Basketball fanatics know that the world is a better place when the NBA is in full swing. While the season has yet to reach its quarter mark, the best basketball on the planet has not disappointed its fans, as multiple game-winners, phenomenal displays of athleticism, and renewed rivalries have all come out of the woodwork in the early season.
Thanks to technological advancements, basketball and sports fans have GIFs to capture the highlights, funny moments, and just about everything else that the NBA and its players continually provide on and off the court. With that said, let’s take a gander at the 15 best GIFs from the NBA so far this season.
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15. Chris Paul Ankle-Breaker Against Jeremy Lin
Is this the best example of Chris Paul’s top-notch dribbling skills? No, not even close. However, CP3’s penetration moves are so quick that he left Jeremy Lin in his dust before Lin even had a chance to set up on D. In fact, once Paul made his move, Lin was thrown off-balance and reaching for the floor. A good ankle-breaker always makes for a great GIF.
14. Lance Stephenson Gets Technical for Laughable Taunting Move
Ah, the start of a fresh NBA season. The sounds of sneakers running on the court, basketballs pounding on the hardwood, and the whistle-friendly chimes of the referees are in full swing. Refs tend to become more lenient and let the players play more and more as the season gets older. However, in the early months of the season, it is a different story.
The Pacers’ Lance Stephenson was whistled for a “taunting” call against Tony Allen in a recent matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, which resulted in Stephenson getting a technical. On a career night where he earned a triple-double, Stephenson palmed the ball and seemed to pump-fake it at Allen’s face. The ref felt that it was enough to warrant a T for taunting. Do you agree?
13. Ricky Rubio Tricky Pass Through the Legs of a Defender
Ricky Rubio is arguably the best passer in the league today and with the addition of Kevin Martin and a healthy Kevin Love on the court, the Spaniard has ideal targets to pass to.
Rubio is a wizard on the hardwood and on the Wolves’ November matchup with the Cavaliers, he showed off one of his magic tricks with this dish between-the-legs of Jarrett Jack to the posting Love for the epic dime.
12. Blake Griffin Shows Off in Coast-to-Coast Plays
Doc Rivers did not get a chance to face Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for the first time since their reign in Boston on November 16, as they, along with Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, sat out. However, Lob City was still in action in downtown L.A. during the Saturday night battle.
After a brief scare due to an ankle injury, Blake Griffin eased the minds of Clippers fans with brilliant plays on both ends of the court during the third quarter. After blocking the Nets’ Mason Plumlee, Griffin sped down the court to catch a timely bounce pass from Chris Paul for an emphatic transition dunk. Oh yeah, he was fouled on that dunk and successfully completed the and-one opportunity. I think Blake is all right.
11. Brandon Jennings Off-the-Backboard Lob
The Pistons may have been handed a big loss from the Lakers on Sunday night, but one play from the boys in the Motor City uniforms stood out. In the closing minutes of the second quarter, Andre Drummond intercepted a bounce pass from Steve Blake, and then passed it to Brandon Jennings, who immediately took off in transition. With Drummond in tow, Jennings threw a perfect alley-oop pass off the backboard for Drummond to slam home. You might want to watch this again… and again.
via SB Nation
10. Evan Turner’s BIG Dunk on LeBron James
A fast-break dunk over a great defender is good enough. However, when that defender is four-time MVP LeBron James, the basketball world will stand still. Whether you want to call it a poster dunk or not, it should not take away from this nasty throwdown by Philly’s Evan Turner.
After receiving a long pass in transition, Turner took a couple dribbles before taking off for a two-handed power dunk. ‘Bron was able to get back in transition to attempt blocking the charging Turner and actually got a finger on the ball, but eventually came up empty as the Philly fans roared at the sight of Turner dunking on LeBron.
9. John Wall Throws a Double Block Party
The Wizards’ John Wall has built a reputation for using his speed to get back on transition defense and isn’t afraid to chase down the ball. On a fast-break possession by the camouflage jersey-wearing Spurs on Wednesday night, Wall did not disappoint.
The Spurs’ Patty Mills attempted to go coast-to-coast on a layup during the first quarter, but the lightening quick Wall decided to throw a block party instead. As you can see, Wall’s block was quite unique, as he soared in the air long enough to accomplish a very rare double block by swatting the ball off the backboard twice with each hand.
8. Zach Randolph’s Accidental Circus Shot
Z-Bo had Lady Luck on his side during the Grizzlies’ matchup against the Lakers on November 15. Zach Randolph excels in offensive rebounding, but this example made you look twice.
