Griffin’s injuries provoke preventative actions

Blake Griffin from OU to the NBAgriffin oklahoma

Throughout Blake Griffin’s basketball career, he has endured countless injuries which have impacted his ability to stay on the court. It all started during his first year at the University of Oklahoma. As a freshman, Griffin averaged 14.7 PPG and 9.1 RPG while spraining both knees throughout the season. However, Griffin’s sophomore year of college showed much promise as he earned National Player of the Year Awards. These two years proved to be extremely impactful on the remainder of Blake Griffin’s basketball career.

griffin clippersAfter two years at the University of Oklahoma, Griffin decided to enter the 2009 NBA Draft. He was selected as the first round pick by the Clippers, where he spent 9 years before being traded to the Pistons. After being drafted by the Clippers, Griffin was named the 2009 Summer League MVP. Could this have been the beginning of a legacy? After an injury during the final preseason game in 2009 requiring surgery to the left knee, Griffin was forced to miss ~what would have been~ his Rookie Season. However, his comeback the following year granted him the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and All NBA Second Team Honors. Griffin’s path from here on looked bright, until additional injuries limited his time on the floor. He went on to suffer a torn left quadricep, right knee surgery, a toe injury, an MCL sprain, an ankle bone bruise, and another left knee surgery.

Griffin Family Performance Center

So, given Blake Griffin’s track record with sport-related injuries, he wanted to make a difference by preventing his experience from happening to others. In August of 2018, Blake Griffin and his family opened the Griffin Family Performance Center at the University of Oklahoma’s campus.outside griffin perf

Blake Griffin made a statement saying “College is a critical time in an athlete’s playing career, and it’s my honor to help give the men’s and women’s teams the resources and technology that will give them the best opportunity to succeed.” Horner Flooring was part of Griffin’s plan.

Injuries can make or break an athletes career. Not only do they cause physical distress on the body, but the mental aspect is almost just as detrimental to the athlete’s health. According to the National Athletic Trainers Association, the injury ratings during college basketball games for men and women are 8.9% and 7.7% respectively. During practice, injury rates are lower at 4.3% for men and 4.0% for women. Considering the large number of college basketball players today, thousands are affected by injuries. Blake Griffin was one of these athletes, and his efforts to minimize preventable injuries revolve around the equipment available to college teams along with the training.

A Look Inside

Horner Flooring’s Contributiongriffin-floor

Horner Flooring manufactured two small courts with built-in impact sensors used to track player performance. Aligned with Blake Griffin’s goal of preventing injury, the Zenith flooring system contains all of the qualities necessary to reduce stress on the body during impact. The innovative technology instilled in the Zenith flooring has proven it to be the most trusted sports flooring system for athletes of any age.

The Zenith System

zenith pic

The Zenith System utilizes the latest computer aided design technology to achieve and surpass the MFMA’s PUR standard. The Zenith’s attributes include:

  • Computer-designed Dual-Stage Resilience
  • Highest performance with maximum dimensional stability
  • Reduced vibration
  • Most versatile multi-sport system
  • Partial blocking throughout the system

For more information about Horner Flooring’s Zenith System, visit http://www.hornerflooring.com/pdfs_brochures/bro_zenith.pdf

Jr. NBA Global Championship

jr nba team pic

Beginning on August 6, over 350 of the top 13- and 14-year old boys and girls will participate in the Jr. NBA Global Championship. The United States will be represented by 8 boys teams and 8 girls teams who won their Regional Tournament. In addition, 8 boys and 8 girls international teams will compete from all over the world.

jr nba international picThe Jr. NBA is an incredible opportunity for young boys and girls to play against the top competition in the world in front of some NBA and WNBA players who will be in attendance. This experience allows them to not only improve their basketball skills, but it could be the stepping stone for something big. Players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Miles Bridges, Draymond Green, Candice Wiggins, Chiney Ogwumike, and many more could attest to that, as they are all alumni of the U.S. teams.

The Jr. NBA Global Championship will take place in Orlando, Florida from August 6 to August 11. A list of teams by region can be found below:

U.S Jr. NBA Teams by Region

boys and girls jr nba championship us team list

 

International Jr. NBA Boys and Girls Teams

jr nba list of international teams

A quote from Dwayne Wade:

“I attended last year’s Jr. NBA Global Championship and it was incredible to witness the talent and passion displayed by boys and girls from around the world.  This event offers a unique opportunity for young players to learn about different cultures while bonding through their love of the game.”

