanders was named the starting Center for Milwaukee in December. The Bucks haven’t yet placed their full trust in the 24-year old, as he’s still only averaging 25.4 minutes per game, but that hasn’t halted his production. Sanders currently leads the league in blocks while coming in at 22nd in rebounds (Mind you, that’s per game not per 36 minutes). In fact, no player in NBA history has come close to posting Sanders’ defensive rating, defensive rebounding percentage and block percentage while playing under 30 minutes per night.
His defensive efficiency is a basketball blogger’s dream come true. Chances are if you follow any of my nerdy brethren on Twitter (or, more likely, you are one of them), then you have definitely seen a “LARRY SANDERS!” tweet on any given game night. So, let’s take a deeper look into this new found obsession with Larry Sanders, and see just how high his ceiling is.
All-Star Weekend. For some, it’s about the recognition of a tremendous amount of work and skill exhibited over the course of a half a season. For others, it’s a time to rest and recharge for the upcoming push to the playoffs (or, you know, order bottle service). But for most of us, it’s an excuse to sit on the couch all weekend and watch fun, no-strings-attached basketball.
No matter how cynical I become, I will always enjoy the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. After all, what’s not to like? The Rising Stars Challenge gives you a chance to see the future of the league compete in big minutes OR take part in a Shaq-Barkley drinking game. There’s absolutely no way to like basketball and not find joy in the Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest or Slam Dunk Competition. And it’s all topped off by the pièce de résistance on Sunday night, where we are all treated to the utopic dream of no-defense basketball.
We can look forward to all of this and more, as NBA TV, ESPN and TNT are providing three days of joint coverage, televising everything from the big game to brunch (seriously, they’re televising brunch). So sit back, relax, and read on to find out what’s in store for you this weekend.
Hit the jump for All-Star Weekend start times, channel listings and all of the biting TPBhoops commentary you’ve come to know and love. Continue reading
This past Wednesday, the Phoenix Suns turned back the clocks as they played the Los Angeles Lakers in jerseys from a bygone era. The Suns were the first of seven teams blessed by the marketing department at Adidas with a fresh set of throwbacks. These particular jerseys harkened back to the days of Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle and AC Green; a simpler time for the residents of Phoenix. Much like their historical counterparts, Wednesday’s iteration of the Suns saw relative success, defeating the woeful Lakers 92-86.
While some fans will complain about throwbacks, claiming they hate how they look when really they hate that they act as a reminder of their current roster’s inadequacy, I feel that Adidas needs to do more. If I had it my way, our society would have never moved beyond the aesthetics of the 90s and my Air Jordans wouldn’t be viewed as ironic. With that being said, let’s look at ten NBA throwback jerseys that should come back.
Last month, Vanity Fair published their first-ever “Comedy Issue”. In it, they covered all of the comedy icons from past and present, including an interview with Albert Brooks, a comprehensive history of Freaks and Geeks, and even an in-depth look at the creation of the Blues Brothers, all guest edited by comedy juggernaut Judd Apatow. But buried within this comprehensive coverage of all things comedic, was a thoughtful sit-down with Martin Short. The lead read as follows:
Martin Short has never carried a hit movie or a long-running sitcom. Early on, he despaired at being left behind by friends such as Paul Shaffer, Gilda Radner, and Bill Murray. But at 62 he stands alone in the comedy firmament, adored by Hollywood’s elite as the funniest, nicest, best of them all.
The article goes on to detail Short’s brilliant, yet low-key career, with ringing endorsements from industry hotshots such as Tom Hanks. The article is titled “Martin Short is Hollywood’s Most Beloved Comedian”.
Stay with me, people… Continue reading
As the 2012 Funniest Cat Poses calendar is replaced by its 2013 iteration, we as NBA fans start to get a good idea about what teams are for real and what teams aren’t. In fact, just this week, ESPN’s “5-on-5” column discussed just that, labeling five teams as either “contenders” or “pretenders”.
Most of the usual suspects were passed over, as there is little doubt to the status of teams like Miami, Oklahoma City and San Antonio. Likewise, the teams they did examine made sense, in either their surprisingly good play (Warriors, Rockets, Knicks) or shockingly poor play (Lakers, Nuggets).
That being said, there was one omission that was head-scratch worthy. The Atlanta Hawks. Were they glossed over because, as the third seed in the East, their status as a “contender” has been cemented? Or rather, are they so clearly punching above their weight that we, as the educated few, are expected to immediately dismiss their presence in the rankings? Better yet, am I completely overthinking this, as the article was just innocuous, mid-week filler?
Regardless of their intent (or lack thereof), ESPN’s article brings to light the larger problem surrounding the Atlanta Hawks’ standing in the NBA. Nobody is talking about them. In fact, no one has been talking about them (save for the trade of Joe Johnson) since the Celtics eliminated them in the first round of last year’s playoffs. It’s an interesting phenomenon for a team that has been consistently good, making the postseason every year since 2008. So why should this year be any different? Well, because this may be the best Hawks team since the days of Dominique Wilkins and the “Pac-Man” logo.