It seems as if the All-Star Game only inspired players to throw down dunks that were far more vicious and creative than anything we saw in the first half of the season. Right out of the gate after the All-Star break, observers have been subject to some of the league’s best posters and alley-oops, whether they’re done by two players or only one, to start off the second half of the season.
Leading the way this week are a pair of posters and a pair of alley-oops that rank among the best we’ve seen this year.
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10. Dwight Howard dunks on Jermaine O’Neal
The Houston Rockets may have ended up falling to the Golden State Warriors on account of Jermaine O’Neal, but Dwight Howard wasn’t about to allow the best center of yesteryear punk him.
So, naturally, Howard had to assert his authority as one of the league’s premier centers with a slam over the top of the former Indiana Pacer and current success story of Golden State’s.
9. Andre Drummond makes Elton Brand take a seat
This sort of elderly abuse should not be legal, even within the confines of an NBA stadium. Then again, Elton Brand sort of had it coming when he thought himself a youngster trying to keep up with the freakishly athletic Andre Drummond, who is nearly 15 years younger than the defender he dunks on here.
8. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James hook up for another half-court alley-oop
It’s seemingly become standard practice to watch Dwyane Wade and LeBron James hook up for these 50-foot alley-oops on a weekly basis, but it’s still worthy of a top ten spot, no matter how many times it’s done.
7. Will Barton goes 360
Making his first, and most likely his last, appearance on the weekly top ten is seldom-used swingman Will Barton, who impresses with this unexpected 360.
Safe to say Barton is an opportunist? He’s only played 18 games this year and averages six minutes of playing time per contest, yet still found the time to throw down one of the better 360s we’ll see from a 6-6 shooting guard.
6. Kenneth Faried tries to jump with Gerald Green
At what point is Kenneth Faried going to learn not to try and jump with the league’s greatest athletes?
Faried himself is a quality athlete, but going up and trying to block a dunk by Terrence Ross, the case a few weeks ago, and a Gerald Green alley-oop, the case this week, is more foolish than ambitious.
5. Nene flushes in the game-winner
You don’t see many games end by way of a dunk simply because defenses are far more engaged and focused, but that just isn’t the case when you have someone as agile and quick as John Wall facilitating.
Through his penetration, Wall was able to simply dump off a pass to a waiting Nene, who promptly threw down the game-winning dunk with .3 seconds left.
4. James Johnson does not require teammates
After failing to make a name for himself in Chicago and Toronto and nearly disappearing in Sacramento, James Johnson has found a home in Memphis, where he has become a resident fan-favorite for athletic plays like the one he made on Matt Barnes‘ head.
With nowhere to go, Johnson pulled off a move that’s only been done by the likes of Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James by going off the glass to himself and dunking over a bewildered and unsuspecting Barnes.
3. Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Williams go glass for the alley-oop
It seems that every team wants to get in on the act of throwing up alley-oops that will rival that of the Miami Heat’s or Los Angeles Clippers’.
The Sacramento Kings throw their hat in the ring with one of the most exciting alley-oops of the summer, by way of an Isaiah Thomas pass off the glass to the athletic Derrick Williams on a fast break.
2. Dion Waiters slams in the vicious dunk over Spencer Hawes
Although he ended up hyperextending his knee because of this, it was almost worth it to see Dion Waiters dunk all over Spencer Hawes. I’m sure these two reminisce over it now that Hawes has been traded to Cleveland.
1. LeBron James gets his nose broken, still dunks over Serge Ibaka
For someone who isn’t tough, LeBron James did pretty well for a guy who got punched in the face on a drive by a 6-10, 245-pound defender only to still dunk it.
Seriously, though, how many players are capable of what LeBron does to Serge Ibaka here? He gets raked across the face, enough to get his nose broken, and still drives to the rim and dunks over the defender who had just broken his nose only seconds before.