The Soul Crusher

05.05.08 9 years ago 55 Comments
IMAGE DESCRIPTIONLeBron (photo. Mannion)

Before Game 6 of the Cavs/Wizards series got out of hand, there was a play in the second half where Delonte West was leading a 3-on-2 break with Wally Szczerbiak and LeBron filling the lanes. Seeing the potential for what could happen, both Washington defenders focused their attention on LeBron, surrendering a wide open layup to Wally. And as one of the announcers put it, you’d rather give up the Szczerbiak or Delonte layup than let LeBron get one of his monster dunks because, “It’s still two points, but it feels like five.”

In other words, a LeBron dunk can be a Soul Crusher. Whether it’s setting the tone early in the first quarter, sparking a comeback in the second half, or putting a nail in the coffin late in the fourth quarter, Soul Crushers are those plays that mean much more than points on the scoreboard or tallies in the stat book: for the team on the receiving end, it’s a psychological stake to the heart. And if it happens to take place in front of the home crowd, it’s a huge energy boost for the entire building.

What is the NBA’s best Soul Crusher? Some candidates:

1. Baron Davis and/or Monta Ellis (end-to-end layup/dunk)
2. Chris Paul (and-one finish)
3. Dikembe Mutombo (blocked shot + finger-wave)
4. Dirk Nowitzki (and-one finish)
5. Dwight Howard (dunk over 2 or more defenders)
6. Kevin Garnett (blocked shot + maniacal glare)
7. Kobe Bryant (impossible fadeaway jumper)
8. LeBron James (fast break dunk or dunk in traffic)
9. Peja Stojakovic (three-pointer from 26-30 feet)
10. Rasheed Wallace (three-pointer)

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