Trick shots a treat for Cavaliers
Cleveland's Jamario Moon witnessed plenty of half-court trick shots during his two years with the Harlem Globetrotters. He saw another on Sunday when Mo Williams made a 48-footer in the Cavaliers' 102-89 win against Oklahoma City.
Silly shots from strange angles aren't new to the Cavaliers, who create contests that resemble games of H-O-R-S-E after every practice. Shooting over the shot clock, shooting from half court and making full-court shots with footballs have all become staples of post-practice hijinks.
``Everybody is a character on this team,'' Moon said on Monday. ``It's just like the Globetrotters' atmosphere. That's what makes you want to come to work every day.''
LeBron James hasn't dumped a bucket of confetti on Shaquille O'Neal yet, but the two superstars did serve as opposing quarterbacks recently when the team divided up for a competitive game of touch football.
Coach Mike Brown is never on the court for the shenanigans. He allows the players the freedom to do whatever they want, including playing football, although that's the only time he cringes for fear of injuries.
``Sometimes you need to break up the monotony of being together every day doing the same thing for as long as we have been,'' Brown said. ``Sometimes trying to figure out ways to be creative and do something different isn't all bad.''
It paid off on Sunday, when Williams chased down a loose ball left of the basket and saw the shot clock winding down. He had just enough time to turn around, set his feet and shoot it like a jumper - even though he was standing on the wrong side of the half-court stripe. The basket gave Cleveland a 94-87 lead and stunned the Thunder, who didn't score again for 3 1/2 minutes as the Cavaliers pulled away.
``That's my side. When I shoot from half court, I always go to that side, so I was comfortable with that shot,'' Williams said. ``We fool around and shoot crazy shots after practice every day. You never know when it's going to be utilized in a game situation.''
James often ends his pregame routine with a half-court shot. He previously filmed a commercial for an energy drink that used edited footage of him making full-court jump shots.
Although it wasn't from half court, James made a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer from 23 feet at the buzzer to beat the Orlando Magic during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals last season.
It was similar to Monday's post-practice contest, when the perimeter players broke into teams of three. The first team to make 15 3-pointers won bragging rights. James' team, which included Daniel Gibson and rookie Danny Green, seemed to win more than anyone else.
Neither Williams nor Moon have been on a team that works so hard to come up with new gimmicks after practice. Perhaps even more remarkable is that all the players typically stick around to participate rather than shower and head home.
``A lot of people might look at it like we're not taking it seriously and we're just playing around,'' Moon said. ``But you never know when you'll have to throw one of those crazy shots up in the game. I think we need to put it in our playbook.''