 

NBA trades spark new dynamic duos

The NBA free-agency period has been full of surprises, and the results have fans eagerly anticipating the upcoming seasons. Many of the top players in the NBA have signed with different teams, making the power rankings unlike previous years. Teams like the Clippers, Lakers, and Rockets are expected to be some the top contenders in the league due to recent additions. Some of the best players in the NBA have joined forces to pursue a championship title, so which dynamic duo is most capable?

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to Clippers

Kawhi and George to Clippers (3).jpg

The Clippers had an unforeseen successful 2018-19 season, where they made the playoffs and even won a couple of games against the Warriors in the first round. In what seemed like the longest, most anticipated decision, Kawhi Leonard announced that he will be joining the Clippers, and former Oklahoma City Thunder star, Paul George, will accompany him. The addition of Kawhi Leonard, the Finals MVP who averaged 26.6 PPG, and Paul George, a talented small forward/shooting guard who averaged 28 PPG last season, is just what the Clippers need. Not only can Leonard and George produce offensively, but they have proved themselves to being some of the best defensive players in the league. The two superstars are returning to their hometown in hopes of bringing a championship to their city, but do they have enough to knock off the team next door?

Anthony Davis joins Lebron James in L.A.

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During Lebron’s first year with the L.A. Lakers, they failed to make the playoffs and finished in the bottom half of the Western Conference. However, with the addition of Anthony Davis for the 2019-20 season, it may be just what Lebron needs to find success in L.A. Through Davis’s 7 years spent in New Orleans, he received 3 NBA First-Team selections along with various All-Defensive team honors. If James and Davis learn how to play with each other while continuing to perform at the highest level, they have the capability to work their way to the top of the conference. These two number 1 draft picks are coming together to win a championship, and they have guys like DeMarcus Cousins and Kyle Kuzma to help.

Westbrook joins Harden in Houston

westbrook to rockets

After Paul George left Oklahoma City for the Clippers, there was talk about Russell Westbrook leaving as well. As of July 11, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul and a few first round picks. Now, Westbrook is reunited with James Harden. The last time these two stars played together was during the years of 2009-2012, where they appeared in the NBA Finals during their last year alongside Kevin Durant. During the 2018-19 season, Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double in points, rebounds, and assists. In addition, James Harden is one of the best scorers in the league, where he averaged 36.1 PPG last season. Will these two superstars be able to coexist next season?

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to Nets

Durant and Kyrie to Nets.jpg

Kevin Durant announced his departure from arguably one of the best teams the NBA has ever seen, leaving Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green for the Brooklyn Nets. During his time with the Warriors, Durant secured 2 NBA championships and 2 NBA Finals MVP awards in just three years. However, his unfortunate Achilles injury during the 2019 NBA Playoffs will restrict him from playing in the upcoming season with point guard Kyrie Irving. Durant may be leaving the 2 time MVP point guard, Steph Curry, but this new point guard/forward duo seems unstoppable. Unfortunately, we will have to wait another year to watch it unfold. Until then, the Nets are still capable of finding success this year with the additions of Irving and DeAndre Jordan.

 

Basketball turning global, and the proof is in the pudding.

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With the announcement of the 2019 NBA awards, there was one common factor between nearly all major award recipients; international players. The game of basketball is not only growing worldwide, but the level of play is expanding as well. During the 2018-19 NBA season, roughly 25% of players in the league were foreign-born, ranging from 42 different countries. Not only is this trend rising, but the players coming in are making a significant impact on the franchise’s they join. Four out of the five major NBA award recipients were foreign-born, and the Toronto Raptors, the only non-American team in the league, just won their first ever NBA Championship.

The league is becoming more and more competitive, and a lot of this can be attributed to the global advancements in the game of basketball. The following foreign-born award recipients played crucial roles on their teams during the 2018-19 season.

Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

giannis

nba.com

Giannis, commonly referred to as “The Greek Freak,” was born in Athens, Greece. He began his professional basketball career in Greece, until the Milwaukee Bucks drafted him in 2013 as the 15th overall pick. With his first MVP selection this year, he averaged 27.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 5.9 APG, all while being one of the best defensive players in the league. He lead the Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001.

