It was honestly a bit surprising to discover that Jermaine O’Neal, now in his 18th NBA season and currently with the Golden State Warriors, is a career 71 percent free throw shooter, and is hitting almost 75 percent of his attempts this season.
Watch his shooting motion over and over again in the video clip above, and you’ll see why that’s counterintuitive, to say the least.
The hitch at the top of his stroke acts as a de facto pump fake, and opposing players fall for it over and over again by stumbling into the lane before the ball is released.
It’s a violation if the referees choose to call it, which can be hit or miss at best. But the scouting reports on O’Neal are apparently woefully incomplete where most teams are concerned, considering that he’s been all about this awkward motion for so many years.
Jermaine O’Neal is in his 18th NBA season, and has had his share of dust-ups over the years.
He also has been around long enough to have a firm perception of what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior between opponents on the court, which by itself may explain why he chose to wait for Blake Griffin outside the Clippers locker room following a loss in L.A. earlier this week.
But O’Neal elaborated anyway, essentially saying that Griffin committed an unspecified act of basketball treason that somehow crossed the line.
From Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:
“It was some things that were said,” O’Neal said after the team’s Friday morning shootaround, “and in this league you want to put clearance to it. And we did. After the game, it felt like it was appropriate to address.” …
“It’s understood what the line is,” O’Neal said. “We’re paid to be basketball players and to play the game the right way and do things the right way. And when you cross the line in saying things and doing things, you address it and you move on. We’ve moved on.” …
“Sometimes things happen during games or things are said during games that shouldn’t necessarily be said or done,” he said. “But then as men, you talk about it. You shake on it and move on. I don’t have any animosity toward him, hopefully he doesn’t have any animosity toward me and hopefully that’s it.”
Plenty of players have gotten upset playing against Griffin, who is monstrously physical himself and almost never reacts to hard fouls or excessive contact unless punches are thrown.
Griffin’s initial response to O’Neal was to tell him to “leave that s— on the court,” before the two briefly shook hands.
We’ll never know exactly what went down here, or whether Griffin’s alleged infraction was verbal or physical. But whatever did happen was substantial enough for O’Neal to feel the need to address it.
The Warriors and Clippers don’t like each other, but it seems the Warriors particularly dislike Blake Griffin.
Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut went after Griffin in December, and they successfully got the Clippers star ejected. Bogut even made a point not to apologize.
Add Jermaine O’Neal to the list of Warriors who’ve feuded with Griffin.
O’Neal got a technical foul for jawing with Griffin in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s Warriors-Clippers game, and O’Neal didn’t let the issue die there.
Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
Golden State Warriors forward Jermaine O’Neal confronted forward Blake Griffin in the hallway outside the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room at Staples Center after L.A.’s 111-98 win Wednesday night.
The two had a heated conversation that was quickly broken up by a Clippers official who led Griffin to the adjacent news conference room.
O’Neal, 35, had dressed and was waiting outside the Clippers’ locker room to talk to Griffin.
Griffin, who was walking to the news conference room to take questions from reporters, could be heard telling O’Neal to “leave that s— on the court” before the two were separated and briefly shook hands.
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Unfortunately, Wednesday was the last scheduled meeting between the Warriors and Clippers. But if the season ended today, they’d meet in a first-round series.
At this point, it’d be a shame if we don’t got a Warriors-Clippers playoff matchup.
The NBA’s best players have a thing about being on the biggest stage — they know it and they put on their best performances in Madison Square Garden.
Stephen Curry dropped 54 points on the Knicks last season in a coming out party, on Friday night he followed it up with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in three quarters, leading the Warriors to an easy win 126-103 over the struggling Knicks. Curry was 5-of-11 from three and 3-of-4 inside eight feet, while making analytics people everywhere happy by mostly avoiding the midrange shot (0-of-2).
The Warriors put up 38 points in the first quarter and 73 in the first half as the Knicks defense was porous. To be kind. Klay Thompson went on to have 25 on the night and Jermaine O’Neal had 15 off the bench.
Carmelo Anthony had 23 points for the Knicks but needed 26 shots to get there. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 22 points on just 11 shots. Tyson Chandler was clearly frustrated and got ejected.
Didn’t matter, this was Curry’s night. He is one of the game’s premiere scorers and showman, a player who knows when it’s time to put on a show. At the Knicks expense.
Houston and Golden State put on a show — a sloppy, poor shooting show, but one filled with drama nonetheless. That included Stephen Curry hitting a floater over Dwight Howard and off the glass to send the game to overtime.
Then in overtime, with 30 seconds to go and Golden State up one, Jermaine O’Neal preserved the win by blocking a Chandler Parsons dunk.
Golden State went on to win 102-99, snapping Houston’s eight-game win streak.