Fun Fact of the Day: At 99 wins, the UConn’s women’s basketball team has the longest winning streak in NCAA history. What makes it even more remarkable? 97 of those wins were by double-digit margins. They will go for lucky #100 tonight at 9pm ET against South Carolina.
KD v. Oklahoma City. This weekend, the Golden State Warriors blew out the Oklahoma City Thunder 130-114. It was superstar Kevin Durant’s first game back in Oklahoma City since he left town to join the Warriors. As expected, KD was showered with boos and fans trolled him with signs making “cupcake” references. Cupcakes? Please explain. Back when KD was on the Thunder, he and Russell Westbrook used to call players “cupcakes” if they were acting soft. When KD left to join the Warriors, Westbrook didn’t comment to the media, he just posted an Instagram photo of a bunch of cupcakes. Burn. What happened when KD saw Westbrook? Things got pretty testy on the court, Westbrook and Durant had a little shouting match. After the game, they both happened to go to the same restaurant, but they didn’t speak to one another.
Mr. Obvious… It’s pretty clear that the N.Y. Knicks are the most dysfunctional team in the league right now. On top of all sorts of Carmelo Anthony trade rumors, last week former Knicks player Charles Oakley was removed from a game and arrested for assaulting several members of security. Oakley said he was just minding his own business, but security said he was shouting insults at Knicks owner James Dolan. Afterwards, fans lined up on on Team Oakley, so the Knicks PR team went into overdrive to try and fix the situation. This weekend, they fired MSG’s head of security and invited a bunch of other ex-Knicks to sit with Dolan during last night’s game. We see what you’re trying to do there.
Spotlight on Underhand Free Throws
Underhand aka “Granny free throws” are back! OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but a few basketball players have been using the unconventional technique. Here’s what you need to know:
Who started it? NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry decided to try out underhand free throws, because he was having trouble with the traditional overhand shot. He perfected the “granny” technique in the 1960s and 70s and ended up with a 89.3% career free throw shooting percentage.
Why does it work? According to North Carolina State engineering professor Larry Silverberg, overhand free throws have a higher margin of error because there are more variables—players have to move their knees, elbows, and wrists in sync.
Why don’t more people do it? They’re scared of being ridiculed. Back in the 1950s, women used to throw free throws underhand, so fans would mock male players that shot that way. Once upon a time, NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain gave the technique a try. He shot a career-best 61% from the line that season, but he reverted back to the traditional method the next year because he felt “like a sissy” when he shot underhanded.
Now, who’s doing it? Rick Barry’s youngest son Canyon Barry didn’t fall far from the tree. He currently plays for Florida and also shoots his free throws underhand. This weekend, he set a school record for most consecutive made free throws at 39 and he’s averaging nearly 90% this season. The technique is also spreading beyond the Barry family; Houston Rockets rookie Chinanu Onuaku brought granny free throws back to the NBA this season.
Who else should give it a try? NBA players with terrible free throw percentages might want to give it a try, like L.A. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (50.7%), Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard (55.8%), and Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (43.8%). What have they got to lose?