Rookie of the Year: Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks

luka doncic

washingtonpost.com

Luka Dončić was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In 2015, at the age of 16, he began his professional career with Real Madrid. Needless to say, he found success in the EuroLeaugue as he earned the EuroLeague MVP award in 2018 at 19 years old. He was then drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2018 as the 3rd overall pick and traded to the Dallas Mavericks, where he made his NBA debut. During his first year, Dončić averaged 21.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 6.0 APG, earning him Rookie of the Year honors.

Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

rudy gobert.jpg

nba.com

Rudy Gobert was born in Saint-Quentin, France. His professional career started in 2010 with Cholet Basket, a French junior team. Gobert was drafted in 2013 by the Denver Nuggets as the 27th pick and traded to the Utah Jazz. During the 2018-19 season, he averaged 12.9 RPG and 2.3 blocks to earn him the Defensive Player of the Year award.

 

Most Improved Player: Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors

pascal siakam

msn.com

Pascal Siakam, originally from Douala, Cameroon, played a pivotal role in the Toronto Raptors NBA Title. He played college basketball at New Mexico State University (2013-2016) until he was drafted as the number 27th pick by the Toronto Raptors in 2016. During the 2017-18 season, Siakam averaged just 7.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 20.7 MPG. To earn himself the Most Improved Player award, he bumped those stats up to 16.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 31.9 MPG during the 2018-19 season.

 

 

 

 

 

Raptors knock off NBA powerhouse to secure first NBA championship

raptors win

Twitter / Raptors

June 13 is a day that Toronto Raptors players, coaches, and fans will remember for a long time. On this day, the Raptors left a mark in NBA championship history by beating off the most dominant team in the past 5 years—the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors have practically controlled the league for the past 5 years, appearing in 5 consecutive NBA finals with 3 championships.

So how did the Raptors knock off this NBA powerhouse to clinch their first Championship?

raptors win championship pic

Twitter / Raptors

Depth. One of the most evident differences between the teams was depth, and it was especially noticeable when Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were out during Game 6. Fred Vanvleet and Serge Ibaka contributed significant minutes for the Raptors coming off the bench, averaging 32.5 and 19.3 MPG, respectively. With Durant out for most of the series, there was a significant drop off between the starters and bench players in terms of productivity for the Warriors. The bottom line is that Toronto had more weapons than Golden State. The Raptors had 6 players averaging double digits throughout the series, whereas the Warriors only had 3: Curry, Thompson, and Green. 

Kawhi Leonard. Throughout each game of the NBA Finals, Kawhi Leonard was the key for Toronto’s success. He averaged 28.5 PPG and 9.8 RPG in the 6 game series, scoring over 20 points every game. The consistency he displayed during the series was Kawhi mvpvital for the Raptors to knock off the defending champs, and it led him to earning his second NBA Finals MVP award. Now, the big question is…with Kawhi approaching free agency, where will he go? Will he stay in Toronto or sign with a new team?

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Conference Finals Time!

The time has come for the 2015 NBA Eastern and Western Conference Championships! Both match-ups are between the one and two seeds, having the one seeded Atlanta Hawks take on the two-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers in the East and the top-ranked Golden State Warriors battling the second-ranked Houston Rockets.

All four teams haven’t won a championship since the 20th century, including the Cavs who have never hoisted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. The Warriors haven’t seen the finals in 40 years, since their last trip in 1975 as the newly renamed Golden State Warriors. Houston, who are the most recent winners of the four, last played – and won – in 1995. The Atlanta Hawks have had the longest drought since winning their lone championship in 1958, although they came close to another victory in 1961. lebronThen there is the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although LeBron James led them to the championship in 2007, the Cavs were swept by MVP Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs. After the 2010 season, James decided to take his talents to South Beach and won to back-to-back championships with the Miami Heat, but eventually returned to bring back a championship to his home state of Ohio. With the finals in sight again, LeBron, Kyrie Irving, Kendrick Perkins, J.R. Smith, without the help from injured Kevin Love, are pulling out all of the stops to finally call Cleveland the home of the NBA Champions.

With Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, the Golden State Warriors have taken the advantage on the Rockets with a 110-106 win with the help from MVP Stephen Curry and a smaller than average lineup. The Warriors found themselves down by 16 in the second quarter but ended the first half on a 21-4 run and entered the locker room at halftime up by three. stephcurryRunner up to Stephen Curry in the MVP race, James Harden held on with a near-triple double of 28 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists, but once center Dwight Howard left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent knee injury, Harden continued to push off defeat. Eventually evening it up at 95, Steph Curry went out and proved why he was the MVP and continued to nail three pointers as the game eventually came to an end, sending the Warriors up with a 1-0 lead on the Rockets going into Game 2.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals tips off today (5/20/15) at 8:30 PM EST, with coverage on TNT.

NBA Playoff Update

The first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs is nearly complete with three teams already punching their tickets for the second round of action. While the series are coming to an end, teams are fighting their way to survive and advance.

In the West, the top-seeded Golden State Warriors took a demanding lead against the New Orleans Pelicans and ousted them from a chance at the championship 4-0. Guard Stephen Curry continued his historical season with a monumental 39 points and 9 assists in the final game.

gswsteph

The second-seeded Houston Rockets’ attempt at a series sweep was denied by Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks, winning Game 4 121-109. Tip-off for Game 5 is at 8:00 PM tonight on TNT.

In a hotly-contested Game 5, the third-seeded Los Angeles Clippers evened the series with the defending champions, the San Antonio Spurs, with an outstanding performance by Chris Paul who had 34 points to help the Clippers. They will battle for the series lead again tonight at 10:30 PM ET, following the Rockets and Mavericks game.

The Portland Trailblazers narrowly avoided elimination with a memorable 32 point, 7 assist performance from Damian Lillard. The Memphis Grizzlies had a 3-0 lead on the Blazers going into Game 4, but couldn’t hold off Lillard’s strong play. The Grizzlies have a chance to advance with Game 5 in Memphis on April 29 at 9:30 PM ET on TNT.

In the East, Cleveland swept the Celtics in a scrappy Game 4, with J.R. Smith being ejected in the third quarter on a physical play against the Celtics’ Jae Crowder who didn’t return after spraining his knee on the play. Cavs forward Kevin Love left the game with a dislocated shoulder after Celtic Kelly Olynyk and Love got tangled while fighting for a loose ball. The Cavs are unsure of Love’s return in the second round, and even in the playoffs all together. 635656656136938690-USP-NBA-PLAYOFFS-CLEVELAND-CAVALIERS-AT-BOSTON-CE-72618160

Also advancing out of the East, the fifth seeded Washington Wizards defeated the Toronto Raptors 125-94 to gain the series sweep. Wizard Marcin Gortat had 21 points in the win.

The top-seeded Atlanta Hawks lost to the eighth-seeded Brooklyn Nets after a monstrous 35 point, 7 assist overtime game. The series goes back to Atlanta for a pivotal Game 5 on April 29 at 7:00 PM ET on TNT.

In a thrilling Central Division match-up, the Bulls have a one game lead on the Bucks as the series heads back to Milwaukee. After a double overtime loss in Game 3, and a buzzer-beating  win for Game 4, the Bucks won and survived for one more game against the Bulls in Game 5.

As the Playoffs go on, it will be exciting to see who makes it to the 2015 NBA Finals. Only time will tell which teams has the most talent to make it all the way

State-Farm All-Star Saturday Results

Did you tune into the All-Star events this past Saturday? Read on for full results!

State-Farm All-Star Saturday Results:

  • Foot Locker Three-Point Contest:
    • Overall Winner: Marco Belinelli of San Antonio for the West
      • The East Winner: Bradley Beal with 21 vs. Kyrie Irving with 16
      • The West Winner: Belinelli with 19 vs. Damian Lillard with 18
      • Final Round: Three tie breaker rounds with a final score of 24 for Belinelli, an event-high score.
2014 Foot Locker Three-Point Contest

Belinelli shooting a 3-pointer (Photo from CBS sports)

