Weve seen it thousands of times on old highlight reels. In fact, it seems as if its one of the signature moves in the history of the NBA to placed next to the logo, Jerry West, and Michael Jordans tongue wagging as he drove to the hoop.
How many times did Magic Johnson pull down a rebound and then head up court without an outlet pass, choosing instead to fire a no-look pass in traffic to James Worthy or Kareem?
Can you picture the Sixers Evan Turner channeling his inner Magic Johnson to become a one-man fast break? Doug Collins can, and it all starts with a rebound. As far as Collins is concerned, there are very few guards who can pile up the rebounds the way Turner can.
I think hes one of the best in the league at his position, Collins said. He got eight defensive rebounds last night in a critical time when we were trying to get defensive rebounds.
Turner added seven more rebounds in Saturday nights 97-62 victory over the Toronto Raptors and is averaging a modest, 5.4 boards per game this season. However, spread out over 48 minutes Turner grabs rebounds at a rate of 11 per game.
For a team like the Sixers without a dominant presence in the low block, Turners ability to rebound is that much more important. Without Turner crashing the boards on the defensive end, Collins would be in a pretty big bind.
We are not a good defensive rebounding team so its very important for him to go in there and clean up the boards, Collins said. And really, when he plays some of his best offensive games is when he defensive rebounds the ball and turns to bring the ball up and attack in the open court.
That was the Magic move and thats sort of the role Collins has in mind for his second-year guard.
I always harken back to when Magic Johnson was a rookie, he was a great, great defensive rebounder and he would rebound and turn and push that ball and all of a sudden the Lakers were on a fast break, Collins said. Were encouraging Evan that every time he defensive rebounds that ball to get out and push the ball into the open court. Hes done a pretty good job of getting the ball to the foul line, pulling up and making shots, but his rebounding is a big, big part of our team.
Its always been a big part of Turners game, too. In his last season at Ohio State, Turner scored 20.4 points and grabbed 9.2 rebounds per game. During his rookie season, the No. 2 overall pick had four double-digit rebound games, including one in Game 5 of the playoff series against Miami.
Better yet, Turners game is enhanced when he has the ball in his hands. During the second half of Saturday nights victory, Turner ran the point and he picked up an assist in transition after grabbing a rebound. But as far as any special desire or specific nose for the ball, Turner just kind of shrugs and chalks it up to just wanting to get the ball.
You have to want to go get the ball. I play a lot of basketball so I can kind of judge where a ball is going to go and I know once we get the ball off the board, our best offense is our transition, Turner said. Ive been boarding ever since I was a little kid. Even in high school and college I always hit the boards.
As a pro, hes a triple-double waiting to happen. Hes also a one-man fast break kind of the way Magic was.
Stat of the week
At 5-2, the Sixers are off to their best start since opening the 2000-01 season 10-0.
Kobe uses experimental blood therapy
No matter what is happening in the NBA, Kobe Bryant is going to demand a lot of attention. The four-time All-Star Game MVP and Lower Merion alum is as big a celebrity there is on the scene today. News of his divorce gets as much publicity as his performances on the court.
Still, playing at an elite level in the NBA remains what drives Bryant and at age 33 with 16 years in the league grinding down on him, getting ready to play takes more care than it used to.
Case in point: Bryant spent part of the off-season in Germany undergoing Orthokine therapy on his ailing knee, which is an experimental procedure where a patients blood is removed from his arm, placed in a centrifuge so that certain proteins in the blood can be isolated, and then the proteins are injected into the injured area.
Yeah, try making a claim on your health care plan on that one
Actually, the therapy worked so well that Bryant is talking it up to other big-time ballplayers. According to reports, Bryant advised Yankees third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, who is another celebrityathlete looking to extend his productivity against the natural ravages of aging.
(My knee) is as close to 100 percent as its going to get, Bryant told the New York Daily News.
Now, what about that wrist
Though Bryants knee isnt giving him any trouble, he has been playing with a torn ligament in his right wrist. Though he hasnt missed a game yet this year and Bryant led the NBA in field-goal attempts (22.3 shots per game) headed into Thursdays action. So far Bryant has been shooting at a clip that exceeds all but two of his previous 15 NBA seasons.
And a long with the shots has come a ton of bricks as well as the league-leadership in turnovers. His 43.8 shooting percentage is the lowest rate of his career and while his three-pointer attempts per game has risen to its highest rate in four seasons, hes made just 20 percent of them.
Clearly the wrist is bothering him and Bryant has admitted to changing the follow through on his release just to get enough on the ball to get it to the rim.
At times I went back to my original shot and followed through, all the way through with the ball, and I got some pain and the ball tended to go short, Bryant told the Daily News. But all in all I feel pretty good.
He plans on feeling even better, too. According to reports, Bryant is planning on having the Orthokine therapy on his wrist and he wont even have to go to Germany to have it done. And because he hasnt missed any gamesjust a lot of shotsbecause of the wrist injury, Bryant says he likely will not have to take off any nights while undergoing the procedure.
Regardless, it makes one wonder why the blood spinning is not considered a performance enhancer the way blood doping is. Blood doping, of course, is the practice popular with endurance athletes where a person has blood drawn, stored in a freezer and then re-injected. It is banned by the USOC, the IOC and a whole bunch of other alphabet-soup oversight committees and if an athlete is caught doing it, they can count on being suspended and labeled a cheater.
Moreover, in the old-timey blood doping, there is no separating proteins to inject into a different part of the body or anything like that. All blood doping requires is just a vial of your own blood, a freezer and a threshold for hypodermic needles. Thats it.
So heres the question is Kobe cheating with the Orthokine therapy and if not, why not?
Quote of the week
They were good before, but they are great now.
Winless Wizards wild and wacky winter
It started with a Tweet from center Andray Blatche in which he called out teammates and coaches, and finished with a players-only meeting. Along the way, the Wizards remain winless after seven games this season.
Worse, counting the two preseason games against the Sixers, the Wizards are 0-9 and havent even gotten to the tough part of the schedule yet.
So yeah, a meeting might not be a bad thing.
According to CSNWashington.com, the team meeting was a relative Festivus where players aired grievances for approximately 15-to-20 minutes. Maurice Evans, the player who called the meeting, told CSNWashington that the winless Wizards needed to stop blaming others for the horrid start.
We needed to address ourselves and identify what were some of the problems that the players can fix, Evans told CSNWashington.com. A lot of people are focusing on the coaching staff and management, but the players have to take some onus as well, and we have to look internally and find out who our leaders are.
This week the Wizards have games against the first-place Bulls and a home-and-home against the Sixers. Their best chance for a win might be at home against Toronto on Jan. 10, but after the two games against the Sixers, the Wizards face Houston, Oklahoma City, Denver, Boston and then the Sixers for a third time.
Yep, its going to get ugly in D.C.
E-mail John R. Finger at firstname.lastname@example.org