Omer Asik airballs free throw; Kevin McHale has great reaction (Video)

Omer-Asik-free-throwLike many other big men across the NBA, Omer Asik is not a good free throw shooter. The Houston Rockets center has hit just 60% of his free throws this season, which is an improvement upon his career mark of 54%. I’m pretty sure the worst free throw of Asik’s career came on Tuesday night against the Brooklyn Nets.

At least I’m hoping that was the worst. Asik, who scored 12 points and grabbed an eye-popping 23 rebounds in the 105-96 loss, shot a free throw in the second quarter that came up about a foot short of the rim. Rockets coach Kevin McHale had the only reaction you can really have to a shot like that.

“Wow,” McHale said.

Wow indeed. Yes, that Appalachian State player still takes the cake for worst free throw attempt we have ever seen. That doesn’t mean Asik should be any less embarrassed.

Video via @cjzero

Kevin McHale unimpressed by the New Orleans Pelicans’ nickname (Video)

The New Orleans Hornets recently announced plans to change nicknames to the “Pelicans,” and they even unveiled the new team logo during the week. The pelican is the state bird for Louisiana, so the nickname has a lot more significance for New Orleans than the Hornets, which was the team’s nickname before moving to the Big Easy from Charlotte.

Though the pelicans nickname is a source of pride for some people from the area, it’s become a source of ridicule among outsiders who don’t find the bird to be very intimidating. Take Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale for instance. The former Boston Celtics legend had a few laughs at the expense of the new team nickname, even suggesting the motto, “watch out or we’ll dump on you.”

Watch McHale joke about the Pelicans nickname during his pregame press conference on Friday before the Rockets played the Hornets:

“Pelican’s like a big bird that hangs on your shoulder, isn’t it? I like hawks and eagles and stuff like that. Pelican’s not a bird of prey, is it?” asked McHale, who was clearly enjoying poking fun at the team.

It sure seems like most people have the same perception of a pelican and don’t realize how vicious they are. We don’t mind the nickname and actually think the organization did a nice job with the team logo:

new orleans pelicans logo

Chest bump to Pro Basketball Talk

Kevin McHale, Kevin Garnett share emotional postgame embrace (Video)

kevin-mchale-kevin-garnettThe Boston Celtics lost to the Houston Rockets 101-89 on Friday night, but that hardly seemed to matter to one of the NBA’s most competitive players. Kevin Garnett and other Celtics personnel approached Rockets coach Kevin McHale following the game to give him their support.

McHale returned to the Rockets just five days ago after nearly a month away from the team. McHale took a leave of absence from work on Nov. 10. Two weeks later, his daughter, Sasha, died at 23 because of complications due to Lupus.

Garnett and McHale embraced after the game and shared a particularly moving moment. The two have a long relationship that spans nearly two decades.

“Oh you know, KG and I, we go way back,” McHale said after the game, per Jonathan Feigen. “He’s a good guy. There will always be a special place in my heart for Kevin. We spent a ton of time together when he was a young guy. It was very nice. It was a long day for me.”

McHale was the general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves when the team drafted Garnett, then a high school player, No. 5 overall in the 1995 NBA Draft. Garnett quickly turned into the team’s franchise player, and McHale even coached him for a brief time. After realizing that Minnesota was a long way from competing, McHale generously dealt KG to the Boston Celtics, which instantly became a championship contender. Garnett went on to win his first NBA title in his first season with his new team.

In addition to the personal relationship the two men share, McHale is one of the best Celtics players in team history. He won three NBA championships with the franchise during the ’80s, and he had his jersey retired by the team. McHale is still considered a part of the Boston Celtics family, which is part of the reason why the C’s had such an emotional moment with him after the game.

Lionel Hollins References Black Hole Kevin McHale Talking about Zach Randolph

The Memphis Grizzlies pulled off a stunner by beating the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It was only the fourth time in history that an eight seed knocked off a one, and only the second time since the first round expanded to a best of seven. The undeniable star for Memphis was Zach Randolph who scored 17 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter Friday night.

Randolph has taken his game to a new level with Memphis and even become a player who shares the ball. Throughout his career he was known as a player who could put up big numbers but couldn’t win. He was also considered a selfish player who never passed. After the Game 6 win over San Antonio, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins addressed Randolph’s development.

“Zach has grown since he’s been here,” Hollins said. “I’ve known Zach since before he got here and I’ve always admired how hard he played. He’s gotten a bad rap for as everybody says ‘a blackhole’ but I don’t think anybody could be more of a black hole than Kevin McHale when he played. But he’s learned how to play with his teammates, he’s made some awesome passes, teams just can’t go and double him and think he won’t pass the ball.”

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Kevin McHale Confirms Kevin Garnett Trade Was Financially Motivated

kevin_mchale_featureOne of the biggest trades in the NBA occurred a few offseasons ago and it helped bring the Celtics their first championship in 22 years. In the trade, Kevin Garnett was dealt from the Timberwolves to the Celtics after Boston had already acquired Ray Allen, completing one of the biggest offseasons for a team this side of the Yankees. So far several reasons have been suggested as explanations for the trade. For one, the Timberwolves were going nowhere and either Kevin Garnett wanted to get moved and/or the team felt they owed him a shot at a title. Secondly, people suggested that as part of the “free KG movement,” GM Kevin McHale decided to give his former Celtic teammate, Danny Ainge, a nice present. Another suggestion was that the Timberwolves decided it was time to rebuild without Garnett. Well since he was fired by the Timberwolves in June, it seems like McHale wants to set the record straight about the trade that tarnishes his resume as a front office guy. In an interview with the 2 Live Stews on Sporting News Radio, McHale said it was owner Glen Taylor’s financial decision that led to the Kevin Garnett trade:

“There was a contract extension coming up … I had talked to [Garnett's] agent and I said ‘hey man, you guys are looking for some big money, you better talk to our owner on it.’ I called up our owner and said this is kind of where everything’s at. It just got to the point where our owner came back and said ‘I’m not sure I can spend that amount of money — we’re going to make a trade.’ At that point, it’s just try to get the best deal. I really liked Al Jefferson — I always have. I think you’re looking at trying to get the best, young player you can in that situation. It was really just trying to find the best, young player available to get a good, young nucleus and go from there.”

In addition to explaining how his hands were tied with the deal, McHale made another reference during the interview to the difficulties of running a small-market franchise:

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