  • Taco Bell Skills Challenge:
    • Overall Winner: Damian Lillard of Portland (for the second year straight) for the West
    • First Round:
      • Lillard and Trey Burke beat Goran Dragic or Phoenix and Reggie Jackson of Oklahoma City to represent the West
      • Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo beat Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee and DeMar DeRozan of Toronto to represent the East
    • Final Round
      • The West Team edged out the East Team by a tenth of a second for a winning time of 45.2 seconds to dribble around obstacles, pass, and shoot from medium and close range
  • Sprite Slam Dunk Contest:
    • Overall Winner: East Team with John Wall of Washington, Paul George of Indiana, and Terrence Ross of Toronto.
      • Freestyle Round: East Team: 3, West Team: 0
      • Battle One: Terrence Ross: 2, Damian Lillard: 1
      • Battle Two: Paul George: 3, Harrison Barnes: 0
      • Battle Three: John Wall: 3, Ben McLemore: 0
    • John Wall was named the Sprite Slam Dunker of the night.
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John Wall dunking (Photo from CBS sports)

  • Sears Shooting Stars:
    • Overall Winner: East with Team Bosh with Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins, and Swin Cash (WNBA)
    • First Round:
      • Team Bosh beat Team Hardaway with Tim Hardaway Jr., Tim Hardaway Sr., and Elena Delle Donne (WNBA) to represent the East
      • Team Durant with Kevin Durant, Karl Malone, and Skylar Diggins (WNBA) beat Team Curry with Stephen Curry, Dell Curry, and Becky Hammon (WNBA) to represent the West
    • Final Round, East vs. West:
      • Team Bosh: 31.4 seconds
      • Team Durant: 43.6 seconds

For complete details of the NBA-All Star weekend, check out the NBA’s website.

For more information on Horner Flooring, the manufacturer of the NBA All-Star floor, visit hornerflooring.com.

NBA All-Star Game Results

Did you tune into the NBA All-Star game this past weekend? Read on for full results!

All-Star Game:

The East won with a final score of 163 to 155, ending it’s three year losing streak with the highest scoring All-Star game yet (the highest All-Star score was previously 155 points for the West in 2003). The game’s MVP was Kyrie Irving, who scored 31 points and made 14 assists. An All-Star record was made by Carmelo Anthony, who made eight 3-pointers and scored 30 points.

The West scored 44 points in the first quarter and 45 in the second for a total of 89 points in the first half, another All-Star record. However, the East brought their score up in the second half as Irving helped the East get 87 points.

2014 NBA All-Star Game

Photo courtesy of SIKIDS.com

On a more musical note, Magic Johnson encouraged the All-Stars to sing “Happy Birthday” to Bill Russell, a Hall-of-Famer and a great NBA champion, at the All-Star game. Russell turned 80. What a way to spend your birthday!

2014 NBA All-Star Game

Photo courtesy of SIKIDS.com

For complete details of the NBA-All Star weekend, check out the NBA’s website.

For more information on Horner Flooring, the manufacturer of the NBA All-Star floor, visit hornerflooring.com.

State Farm All-Star Saturday, 2014

There will be some changes to the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night this year!

The NBA All-Star game will be played this Sunday, February 16th. This Saturday will be the State Farm All-Star night. The State Farm night, like the game, challenges the East and the West to compete against each other.

What does the winner get? Money for charities. After the night is over, a total of $500,000 will be given to worthy causes. Now that’s something to cheer for!

There will still be four challenges (each winner gets $100,000 for their conference’s charity, with the runner up collecting $25,000 for their charity). Each challenge team will have a current NBA and current WNBA player, as well as an NBA legend. The four challenges are:

  • Taco Bell Skills Challenge
    • Damian Lillard will become the first player to participate in three events, the other two being the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and the Sprite Slam Dunk
    • What’s new: it will be a relay race this year

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  • Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
    • Players will have one minute to make as many three point shots as they can to advance
    • What’s new: a full rack of “money balls” will be in play (which count double) and can be placed at any of the five shooting positions

Terrence Ross

  • Sprite Slam Dunk
    • The reining champion, Terrence Ross, will compete again
    • What’s new: the winner will be the best conference, not an individual player
  • Sears Shooting Stars
    • For one West team, the NBA player will be Stephen Curry, the NBA legend will be his father, Dell Curry, and the WNBA player will be Becky Hammon

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For full details of the challenges and the full rules, visit the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night webpage. For more information on the changes, visit NBA’s Hangtime Blog.

Want to show your support for the East or West Conference or an individual All-Star? Get your NBA All-Star gear from NBA.com!