After a missed shot by Memphis, Chris Kaman and Randolph were fighting for position to grab the board. Z-Bo was able to get his hand on the ball, but lost control while attempting to turn around, causing the ball to hit his other hand and fly up toward the basket. Somehow, the ball found itself going through the basket, giving Randolph credit for an offensive putback.
7. Kyle O’Quinn Dances the New Delay of Game Rule Away
As most of you are well aware of, the referees have been told to more strictly enforce illegal screens and carry-overs. In addition, if an offensive player touches the ball and directs the rock after the ball goes through the net, a delay of game is called. A technical and a free throw are then awarded to the other team for each subsequent delay of game call.
While the purpose of this new provision is to speed up the flow of the game, most find it absurd and a way to actually interrupt the pace of the game. Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn is well aware of the new rule, and tried to maneuver his body to avoid an infraction, which resulted in a wonderful pirouette-like dance for everyone to enjoy.
via That’s So Magic
6. Mario Chalmers’ Sick Backwards Alley-Oop to LeBron James
LeBron James is without a doubt one of the best dunkers and emphatic finishers the game has to offer. Fortunately for Miami and LeBron fans, his dunking abilities tend to be on display in every game, specifically in Miami’s transition sets.
In this spectacular GIF, ‘Bron showcases his athleticism and power at the rim by benefiting from a sweet backwards toss-up from Mario Chalmers on the break.
5. Kyrie Irving’s Wild Ride of Dribbling Moves
Kyrie Irving has one of the best handles in the NBA, and he consistently shakes off defenders with ease. Irving and John Wall faced off on November 16 with Irving winning the point guard battle in a huge performance. Irving tied his career-high with 41 points and he added five dimes in the Cavs’ win over the Wizards.
However, it was Irving’s shake and bake moves against rookie Glenn Rice Jr. that caught the eye of fans. After playing a game of cat and mouse with Rice Jr., Irving then shows off a ridiculous crossover on Jan Vesely for a nice floater in the lane.
4. Andre Iguodala’s Game-Winner Against OKC
November’s Western Conference battle between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors has been penciled in for the most exciting game of the early season. After a contentious fight between the two offensive juggernauts, the game came down to two pivotal possessions.
Russell Westbrook nailed a long three-pointer to give OKC a one-point lead. While OKC just had to successfully defend the Warriors for 2.3 seconds to leave with a W, Andre Iguodala had other plans. Klay Thompson inbounded the ball to Iguodala on the right side, he gathered himself, and threw up a fallaway jumper on the right baseline over Thabo Sefolosha. The ball went threw the net as time expired. Future matchups between these two powerhouses are going to be epic.
3. Jeff Green’s Facial on Jason Maxiell
The Celtics’ Jeff Green is no stranger to poster dunks. On November 9, the Boston forward threw down a left-handed monster dunk over Magic forward Jason Maxiell that instantly became a top candidate for dunk of the year.
After Orlando’s defense collapsed, giving Green a clear path to the bucket, Jordan Crawford dished the ball to Green, who took one dribble from the three-point line before soaring to the rim (even striking a “Jumpman” pose in the process). Maxiell tried to step in to take the charge, but was called for the blocking foul as he came tumbling down. Green then took a moment to stand over Maxiell and let out a celebratory roar for the crowd.
2. J.J. Hickson’s HUGE Dunk on Marvin Williams
A lot remains unknown about the Denver Nuggets this season. One thing we do know? J.J. Hickson is one of the league’s best dunkers. That was on full display during the Nuggets’ November 11 game against the struggling Utah Jazz, as Hickson continued his campaign of posterizing players in the NBA.
On a pretty bounce pass from Ty Lawson, Hickson charged down the lane and made the 6-8 Marvin Williams look like a fool with this nasty two-handed slam that completely knocked Williams to the ground in a definite dunk of the year candidate.
via SB Nation
1. Xavier Henry Posterizes Jeff Withey
I don’t think anyone would have guessed that the former No. 12 pick from 2010, Xavier Henry, would have one of the best dunks of the season. Henry threw down a dunk of the year candidate jam with this posterization of his former Kansas Jawhawks teammate Jeff Withey.
With a 82-60 lead in the third quarter of November’s Lakers vs. Pelicans match, Xavier Henry found himself unguarded at the top of the key after giving defenders a nice pump-fake pass. With tons of space, Henry saw a wide-open lane down the middle and took advantage. The seven-foot Withey attempted to draw a charge under the basket, but Henry made him the victim of a huge poster dunk instead.
What’s been the best play so far this season?
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